Since I began going to the gym every week, my overall well-being has greatly improved – I feel healthier, more positive and better about myself.
But I couldn’t have achieved this without the help of someone – my brother – who assisted me along the way. He is someone I can ask any question I have of him without feeling embarrassed or silly and who knows me well enough to explain what workouts and exercises to do and how to do them.
He was able to do this because we have developed a lifetime of trust and understanding.
Unfortunately, many people with disabilities who want to attend the gym to improve their health will not be this fortunate.
That’s why developing a strong rapport, trust and – most of all – respect between client and trainer is essential.
For Those on the Spectrum
With clients who are on the Autism Spectrum, building and fostering trust and respect will require time, patience and understanding.
According to The Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT), the Pennsylvania-based resource organization, the “best way for you to gain the respect of someone you support [who is on the spectrum] is to build a relationship of mutual trust.”
Mutual trust means acknowledging that both you and the person you support have strengths, weaknesses, hopes and needs that are important to well-being and a positive life.
In order to foster this connection, ASERT suggests taking the following steps:
• “Speak to the people you support as you would to any other adult, taking into consideration their personal communication style.”
• “Provide opportunities for those you support to be involved in independent decision making.”
• “Always honor an individual’s right to privacy.”
• “Have a conversation about the language you use to talk about autism or other conditions the person experiences.”
But most of all, it is important for those who work with people on the spectrum to take some time to get to know the people they support as individuals, to learn about their preferences, their sensory and communication needs, and apply what their learn to inform your training.
By achieving this level of trust and understanding, trainers will be able to communicate with their clients who are on the spectrum and help them reach their goals.