Children With Autism Flourish While Working Out - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Children With Autism Flourish While Working Out

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FRUITLAND, Md. - According to the CDC, one in 68 U.S. children has an autism spectrum disorder - a 30 percent increase from just two years ago.

But at Core First gym, none of that matter when kids from the Autism Chapter Eastern Shore, Inc., show up to work out.

"Jumping jacks and seal jacks and arm circles," Hayden Holman rattles of his favorite exercises at the start of Monday's session.

His mother says doctors told her Hayden wouldn't be able to speak or be a functioning member of society. She was warned that she would have to institutionalize her son.

But, by working with him intensely and through activities like working out in the group, Hayden can run and play, and is learning German, French and Spanish.

"It's amazing," said Jacki Daries, group exercise leader at Core First. "It's one of the most rewarding jobs I've ever had just because they come in here and they work so hard, and to see the smiles on their faces."

Daries says many of them couldn't do the drills when they first started a few months ago, either because they were shy or they were just not strong enough. But much of that has changed.

"We do speed and agility drills and resistance training," Daries explained.

The team at Core First designed a special routine that is fun and builds confidence.

"Yeah, I always have fun when I do those rings over there," said AJ Whitehead.

It also is creates a place where kids can beat some common misconceptions.

"I think they are underestimated by a lot of people," Daries said. "They think that they can't perform exercises like a normal person would be able to. But they can and they work so hard at it."

Hayden's mom Crystal Holman, who works with the Autism Chapter Eastern Shore, agrees.

"They are uplifting and encouraging and enlightening each other," Holman said.

Making the perfect environment to push themselves to reach their full potential.

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