Like everyone, neurodiverse people thrive when they are physically healthy and fit. Exercise, mobility, lower stress, quality sleep and a good diet are as important to their quality of life as they are to all of us. In fact, these things may be even more important to neurodiverse people because, as research has shown, they can improve a broad range of issues, from stereotypy to obesity. We see the change when our neurodiverse loved ones get to be active, engage, and feel good about themselves. It can transform them from the inside out.

Parents, siblings and caregivers need it just as much. Parents, siblings and other caregivers of neurodiverse people, too, benefit greatly from leading a healthy lifestyle. Research has shown that families with neurodiverse loved ones experience significantly higher than average stress levels and isolation but often do not have the time and support they need for self-care. How much better do we handle what life throws at us when we feel fit, strong and more relaxed? We are more present, able to be there for our families, and are simply happier. Regular exercise, eating well, and managing stress work together to bring balance to our crazy lives.

The Problem
There are few good options. As important as physical fitness is for all of us, neurodiverse people and their families very often don’t have the opportunities or resources to build healthy lifestyles. And while things like Special Olympics and inclusive sports camps are wonderful, they do not necessarily build the foundation for lifelong fitness and wellbeing. Despite increasing awareness and inclusion efforts, most health clubs and fitness centers and programs are either not interested in or properly equipped to support our neurodiverse loved ones.

It gets worse with age. Our neurodiverse loved ones often become more sedentary, gain wait, begin to suffer more health-related issues, are more socially isolated, and are overall less engaged as they age. Neurodiverse people often face medical and psychological conditions as well as higher rates of injury than neurotypical people that lower their quality of life and life expectancy. The average life expectancy for neurodiverse people is 36 years vs 72 years for neurotypical people. Obesity, arthritis, heart disease, for example, and severe depression and suicide all contribute to this sad fact. Developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle at any age can help many of these issues. But neurodiverse people frequently are unable to self-advocate and access resources that can help. Sadly, many do not create healthy habits and they often cannot self-advocate to change things for the better. And as every parent or caregiver of a neurodiverse person knows, resources do not become more abundant as our children get older… they become scarcer.

Many things get in the way. Not surprisingly, both neurodiverse people and their neurotypical family members and caregivers struggle to create and sustain healthy lifestyles despite how important it is. Sometimes we just don’t know what to do or how to do it. Or we’re running from one therapy to another, one appointment to another, and have no time. We try one program, but then it ends or gets moved to a different time or place. There may be behavioral issues that make getting out a real challenge. There may simply be no place to go or people to work with tailored to our needs. Or, we may just be tired, worn out and not have the support to make it happen. That’s why we’re here… to lower the barriers, raise the bar and help you on your journey toward health.