In 2011, the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for projects to demonstrate how appropriate supports may help people with developmental disabilities to participate in exercise and nutrition programs. Grantees were expected to demonstrate how to:
- Provide individualized, inclusive recreational fitness programs to people with developmental disabilities to assist them to reach their goals in fitness, recreation, and overall wellness and
- Provide training and/or technical assistance to enable service clubs and volunteer organizations to, if necessary, alter their culture and activities to support full and equal participation by people with developmental disabilities in a way that will promote participation in recreational programs based on interest and goals.
A total of three projects were selected for funds, all with unique approaches. The three selected organizations included Any Baby Can of San Antonio, Inc.; the Texas Statewide Independent Living Council based in Austin; and the Epilepsy Foundation in Houston.
Any Body Can — Any Baby Can of San Antonio, Inc.
Any Baby Can of San Antonio, Inc. developed a project, “Any Body Can,” that was centered on children and families. Any Body Can promotes health, physical fitness and inclusion of children and youth with developmental disabilities through recreational and fitness activities. The program features an eight month curriculum with progress documented via pre- and post-program surveys. The curriculum, developed prior to program inception, has been certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, which allows Any Body Can staff to train YMCA and San Antonio Parks and Recreation staff on working with individuals with developmental disabilities. To date, the project has served 191 families in the greater San Antonio area over the past four years.
Participating families receive weekly consultations with a Registered Dietician, Physical Therapist, and adapted physical educators who help create a health and fitness plan. Families also have access to community fitness facilities. The program is conducted in four phases — Jump Start, Exploration, Inclusion, and Self-Training – that guide families through the process of incorporating physical fitness and healthy eating into their lives.
- Grantee Information — Any Baby Can of San Antonio Health & Wellness Any Body Can
- TCDD Grant Project Information — Any Baby Can Any Body Can Wellness Program
Get FIT Texas — Epilepsy Foundation
The Epilepsy Foundation of Texas adapted an existing program called Get FIT (Fitness, Integration, and Training) New Jersey into a project they call “Get FIT Texas.” A comprehensive, 12-week health and wellness program to improve physical fitness, nutrition, and healthy lifestyles of adults with DD and epilepsy and their caregivers. The program starts with an individualized Get FIT plan of action with “at home activities.” First year total enrollment was 88, which was expanded to 200 by the end of the second year, and 250 by the middle of the third year. The project started expanded into schools in the third year, with a small program in the CyFair schools district near Houston. Year four introduced preventative health testing including: blood lipids, glucose, and blood pressure.
As of March 2016, the program has served 200 out of a targeted 300 participants and is on track to meet the year 4 goal. Grant participants were monitored and showed improvements in fitness measures (chair squat, plank, sit and reach), body composition measures, quality of life scores, and health screen tests. The project is exploring the possibility of becoming a Medicaid provider, enabling participants to bill through the state Medicaid.
Getting Fit to Live, Work, and Play — Statewide Independent Living Council
The Texas Statewide Independent Living Council’s project, “Getting Fit to Live, Work, and Play,” has a three-tiered approach to developing programs that improve health. The first tier focuses on increasing the availability of and access to fitness programs for people with disabilities. The second tier connects people with disabilities to established health programs in pilot areas. With help from trained professionals, project participants develop and execute fitness plans to help them reach self-defined goals. The final tier focuses on increasing awareness of the importance of health and fitness programs for people with disabilities.
Programs are currently active at Volar Center for Independent Living (CIL) in El Paso, LIFE/RUN in Lubbock, Brazos Valley CIL in College Station, and Mounting Horizons CIL Centers use Independent Living Plans to determine and track consumer goals and progress. Collectively, the programs exceed the targeted 150 individuals served.