A Gym Membership?

Community members playing in the open field

Community members playing in the open field

 

If you cared for a young man with autism and moderate intellectual disability with the following other issues, would you consider a gym membership as an appropriate solution to his need for physical activity?

  •  significant deficits in communication, social interaction, relationship development, coping skills, long-term planning and executive function.
  • He is physically active and energetic with running, jumping and constant movement.
  • He is very high energy and needs to be constantly engaged to minimize behavior issues.
  • Communication is impaired due to his frequent need for physical activity sensory stimulation.
  • He enjoys swinging for up to 20 minutes, long walks, jumping, etc.  and sensory stimulating sounds and movement activities.
  • At times he needs staff to contact guard him due to his behavior to dart away when he sees something off in the distance which interests him or he may push and run into others.
  • He is not traffic safe

I ask this because this is a solution that has been offered to a family from the Roads to Community Living Team.  This young man currently lives in a supportive community in a campus setting.  The campus setting is ideal to benefit this young man in his physical activity needs and also for his safety.  The Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) wants to move this young man from the supportive community in which he is stable and safe to a dispersed home.  The family has requested he remain in the current community and their request has been denied.

The fate of this young man is now at the administrative hearing stage.  DDA has come up with some solutions under the Roads to Community Living program, to help with the transition.  One of these solutions is a gym membership (remember the RCL program only lasts for 365 days).  Do you think the gym membership is a solution to the physical needs of this young man?

If so, why?  If not, why not?