Why it may be more difficult for individuals with ASD to Maintain a Healthy Weight

Rigidity, sensory sensitivities, coordination difficulties, and sleep dysfunction often go together with an autism diagnosis. They present their own challenges, but these symptoms can also put a child at risk for being overweight or obese and for diabetes or heart disease later as an adult. Although eating a balanced diet, getting enough exercise, and good sleep habits can be hard for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), there are strategies parents can use to help […]

My Belly Has Two Buttons

by Meikele “Lee” Needles I dreamed of being a mom. I wanted to be a good mom like my mother. Happy, gentle, and supportive of me just as I was…but would do whatever needed to protect my baby. What a premonition of my future! And I had no idea what was in store. I met, married and we started our Family in Helena, Montana. Our first Daughter was normally active and even advanced in a lot […]

The Challenge of Physical Fitness for People with Autism

Marina Sarris Interactive Autism Network ian@kennedykrieger.org You’ve probably seen the headlines: studies say that children and adults with autism are at risk for an inactive lifestyle and obesity. While the reasons are subject to debate, it’s clear that people with ASD often face unique challenges to physical fitness. The core features of autism – social, communication and behavior problems – can make joining a game of kickball at recess or playing tag with neighborhood kids […]

10,000 Steps Versus Exercise

THE FITNESS PRIORITY KRISTIN MCNEALUS, PT, DPT Remember that you are also setting an example for your children. Demonstrating healthy habits will teach kids to incorporate these activities as they grow. You may have heard about the studies that show sitting is worse for your health than smoking, and to combat this, getting a certain number of steps in per day is recommended. Our occupations are more sedentary than they used to be, and our […]

Let’s Talk About STRESS

THE FITNESS PRIORITY BY KRISTIN MCNEALUS, PT, DPT Don’t wait! Get moving – even if only for 10 minutes! It will help manage your stress, and decrease depression and anxiety. It seems like we are getting busier by the year, and less equipped to handle the load. Everything is moving faster, we have devices that imply we are available at any time, and this has resulted in a blurring of the distinct lines where work […]

Caring for Yourself is Caring for the Family

THE FITNESS PRIORITY BY KRISTIN MCNEALUS, PT, DPT If you get sick or injured, then everybody loses, right? You cannot perform your job, and the person who relies on you is also now in trouble. Parenting is tough. It is a non-stop job, and you do not get sick days. Parenting for a child with a disability can be even more challenging because you may not be able to find a sitter who can help […]

What’s Your Goal?

THE FITNESS PRIORITY BY KRISTIN MCNEALUS, PT, DPT Can you break the goal down into three smaller goals you can work on to get toward your big goal? Now give a timeline for those three goals. Giving a time frame will hold you accountable. Think of a goal you would like to accomplish – is it that you would like to lose five pounds? (or 50?) Would you like to lower your cholesterol by 30 […]

Exercise: It’s All About Intensity

THE FITNESS PRIORITY BY KRISTIN MCNEALUS, PT, DPT If you have a disability, it is even more important to get enough exercise because your ability to move throughout the day while doing daily activities is limited, which increases your risk for heart disease and diabetes. I’m sure you’ve heard about the importance of incorporating exercise into your life, but do you do it? If you have a disability, it is even more important to get […]

Caring For Children With Special Needs – Allergies And Asthma

We don’t usually think of children with allergies or asthma as children with “special needs,” but they certainly are. In fact, children with these conditions are probably the most frequently encountered “special needs” children. Child care providers can do a great deal to help individual children manage their specific allergy or asthma needs and feel more comfortable in a child care setting. Allergies Children with allergies face the same social difficulties as do adults, but […]

Celebrating Our Men And Women Of Service

BY MICHELLE BOUDREAU As we move into the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we are looking to honor all men and women of service. At this time, we are featuring two fathers who have encountered difficulties in their own lives, yet have shown up to serve their communities in heroic fashion. We honor Tony DeLeon, serving Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department (LASD is the nation’s largest Sheriff’s Department and the second largest law enforcement […]