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Youth Gym Offers Program for Those with ASD

Youth Gym Offers Program for Those with ASD

Evolution Youth Fitness, a children's gym in Port Jefferson Station, began a fitness program for children with autism last month. The fitness program for children on the spectrum aims to help children gain physical, social, and cognitive skills.

Evolution Youth Fitness in Port Jefferson Station opened in April and began offering general fitness programs for children ages 7-13. While it has only been open for two months, it is already adding a new class to its curriculum: THRIVE Autism Fitness.

THRIVE, which is set to begin June 1, is geared toward children ages 7-18 who are on the autism spectrum. Children will work on social, physical, and cognitive skills in one-on-one sessions or group sessions with two other children.

Owner Tony Rodriguez says he started offering the program after hearing from parents that there weren’t many gyms offering classes for children with autism. “Studies show that children with autism are 20 to 25 percent more overweight than those without autism,” he says. “We found through our focus groups that there is a definite need to address the physical and cognitive need of this population.”

Rodriguez, who is a certified personal fitness trainer and wellness coach, started Evolution Youth Fitness so that children won’t even know that they are exercising. In the 45-minute workout sessions, children work on obstacle courses, relay races, and at fitness stations where they work on skills for 30 seconds at a time.

THRIVE classes are by appointment and cost $40-$75 per 45-minute session, depending on group size.

Main photo: Tony Diaz (third from left), owner, with others at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Evolution Youth Fitness


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