Kim A. Weiss Autism Fitness

Kim A. Weiss Autism Fitness

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Moving Beyond The Spectrum

I’M autism fitness trainer KIM A. WEISS. I can HELP your child ON THE SPECTRUM MOVE AND IMPROVE

I work with autistic children ages three to 18 in a loving manner, using fitness to create building blocks for self-esteem, self reliance and social interaction.

My individualized fitness programs have been proven to help autistic kids expand their capabilities and overcome challenges to learning, performance and socialization.

I enhance physical abilities and achieve empowerment with fun, laughter, goal setting, visualizations and positivity.

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Who We Are

 
 
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Kim A. Weiss,  Director

I’m Kim A. Weiss, Director of the ASD Program at the 92Y in New York City. I also work with private clients via this website.. I provide comprehensive programs for children and young adults three to18 who are on the spectrum. In addition, I am a Special Olympics Coach helping special needs teens reach their dreams.

I have been working with special needs adolescents and teens for over 25 years. My expertise is in creating goal oriented, individualized physical fitness programs. Beyond exercise, I help to create a sense of values, accomplishment and self-worth. These are building blocks to self-esteem, self-reliance and social interaction.

No two children and no two programs are the same

Every one of my programs is based on the singular characteristics of each child, taking into account their personal physical and developmental skill set.

I received a Bachelor of Business Administration at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  I earned my Personal Training Certification from the American Council on Exercise. My numerous certifications include Autism Fitness, Sensory Behavior and Skill Management, Functional Movement, Flexibility and Mobility, TRX Pro.


Elizabeth Pruzinsky,  MST, LBA, BCBA

Elizabeth Pruzinsky has been working with children of all ages and skill levels and their families for over ten years. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, her Masters of Science in Teaching, with a focus on special education from Pace University in New York, while completing The New York City Teaching Fellows, and a graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from Hunter College. 

Elizabeth’s background includes work in public schools, private schools, and developing and running home programs.

Her areas of expertise include behavior management, functional behavior assessment, discrete trial training, creative academic approaches, staff training and management, and ABA program development and implementation. 

 
 
 
 

What We Do

Children and young adults on the spectrum are kids just like all kids. They can play, run, shoot baskets, kick a soccer ball and play catch, just like their counterparts. They just need to be taught in an adapted fashion.

You will see positive changes in as little as eight weeks.

 
 We break down lessons.

We break down lessons.

How we help kids learn

Children on the autism spectrum can achieve fitness! We adapt each child’s lessons to help them develop and expand their capabilities.

For example, when we teach your child to play baseball, we start with teaching them to run from home plate to first base. The bases can serve as visual cues.  Arrows can be used to point out the right direction to move around the bases. A sticker, a high five, or other reinforcers may be needed at the end of a successful run.

Assess, Progress, Results.

We focus on the whole child

Every one of the ASD children we coach is different. We don’t have a “program” of autism fitness. We view autistic children’s behavior as statements of their needs.

Therefore, we focus on the whole child and develop an individual program to move beyond perceived limitations.

We created individualized programs for each child to improve motor skills, strength, agility, speed, balance, endurance, flexibility and response to sensory information through exercise.

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 We raise the bar.

We raise the bar.

 

assess, progress, results

We assess each child’s current fitness and wellness level. We identify physical imbalances, strengths and weaknesses.

We focus on the unique challenges facing each child. Using compassion, consistency, and appropriate rewards. Then we set and monitor individual short and long term goals.

We enhance physical abilities and achieve empowerment with fun, laughter, goal setting, visualizations and positivity.

Benefits of Fitness

 Exercise helps improve strength and so much more.

Exercise helps improve strength and so much more.

Children on the autism spectrum and those with developmental difficulties that affect their performance and socialization can benefit from the fitness programs we create with care and kindness. You’ll see positive results in as little as eight weeks.

Our complete assessment looks at the whole child

This covers your child’s learning style (tactile/kinesthetic, visual, auditory); attention span; academic strengths; most effective reinforcements; physical health including medical conditions, allergies and physical limitations; communication skills; emotions and behaviors; and sensitivities. Our programs work to enhance physical abilities and achieve empowerment through goal setting, visualization and positivity.

Fitness helps improve:

  • Self-esteem

  • Socialization

  • Independence

  • Brain Development

  • Motor movements

  • Strength

  • Agility

  • Emotional reactions and social skills

  • Speed

  • Flexibility

  • Responses to sensory information

  • Balance

  • Endurance


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Each program is unique because every child is unique

A thorough fitness evaluation includes assessing your child’s body image, knowledge of movements and functions of the body parts in relation to each other and other objects, dynamic balance, gross motor coordination, visual motor control, hand-eye coordination, locomotor movement, rhythm and visual motor control, full body strength, and advanced coordination.

Exercise helps decrease

  • Frequency of self-stimulating behavior (stimming)

  • Injury from muscle imbalances

  • Muscle compensation

  • Object tapping

  • Light gazing

  • Body rocking

  • Spinning

  • High pitched vocal noises

  • Head-nodding  

  • Hand flapping

  • Object tapping

  • Aggressive & self-injurious behaviors

  • Toe walking

 

Case Studies 

I have never met two children on the spectrum who are alike. Each has his or her own responses to sensory information and each has a unique personality. I take the whole child into account to develop an individualized program.

