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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 62
Gender: Male
Posts: 19,783
Location: Long Island, New York

08 Mar 2019, 3:04 am

A trainer on the autism spectrum wanted a place for people with autism to work out, so he opened his own gym

Personal trainer Mark Fleming flashes an encouraging smile as he pushes a young man through the paces. It's a simple exercise, stepping over a hurdle. But for his client, there's nothing easy about it. Fleming understands. He knows a lot about life's hurdles. And like his client, he is on the autism spectrum.

"I think it is important to help others on the spectrum to achieve the life that they desire. And exercise is a great way to do that," Fleming tells CNN. "I have them do this exercise to get the brain working... Coming to a new place can be challenging to an individual with autism."

Fleming graduated from the University of Alabama with bachelor's and master's degrees in exercise science. While working as a Special Olympics volunteer, he learned of a disturbing fitness problem for many of the participants.

"There was nothing for people with autism to stay active [after the Special Olympics ended]. And they would end up regressing. A lot of the time, people with disabilities stay at home a lot and become sedentary."

Fleming wanted to fill that void. So he started an in-home personal training service for people with autism and related disorders. That was three years ago. This past month, he opened his own gym, Puzzle Piece Fitness.

A challenge Fleming has faced, like many new businesses -- getting people to buy in.
"Dealing with this population, marketing is different. Word of mouth is the main way."

Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

"When Establishment figures declare that they’ve changed their mind on free speech and now think there should be less of it, know that they expect the speech that gets throttled to be yours, not theirs.” - Walter Olsen Cato Institute


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Joined: 2 Jul 2017
Age: 63
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,422
Location: UK

08 Mar 2019, 3:40 am

I thought it might say something about the gym being quiet and dimly lit... that would be bliss.

Good story though... good luck to the guy.

Steve J

Unkind tongue, right ill hast thou me rendered
For such desert to do me wreak and shame