A Universal Language

Article excerpt

Byline: Janice A. Youngwith

"It's a universal language."

That's how David Geslak, a noted autism fitness specialist who designs special fitness programs for children with autism spectrum disorders, described his ability to communicate with parents and educators during a recent Egyptian teaching tour.

"I didn't speak the language or understand many of the cultural nuances, but the language of autism was universal," Geslak says. His five-day visit was sponsored by Cairo-based Advance Center for children with autism.

"I had an interpreter, but the behaviors, challenges and individual stories were all too familiar."

Geslak, who says exercise has important health benefits for everyone -- especially those with autism, shared components of his Exercise Connection program with teachers, paraprofessionals and scores of therapists, many affiliated with the Arab Network for Autism, during several hours of hands on presentations and workshops.

After exploring the basics of physical assessment and practicing measurement techniques for obtaining a resting heart rate, blood pressure and circumference measurements, Geslak helped participants better understand the five components -- body image, posture, motor coordination, muscular fitness and cardiovascular fitness -- for physical fitness for children with autism spectrum disorders, which Geslak developed.

Geslak, who serves as president of The Exercise Connection, says physically active lifestyles should be defined by balance, posture, body awareness, eye-hand, foot-eye coordination, laterality and proprioception or the sense of one's limbs in space. …