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On-Site Sports & Fitness Classes

Physical activities are vitally important for children with and without disabilities. They promote healthy lifestyles but can also benefit individuals with autism in unique ways. 

In the U.S., the prevalence of obesity among children with ASD increases by 19% with an additional 36% at risk for being overweight. Being overweight can put children at increased risk for numerous health problems, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, bone and joint problems, and even depression. (1) 

Keeping our participants active and healthy through tennis, fitness, golf, yoga, and kickball is our key goal. 

(1) Source: Autism Speaks: Sports, Exercise, and the Benefits of Physical Activity for Individuals with Autism 

The Ernie Els #GameON Autism® Programs 

Through the Ernie Els #GameON Autism® Programs, we are changing the culture of sports and recreation. People with autism are beginning to feel included and welcomed to participate in a recreational activity, go to public places, even take lessons or group classes with their local sports professionals. We believe recreation, specifically sports, can be an effective supplemental therapy for individuals with autism. Resources for this program and information for starting up your own program can be found here.

Class Descriptions

Golf

The Ernie Els #GameON Autism® Golf Program offers a package of small-group golf classes (usually 8-9 weeks, 2 times per week) for ages 6 and up. Participants learn the fundamental golf swings (putting, chipping, pitching, full swing) and practice foundational motor skills through fun athletic games and golf activities. Through unique daily lessons, each containing a golf and an autism learning objective, students learn the basics of golf, including etiquette and safety, while practicing social/communication skills in a group setting.

Tennis

The Ernie Els #GameON Autism® Tennis Program teaches participants the component tennis swings (forehand, backhand, volley), which enable participants to progress towards engaging in rallying with a coach and/or peer. Through drills and practice stations, participants learn how foundational and functional movements contribute to the proper execution of the various basic and more athletic swing components in the game of tennis.

Fitness

The Ernie Els #GameON Autism® Fitness Program offers a package of small-group fitness classes (usually 8-9 weeks, 2 times per week) for ages 15 and up. Participants improve their strength and conditioning by learning to use a complement of basic equipment and core exercises. Emphasis is placed on developing bodily and kinesthetic awareness, the development of improved fine and gross motor skills, as well as a basic understanding of bodyweight, momentum, and proprioception.

Kickball

Kickball provides individuals the opportunity to participate in a team sport with their peers. Participants engage in physical activities that include running. throwing, rolling. and catching while also developing social/communication skills through peer interaction and peer encouragement. Each class includes a warmup, skill building, and 30 minutes of play.

Yoga

Yoga for individuals with special needs enhances stamina, flexibility, and strength in a fun. motivating, and social environment. Accompanied by calming music, classes include warmup and breathing exercises. cardio routines, developmentally appropriate and energizing yoga poses, as well as relaxation techniques to improve health and promote well-being and bodily awareness.

 Learn More

We are grateful to be chosen as a Grant Recipient of the Florida Junior Golf Council.  To support our program and many other programs, click here to learn how.

All classes are held at The Els Center of Excellence® in Jupiter, FL.

  • A minimum of five participants is required for groups. 
  • These programs do not provide aides or personal supports and require participants to engage in a 4:1 ratio.  Those who accompany participants needing additional support will be required to actively participate in each practice session. 

Current Recreation Schedule

For more information and to register:
Contact: Greg Connors, Recreation Services Coordinator
Email: greg.connors@elsforautism.org
Phone: 561-320-9512

Financial Need Assistance 

The Foundation offers programs and services to the entire community, and services are NOT limited to individuals enrolled at The Learning Academy or The Learning Center. Additionally, some individuals may qualify for financial assistance. Complete the Financial Aid Application here.