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How Exercise is Building Robert’s Skill, Strength and Self-Esteem

The most important goal was to give Robert a better sense of himself. Like many children on the spectrum, he did not know how strong or athletic he could be. His self-esteem was low, and he was sure he would not be able to complete any of the evaluation areas in proper form with correct posture or ability.

Robert showed an interest in basketball during his first session. As his running skills developed, they were integrated into basketball. His running form went from heavy footed, bent at the waist with arms flying about to running like a “typical” 14 year-old boy should run.

Progressing to strength, power and coordination

He was soon able to move to the running on the treadmill and then to track. This is helping to develop his capacities in dynamic exercises. Perhaps most importantly, he is proud of his own achievement.

To help Robert progress and advance, strength training was added four months in to his training on a regular basis. The building of muscle coordination is critical for his future physical development.

He is currently working on developing the ability to do pull ups. Robert was unable to do one push up in his initial assessment and not one sit up. He can now do three sets of 10 of both.

We’ve added jumping jacks, hopping on one foot, ladder drills with jumps and hops to warm up before he runs. Running will soon begin on the skill mill. This is a treadmill in which the runner is the electricity. This is a challenging running task. This takes strength, power and coordination.

Self-esteem and his belief in himself are Robert’s best triumphs to date.

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How Fitness Is Helping Julian Overcome Physical and Emotional Challenges of Autism

 Exercise helps balance and coordination.

Exercise helps balance and coordination.

When he began my Moving Beyond the Spectrum fitness program at age six, Julian faced many challenges. His parents wanted him to learn to engage in reciprocal ball play and follow directions in sports. They hoped he could become able to balance on a scooter and a bike without falling. And, perhaps most of all,  they wanted him to be able to interact and play with other children.

Besides his initial lack of physical coordination and body awareness (proprioception) Julian suffers from Hyperacusis, a hearing disorder that plagues some children on the autism spectrum. It makes it extremely hard to deal with everyday sounds. While other people may not even notice, certain sounds seem unbearably loud to Julian.

Unfamiliar Noise Added to the Challenges

My assessment of Julian included a posture, core and movement screening, using the balance beam, ball skills, hopping, jumping, running, crawling and coordinated movements. Completing a full assessment for Julian proved demanding and tiring for him. The new noises he was unfamiliar with and new surroundings created distraction after distraction. Moving at his pace to keep his attention focused was a contest of wits.

A year later, at seven years-old, Julian runs across the gym when he arrives, eager to exercise. He rides a tricycle with full command of his space; able to  turn corners and follow straight lines. Julian can balance completely both on the stairs and on our imaginary balance beam. And he can catch a ball up 15 times in a row.

Progress Dealing With Noise and Emotions

One of Julian’s biggest accomplishments in the past year is dealing better with his hyper-sensitive hearing. He understands that other people don’t hear many of the noises he hears. He could be distracted just by the sound of other kids having fun, or the air conditioning kicking in, or people chatting. With acceptance that has changed his life, Julian knows that the noises don’t have to prevent him from continuing a task.

He can now do running drills to cones of different colors, throw a ball to a target and not just to a recipient. While he couldn’t perform the coordinated movement of one jumping jack, he can now do up to  four.

One of his major behaviors before and during his exercise program was to exclaim happiness by screeching or screaming. Julian has made extraordinary progress in the use of words to express his emotions. His parents call his progress remarkable.

At the end of each session, Julian is rewarded with final exercise of choice.  Unimaginable a year ago, his choice is always running with as many as three or four other children.


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How Fitness Is Helping Aiden Build Self-Regulation, Endurance, Coordination And Motor Skills

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Ten year-old Aiden’s demeanor is exceptionally happy and sweet and he is creative and curious. He is interested in music and movies, and he loves to sing. Like many children on the autism spectrum, when he began the program in April 2018, his endurance was short and his posture was poor. His muscle coordination was deficient in both fine and gross motor skills.

Based on a formal assessment and observation of Aiden in action, I observed that his ability to follow directions requires visual, verbal and tactile cues. I developed a fitness program specifically for him, taking the full child into account.

My initial goals were to get him comfortable moving his body in a physical manner, increasing coordination, strength, balance, mobility and ball skills. Aiden needs to increase his endurance during physical activity. He seems to tire easily when he is not fully engaged in an activity. But when the action, movement or exertion is one he chooses, his enthusiasm is accompanied by his singing.

Building Strength, Coordination and Motor Skills

Aiden is now able to run in a straight line as well around a track. His posture has vastly improved. He has grasped the hand and arm form needed to run correctly.

He is still working on foot and hand coordination. He cognitively understands how this should work but is slowly implementing what he knows he can do. In short burst his entire form is on task. He loses his form after about 3 minutes of running, but we’re  working toward longer runs.

Aiden is using light weight training to build his strength and enhance the development of the fine motor skills. This is also part of building his self-regulation, bilateral coordination, grasp and gross motor skills.

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Contact Us

Let’s discuss the challenges and goals of your 3 to 18 year old child or young adult on the autism spectrum. Our first meeting will include a thorough assessment of your child’s physical and emotional health.

Yes I want Help for My Child!

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