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loss is not always feasible, it is important to focus on the most pertinent goal for individuals with autism. While physical, adaptive, and cognitive skills will always be considerations, it is helpful to have specific goals in each area.


Tis 3-Dimensioal approach allows a coach to demonstrate increased abilities over time. Not only is the jump from 3 pushups to 6 pushups impressive, but also the jump from tolerating pushups for a longer period of time. So here you can demonstrate increases in both physical and adaptive functioning, as they relate to a specific fitness situation (not yet generalized). Did I mention cognitive functioning? How about beginning to associate the verbal cue “Do 3 pushups” with the actual performance of pushups, a contingency has been established. Your athlete is learning stuff. New stuff. Measurable and important stuff.


I usually describe my role with Autism Fitness as a bridge between the ASD population (individuals with, parents, educators, therapists) and the fitness professional population. I want the two parties interacting some more. For that to happen, the ASD representatives must understand the importance of fitness as a conduit not only for greater physical ability, but for all of those other skills that, while I never promise, seem to oddly coincide with good, individualized fitness programs. Fitness professionals, those not only interested in relatively uncharted client territory but who really want to be tested on their coaching skills and ability to progress, regress, and be innovative with performance modalities can step on down.


A New Approach to Healing: Yoga for Autism By Jennifer Kimak and Sandy Marotta


Te thought of teaching a yoga class to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) could be intimidating for most instructors. But Samadhi Spectrum teachers will tell you, it doesn’t take long for these amazing people to steal your heart and change your life forever. You stop seeing the behaviors and start seeing the person. You see, not with your eyes, but with your soul.


Created by Sharon Manner and Michael Adelman co-founders of Ashrams for Autism, Samadhi Spectrum strives to connect the autistic community with yoga. Classes are tailored to help individuals on the spectrum deal with everyday issues through the use of yogic techniques. Samadhi Spectrum offers trainings to yoga instructors who want to improve the lives of those with ASD. Current graduates work with Ashrams for Autism to teach yoga classes free of charge for the autistic community.


About Samadhi Spectrum


Sharon’s greatest inspiration for Samadhi Spectrum is her 21- year old daughter, Kerri, who is diagnosed with ASD. Already an established teacher (E-RYT-500) and a member of the International Association of Yoga Terapists, Sharon began teaching classes for children on the spectrum. She saw major improvements, which ultimately led to the creation of an autism yoga training.


Sharon and co-creator, John Margabandhu Martarano, director of the Integral Yoga Institute in Fairlawn, NJ, have done


Autism Community Magazine Vol. 3 Issue 2 • Summer 2013•


extensive research on the causation of symptoms associated with ASD. Together they created Samadhi Spectrum trainings to help alleviate such symptoms as poor digestion, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and mania.


Beyond the series of simple poses, Samadhi Spectrum teachers learn other yogic practices and basic Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) techniques. Margabandhu, who is an expert herbalist, informs trainees of the importance of a conscious diet, while Sharon's teaching expertise lends to easy understanding by participants. An ABA expert walks trainees through challenges faced by ASD individuals so they can properly approach these issues with students.


Samadhi Spectrum in Action


Sharon has seen yoga transform the lives of individuals with autism. She says, “Te science of yoga as a therapeutic tool and lifestyle can help to heal and balance anyone on every level, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Our bodies and minds want to be healthy and in balance. A yogic lifestyle makes this possible. Tis yogic lifestyle has made a profound change in my daughter’s life and, I believe, in the lives of many other students.”


Te Center for Independence currently utilizes Spectrum teachers as part of the curriculum. “We can't praise the amazing instructors from Ashrams for Autism enough. Since the initiation of our program, clients have experienced a decrease


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