Our older teen and adult special needs children benefit from exercise and motor skill development programs, just like the younger ones.
There are two key differences in the approach however;
1. Identifying the developing health and mental changes
2. Educating on lifestyle habits and body awareness
The developing health challenges can include such things as being overweight, joint problems, high blood pressure, hormone issues, posture and muscle imbalances, low tone or strength and poor endurance. Mental changes can include misunderstanding the above, poor self care, sexuality, social connectedness, depression and opposition.
Lifestyle habits can be educated regarding self-care, leisure, sexuality, social graces and activity. Body awareness is an ongoing educational process. Teaching about the muscles, bones, proper activity, eating/food/nutrition, posture and exercise for their particular needs. Something as simple as "how strong are you?", can lead to a conversation about how to feel stronger.
For parents, its having access to appropriate programs and professionals that is a challenge for this age group. In our opinion, the one on one approach has always been the best way to address the above elements. The importance of the relationship between the individual and the Instructor cannot be understated. This is the social connectedness for many - especially those out of high school as the pool of others around them diminishes and their adult sense increases.
Keeping active frees the mind and provides self-esteem increases. Especially one on one exercise prescription - where an individual's needs are specifically addressed and a relationship developed. Something to think about!