We keep coming back to MOVE because Keira enjoys the program and wants to come every Monday, Wednesday and Friday; she is a “creature of routine”, common to some kids with autism. When I say, let’s get ready for MOVE, she immediately changes into her workout clothes, gets our mats and other ready and proceeds to tell me what we will be doing in the next hour with our coaches Ryan and Morgan – running, skipping, dancing and more. She has her favourites, but I have to remind her that Ryan will be telling her what we are doing that day and he is the boss.
MOVE has improved her physical literacy. Over the weeks she has learned to do several different simple exercises for a total body workout (arms, legs, core) with fair technique, safely, and in a home environment with little need for any special equipment. We learn a little bit of new stuff every week, but still have old exercises and a predictable routine so it is not overwhelming or stressful, yet encourages some flexibility of thought/activities. Music, and dancing is a big component which is motivating and gives participants a choice of the music, or the “yoga poses’, and a little chance to be creative, share a bit of their personalities and interests with each other as participants.
The coaches are patient, encouraging, and don’t make things too hard. Keira is now looking up fitness websites on the internet, and I will sometimes find her doing some of the exercises on her own, and counting her reps – so she likes it enough and it makes her feel good enough to do more on her own time and she can feel proud that she can do something new and independently. We can do it together, she can do the classes with myself, her dad, her sister or her brother and they are all impressed and proud of what she can do – and that she can be engaged in the class for the whole hour for the most part – no small feat for virtual programs – for example, when school was online, we only could last about 15 minutes and she wasn’t really paying attention half of that time. It gets us moving too when we do it with her – another fun activity to share with her – and adds to my own fitness routine each week. She has surprised and delighted me, above expectations as her own mother – in her ability to stay on the activity the whole hour and to be able to do these types of exercises and continue to do them in future to stay physically fit.