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updated: 3/8/2011 4:30 PM

Fox Valley group is new Exercise Connection Partner

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Fox Valley Special Recreation Association became an Exercise Connection Partner to help improve the health and fitness of youth and adults with autism spectrum disorders.

Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 1, FVSRA will offer the Exercise Connection Program to the residents of Fox Valley, Geneva, St. Charles, Batavia, Sugar Grove, Oswegoland park districts and the South Elgin Parks and Recreation Department.

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The Exercise Connection was founded by David S. Geslak, an autism fitness specialist, who has been designing fitness programs for people with autism since 2004. The EC Program provides the visual, tactile and sensory supports to help children and adults be successful, improve their self-esteem and make exercise a part of their lifestyle. According to Geslak, the program is built on seeing the children for their capabilities not their disabilities.

Each participant will have a complete health and motor assessment that will set the foundation of their personalized program by identifying their strengths and weaknesses.

Once the assessment is complete, parents will be educated on the next step of the program, individual sessions or group sessions. Alex Redenius, program director, states, "We understand that many parents want their children to be involved with their peers, however, if the child is unable to perform certain exercises, movements or activities, we do not want to rush them into a group class. This has the potential to damage their self-esteem and their love of exercise."

The EC Program will last throughout this fall and winter and the summer of 2011. Youth and adults will learn sports, lifetime fitness activities such as yoga, strength training, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness. Individual exercise sessions are 60 minutes. Group sessions are 60 minutes, with a maximum of eight participants per session.

Fox Valley Special Recreation Association was formed to provide a diverse range of year-round recreational opportunities to enable residents with disabilities to experience active, healthy and playful lifestyles.

Programs are designed to include opportunities that will enhance skill development and socialization, encourage self-awareness and community exploration, promote independence through personal choice of least restrictive environments, and provide a sense of enjoyment, satisfaction and fulfillment.

For details, call Carolyn Nagle at (630) 907-1114 or visit ecautism.com.

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