For many people with autism, sensory sensitivities and other ASD symptoms can get in the way of partaking in healthy activities like eating nutritious food and getting enough exercise. But one successful young woman on the autism spectrum has now started a non-profit to help other people with autism find personalized solutions to these problems so that they can live their best lives.
Apt Fitness, Inc., was founded by the first openly autistic litigation paralegal in the state of Florida. The 501(c)(3). This organization acknowledges the disparity in employment practices, service at service industry destinations, and stereotypes that exist against people on the spectrum and seeks to alleviate these issues by assisting those with autism and disabilities with a variety of resources.
Apt Fitness creates exercise and beauty solutions for people on the autism spectrum, as well as for people who struggle with depression, anxiety, ADHD, or other cognitive or neurological issues. The goal is to make these solutions tailored to the individual and also affordable and to create a judgement-free space in which people on the spectrum and those with disabilities can receive support. The non-profit also works hard to create an empowering network of autists that can help one another.
The non-profit has lots of tips to help people get the right nutrition, cook and eat in an enjoyable way, exercise in a way that works for their body, and more. So many people don’t understand the very specific sensory sensitivities that some autists have, such as a sensitivity to the taste of chlorophyll in plants, but that’s not the case at Apt Fitness.
All of Apt Fitness’s services are based on HUD income guidelines to ensure that they’re affordable to those who need them. They’re often offered in personalized sessions at people’s homes, parks, offices, or online. All the trainers are volunteers, which further serves to cut down on costs for clients.
Best of all, because the founder of Apt Fitness is a paralegal, there’s always legal help available at the non-profit for anyone experiencing employment discrimination, harassment, or another legal issue.
All told, Apt Fitness is a place where autists can embrace their diagnoses, upend stereotypes and misconceptions, improve their self-esteem, and just generally elevate their own quality of life. The world needs more non-profits that are so accepting and understanding of people on the spectrum!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?