Through our multidisciplinary approach, we leverage research, data, and partnerships with leading organizations, universities, and school districts to best understand what is needed to create more physically active and inclusive environments. We believe that to achieve the exercise connection is to use exercise for enhancing the quality of life for those with disabilities and their families while also supporting the dedicated professionals who serve the same mission.


ACSM Expands Its Reach to Autism

In 2018, Exercise Connection (EC) & ACSM launched the fitness industry’s first and only accredited Autism Exercise Specialist Certificate. In 2021, it was ACSM’s #1 specialty course. This certificate is designed to provide exercise professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to work with individuals on the autism spectrum (with or without intellectual disabilities) in both one-on-one and in group settings. 

Leading Video Series
In Collaboration with NCHPAD

Exercise Connection and the National Center on Health Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) created a video series reaching over a half-million views. This resource empowers educators, professionals, and parents to help their students and children make the exercise connection. 

fitness coach talking about exercise connection products
Exercise Buddy app

Behavior Analysis + Exercise = Needed Research

Ball State Studies Exercise Buddy

Dr. Bassette published three studies with Exercise Buddy, with more to come, including a chapter in the book “Technology-Supported Interventions for Students with Special Needs in the 21st Century” that will highlight the effects of using the Exercise Buddy app.

Dr. Bassette’s Research

Special Considerations for Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Due to be published in 2022

Coach Dave and Coach Amber were asked to write the chapter “Special Considerations for Neurodevelopmental Disorders.” This will be a part of ACSM’s Exercise Testing and Prescription Textbook. 

exercise testing and prescription book chapter
NYC department of education logo

Building an Inclusive PE Program
Over 100 Professionals using EB

NYC Department of Education District 75 understands the importance of leveraging technology in Physical Education for both their students and staff. As a result, they have not only one of the most inclusive PE programs in the country but also some of the most physically active students with and without disabilities. With the help of Exercise Buddy, the NYC Department of Education staff has been able to make the exercise connection. 

Certificate Backed By Research

A collaborative research team found that participants reported using evidence-based practices (EBPs) increased significantly from pretest to posttest (p = .031). Furthermore, participants perceived self-efficacy in using EBPs significantly improved from pretest to post-test (p = <.001). In a world where exercise is becoming more and more important, those with autism are often at a disadvantage due to the lack of training and support. However, thanks to Exercise Connection, this is starting to change. ACSM has partnered with EC to provide the first-ever Autism Exercise Specialist Certificate. This certificate is backed by research, and through it, we are empowering those on the spectrum to make the exercise connection. 

autism exercise specialist showing client how to do exercises
AuroraUniversity-AutismExerciseSpecialistCertificate (1)

Leading the Way for Teacher Education

Aurora University becomes the first to offer the Autism Exercise Specialist Certificate as a university course for students. This blended online and in-person one-credit course (REC2811) was developed by the American College of Sports Medicine and Exercise Connection. Students can earn the certificate by completing five online learning modules, establishing a foundational framework for understanding autism, evidence-based practices, and inclusive exercise programming. Upon successful completion, students partake in a six-hour in-person workshop, followed by a case study exam. Successful completion of both parts are required to earn the Autism Exercise Specialist Certificate.

Learn More About Exercise Connection

Exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for autism and is an important part of play and learning. It can help improve social skills, communication, behavior, and academics. Exercise can also help reduce anxiety and stress. Those with autism often have difficulty with social interactions and communication. Exercise can help improve these skills. There is a range of additional benefits of using exercise in autism treatment, such as:

  • Improved sleep
  • Increased attention span
  • Improved fine and gross motor skills
  • Reduced anxiety and stress

If you or someone you know is looking for an exercise program to help treat autism, consider Exercise Connection. We are the leading provider of exercise programs for those with autism. Our programs are backed by research, and our team is passionate about helping those with autism lead healthier happier lives. If you are an educator, personal trainer, or parent considering Exercise Connection, please contact us. We would be happy to discuss how we can help you or your child meet their goals.