As parents, we all pretty much want the same thing. To keep our kids healthy, happy and fit. With a special needs child, this becomes more of a challenge due to medications that may cause weight gain, and insufficient coordination/difficulty with motor skills. Here is an organization that provides terrific exercise programs at a reasonable price. Check it out!! Their website, www.abigblast.com includes reviews and comments from parents. They have two locations on the North Shore and hope to expand.
Founded in 2010, A Big Blast Project (ABBP), helps children and young adults with special needs strengthen functional skills, life-skills, confidence and independence, through fun and inclusive fitness, agility and sports programs that provide therapeutic benefit without the appearance of therapeutic intervention.
ABBP provides a variety of 1:1 and buddy programs that combine elements of physical and occupational therapy, recreational therapy and special education, helping participants build functional skills for maximizing independence at home, in school and in the community. Trained staff and coaches (therapists) lead classes in a non-competitive manner at typical sports and recreation facilities throughout the Chicagoland area. Each student works side-by-side with a trained volunteer peer buddy, who plays an integral role in the education and growth of each child.
Gymnastics Therapy provides 1:1 physical and occupational therapy for children and young adults with special needs, by licensed therapists (referred to as coaches), utilizing gymnastics equipment. Participants work on balance beams, in-ground trampolines, rings, parallel bars and balls, challenging students to problem solve, motor plan, and engage every muscle. Gymnastics Therapy’s innovative approach is refreshing, motivating and fun. Participants don’t think it’s therapy, they think it’s gymnastics!
Buddy Therapeutic Recreational Classes are held throughout the year at neighborhood sports and recreation sites across the Chicagoland area. They are led by ABBP program staff degreed in recreational therapy and special education, and pair a trained peer buddy with each special needs child. Children participate at their functional level, with activities modified for physical challenges. Buddy Gymnastics Classes utilize in-ground trampolines, therapy balls, balance beams, rings, bars, the gymnastics pit, etc. to improve balance, core strength, muscle tone, spatial awareness and motor-planning. Buddy Martial Arts Classes enable the earning of belts that motivate motor-skills practice, self-discipline, respect and accountability. Buddy Sports Classes provide year-round opportunities for buddy baseball, soccer and fitness, improving motor planning, gross-motor skills, and following directions. Buddy Saturday Camp, Buddy Summer Camp and Buddy Winter Break Camp provide fun and constructive programming during days off from school, focusing on fitness, gymnastics, discovery and creative expression.
ABBP programs are open to children and young adults of all abilities/disabilities. Currently, ABBP serves over 75 children and young adults weekly through all of its programs, and has helped them make remarkable gains, functionally, socially, emotionally and cognitively. ABBP is committed to serving increased numbers of children with special needs, including those who are low-income.