Many years ago when I would practice Pilates in my apartment, Brendan said to me, "WOW! you are really strong; my PE teacher couldn’t do any of that!!!" That got me thinking that Pilates is so great and has such wonderful benefits that I started teaching Breathing to Brendan to calm him, finding his Center. Moving forward, I worked on making him aware of his posture.
Brendan is very distinct in that he is 33 years old and my son. Brendan has Autism and Asthma, Arthrogryposis, Cerebral Palsy, among many diagnoses. Brendan has very limited range of motion in his hands, arms, shoulders, and back.
As I was training to be a Pilates Instructor, I thought that some of the movement would be really great if Brendan could learn... But I had to wait for Brendan to be interested, and then...
Brendan's love Hockey and WWE (Wrestling) specifically, John Cena, which made Brendan think about getting into shape .... so and with that, a few years ago Brendan wanted to try the Reformer; I modified his Pilates routine to about 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, and now to 20 minutes. The sessions are very simple for his level and ability: basic foot work and basic arm work with a touch of abdominal work…
He loves it! He thought it was so great that he asked me to take a picture of him doing the arm work. The reformer became his favorite piece of equipment. And I thought. "This is amazing!!!"
If you know a person with Autism, you know that this small feat is amazing!
Brendan loves working on the Reformer, and he tells me it is fun, and I see that it give him a wonderful sense of pride and achievement. I can honestly tell you that with the correct modification, motivation, patience, and understanding, the exercises and movements of Pilates can be modified to any individual and any level of physical ability.