I enjoy being part of a program that allows individuals with disabilities to live their best life through access to physical activity that in turn contributes to their overall wellbeing. It’s amazing to have the opportunity to coach youth who participate in MOVE who may typically have barriers that limit their ability to interact with peers, have their strengths embraced and to be accepted for who they are. MOVE recognizes participants’ awesomeness and meets them where they are at allowing for a fun, appropriate, and enjoyable physical fitness experience!

A young lady in our program began MOVE classes sitting on her couch. At first, her caregiver would do the majority of the workout while she participated in a very modified workout. For example, instead of standing up and touching her toes, she would sit down and bring her feet up to her knees to touch them. After 4 weeks in the program, she now stands and touches her toes, runs on the spot, participates in all of the dances that we have incorporated over time and absolutely enjoys doing her one-foot balances. She can hold her one-foot balances for 10 full seconds!!! She attends classes consistently and shares during our Talk Topic Discussions. What an amazing transformation!

MOVE participants are definitely increasing their cardio and overall physical fitness. Areas of physical benefit include increasing coordination, flexibility, stamina, and strength. Participants have also established relationships with both peers and with the Coach and continue to practice social skills by sharing in the Talk Topic/ Show and Tell part of our session.Memory recall is also a factor as we learn dances and incorporate them into the workout. Participants often remember the counts to the skills and will follow the workout routines on their own. Creativity has also been encouraged and reinforced and participants have their voices heard by giving them a platform to suggest ideas, music, and dances that they would like to be part of the workout. Some participants have taken on leadership roles and this in turn allows participants to take risks in a safe environment. The MOVE program allows for participants to feel a sense of belonging and participate in a program that not only gets them physically fit but also is enjoyable and engaging.

The neat part about having caregivers involved in the programming is that they can connect to other caregivers in similar circumstances, enjoy quality programming time with their child, celebrate their child successes, and all while increasing their own physical fitness. It’s a win-win!