Home > Family Services > Raise the Bar and You’ll Go Far!

Raise the Bar and You’ll Go Far!

This Family Services blog, is written by Mary Carol Grabill. She is a mother of three, including an 11-year-old boy, Tommy, who has autism.

The first time I was exposed to Right Fit and Suzanne Gray, was during a summer camp for children with autism that my son Tommy attended.  Part of the camp’s day was spent with Suzanne and the Right Fit staff, doing exercises that focused on different aspects of movement, body awareness, social skills, and much more. Right Fit’s “Raise the Bar” program uses physical fitness as a therapeutic tool to motivate, educate, and reinforce positive behavior in youths with autism.

I immediately witnessed how good Suzanne was with Tommy. She has so much positive energy, never tires, and is always working on a new project to benefit the lives of children and adults touched by autism.  I asked her if she could work one on one with Tommy and that is how we got started with Right Fit.

On our first day, when I walked Tommy into her facility, I was nervous about Tommy’s first session. I assumed it would end early, due to Tommy’s unpredictable behavior, so I thought I would stick around. To my surprise, Suzanne suggested, “Why don’t you go grab a cup of coffee or something, Tommy will be fine here.” “What?!!!” I thought. “Leave Tommy alone?” I’m glad I did.

It’s amazing what kids can do when Mom is not around.  While I was gone, Suzanne had complete control of Tommy, who can be quite the manipulator.  But here is the difference:  he wants to be at Right Fit. I decided then and there, this was a place where Tommy could thrive and call his own.

Tommy currently works out in Right Fit’s Raise the Bar program four times per week, in one-on-one and group settings.  As a result of his participation in Raise the Bar, we have been able to take Tommy off the medication he took during the previous several years.  He is physically fit and his self-stimulating behavior has decreased significantly.  I firmly believe that exercise, and I mean a lot of exercise, has had a major impact on my son’s demeanor.

Everyday after school Tommy says, “I want to go to Right Fit.”  I understand why:  it is filled with good, honest, funny, caring, enthusiastic and hard working people.  They are always positive, and if Tommy comes in stressed from school, which is typical, they want to know about it and provide an avenue for him to release his stress.

I don’t know what my family would do without Right Fit. Suzanne Gray and her entire staff are excellent. They all respect my son and that is one of the reasons he responds so well to Raise the Bar!

Family Services provides resources and information. If you have a question, contact the Autism Response Team today. If you’re concerned that your child may be affected with autism or if you’ve received a diagnosis, browse the Tools for Families section, where you’ll find our 100 Day Kit, and the Autism Video Glossary. If you’d like to do a quick search for service providers near you, select Find a Local Resource and browse the Resource Guide.

 

  1. October 21, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Hi – awesome! My son Josh (Asperger’s) who is 13 now surfs 3 – 5 hours per day. He has for years and it has helped us to keep him off medication as well as taught him so many valuable skills, he loves the sensation of the water and the physical exercise wears him out so he sleeps! Thanks for sharing about Tommy and I hope he keeps it up. – Paul

  2. sherril cherry
    October 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    HEY THANKS FOR ENCOURAGING ME TO KEEP GOING TO THE YMCA WITH MY SON RAJON HE’S 10 AND HAS AUTISM HE LOVES THE POOL TRY TO MAKE IT THERE THREE DAYS A WEEK IT REALLY CALMS HIM AND HELPS HIM SLEEP AT NIGHT WITHOUT MEDS SO HE CAN GET UP AND GO TO SCHOOL THE NEXT DAY

  3. LInda
    October 22, 2010 at 6:16 am

    WOW…this is such an inspirational story, I appluade you for sharing ! I have signed my 15 yo up for a healthy weight and nutrition program that will include 2x/week personal trainers and classes for all on changing your life style…not diet.

  4. Darla
    October 22, 2010 at 6:21 am

    My child is 7 and was just diagnosed last year with Asperger’s. I just rented the Temple Grandin movie and cried through half of it because it really hits on the problems you deal with (isolation, protecting them from bullies, etc.) Did your pediatricians do any testing or bloodwork to diagnose autism or did you just fill out that subjective Kanners test?

    Also, I just heard that stem cells cure these kids. Anyone know anything about that and are there any clinics in the U.S. that will provide treatments?

  5. Nicole Horton
    October 22, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Love, love, love it!! So happy to hear your son is doing great in a program like this! Right Fit sounds like something all communities should have.

  6. Kelly Capps
    October 25, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    My son that is 16 has Autism and receives disability he is a higher functioning level due to attention focused on his skills, schools have played a big part as well with the effort to help with is autism. My son is very smart and excellent at Art. :]

  7. Christine
    October 26, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    As an OT working with children diagnosed with Autism and sensory processing disorders, I was thrilled to meet the trainers of Right Fit in my community. There comes a time when the children with whom I work are ready to move past OT and PT services but struggle to participate fully and successfully in many of the fitness and exercise programs offered. Right Fit’s program works with the child where they are and therefore sees great successes. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,048 other followers

%d bloggers like this: