Exercise classes for kids with autism improve confidence and behavior

January 13, 2014

by Jackie Pilossoph / For Sun-Times Media
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NORTHBROOK — An exercise routine is something that is important for everyone. And according to Laura Fine, that includes individuals with autism.

“The research is out there that an increase in movement and physical activity can decrease aggressive and maladaptive behaviors,” said Fine, who has worked in the special education field for almost a decade, and who became a certified fitness trainer in recent years.

Fine is the Director of Training for Exercise Connection, a Chicago-based exercise program for kids and adults with autism, which is new to the North Shore.

She said she met founder David Geslak last year through social media, and knew almost immediately that the community needed Exercise Connection.

“My gut, my first instinct was, ‘Why isn’t this on the North Shore?’” said Fine, who holds a masters degree in special education, and who in the past taught at Northbrook Junior High, as well as Highcrest Middle School in Wilmette.

“Laura had a background in special education and that is primary over fitness, in my opinion,” said Geslak, who founded Exercise Connection in 2009 after starting up and coordinating the physical education department at Giant Steps, a school located in Lisle for children with autism. “She understands the kids and she knows how to work with them.”

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