Eric Chessen is a man after our own hearts. He created an organization called Autism Fitness that focuses on the physical fitness needs of individuals with autism. It even offers certification classes to people who are interested in specializing in personal training for those with autism. We love this focus and drive because it’s so similar to our own.
We offer personal training courses for people who want to work with all types of special needs, not just people who want to work with individuals with autism. While Autism Fitness focuses primarily on individuals on the spectrum, our sister company, Special Strong, offers personal training and boot camp services to individuals with all types of differing abilities.
Rather than seeing Eric Chessen as the owner and founder of our “competition,” we see him as a man who is striving to make the world a better place for people with special needs, just like us.
About Eric Chessen, M.S.
Eric Chessen wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life, even while he was receiving his master in general psychology. He had a background in fitness and experience working with individuals with special needs at a summer camp. Because of his past experience, Eric was asked to develop a fitness program for individuals on the spectrum.
Eric gladly took on the project, doing (as a future master of science would) research into the subject to better gain his footing, so to speak. It was during this research phase that he made a shocking discovery: there were no fitness programs for people with ASD. There was no example to draw from.
Once he learned this, Eric knew his calling was to be an advocate for people with autism and help them live happier, healthier lives. He trained in ADA (Applied Behavior Analysis) to help prepare him for the journey ahead.
Since launching Autism Fitness, Eric has helped his clients see not just physical success but also emotional and intellectual growth. Eric has been enabling “effective, fun and meaningful fitness outcomes” for over 15 years.
About Autism Fitness
Autism Fitness is a more than a gym or a fitness program: It’s a network. It seeks to educate personal trainers, special education teachers, therapists, and parents about ways to implement healthier habits for those close to them with autism. Through strategies like parent/caregiver workshops, the Autism Fitness toolbox, and certification programs for personal trainers, Autism Fitness is helping the ASD population move forward one step at a time.
Autism Fitness Certifications
Similar to our model, Autism Fitness offers a number of certifications for trainers, therapists, parents, and teachers who want to help the individuals they know with autism achieve a healthier lifestyle.
The certification courses are in-person and short-term. After just two days of intensive training, you can leave the training site with an Autism Fitness certification. The locations for the courses are expanding all over the world. Locations include New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Florida, California — even places abroad like Singapore.
Certifications range from $549 to $649.
Flexible Certification Programs
People who prefer learning in a group, seek quick solutions, are willing to travel for certification, and have more financial flexibility would find Autism Fitness certifications perfect. For individuals who need a more flexible certification program, however, Strong Education has just the thing.
Our certifications are designed to educate those who are interested about all types of special needs, both physical and intellectual. You can complete the coursework online over a period of several weeks. Because of this, we’re able to offer more affordable certification courses, at just $449.
Adaptive Workout Programs
Autism Fitness has become a wonderful resource for parents of children with autism, not just because of their educational materials but also because they can connect parents directly with Autism Fitness certified trainers in their area. Just like their in-person courses, Autism Fitness has trainers all over the Northern Hemisphere but particularly in the New England area of the United States.
Our sister company, Special Strong, offers fitness programs to all individuals who need modified solutions. First pick a location, then be connected with a certified trainer near you (mainly in the North Texas area) who can assist clients in wheelchairs, with limited mobility, with Down Syndrome, with ADHD, and more.
Other Resources for Individuals with Autism
As our sister company is located in North Texas, these are other North Texas organizations we know and love that are helping those on the spectrum grow and succeed.
NonPareil Institute is a trailblazing nonprofit organization with a unique mission — harnessing the technological talents inherent in individuals with ASD. Recognizing the affinity that many individuals on the spectrum have for technology, NonPareil provides technical training to adults, allowing them to cultivate their skills and pursue fulfilling careers in the tech industry.
In NonPareil’s innovative classes, students delve into a spectrum of technical disciplines, including HTML, PhotoShop, InDesign, and app development. NonPareil not only nurtures the inherent abilities of its participants but also equips them with practical skills that the evolving landscape of technology highly seeks, by offering a comprehensive curriculum.
Beyond technical skills, NonPareil places a strong emphasis on fostering independence. Through a supportive and inclusive environment, individuals at NonPareil gain not only technical expertise but also the confidence and self-reliance needed to navigate the professional world successfully.
MyPossibilities is a dynamic continuing education program designed specifically for adults with special needs, including those with autism. This program serves as a gateway to both personal and professional development, guiding individuals towards gaining employment upon graduation.
MyPossibilities goes beyond traditional educational models by helping students explore and identify potential career paths. By providing a supportive and enriching environment, the program empowers individuals to discover their strengths, interests, and aspirations, paving the way for a more purposeful and fulfilling future.
The holistic approach of MyPossibilities extends beyond academics to encompass life skills, social integration, and vocational training. This approach ensures that participants not only receive academic enrichment but also gain practical skills necessary for independent living and meaningful engagement within the community.
Hugs Cafe & Howdy Handmade
Hugs Cafe and Howdy Handmade are both restaurants that exclusively employ adults with special needs. Both companies knew that the special needs population had the highest unemployment rate of all marginalized groups in the United States, and they are working to correct that problem, one individual at a time.
Achievement Center of Texas
Achievement Center of Texas (ACT) is a day habilitation center and day care for people with special needs. Besides the arts and crafts and life skills training that takes place during the school day, ACT also hosts dances and other social events for its students. Every year, ACT directs and puts on a play with an all-student, all-special-needs cast.
For national resources for individuals with autism, we highly recommend the resource guide at Autism Speaks.
Strong Education teaches personal trainers and service providers on how to adapt fitness and nutrition for children, adolescents, and adults with autism, Down Syndrome, and other disabilities through our online adaptive special needs certification course.