One on One: Personal Trainer David Geslak Helps Autistic Children
David Geslak's personal training career has taken him from making stronger men of major college football players to changing the diapers of 16-year-old boys. He has no regrets about the career change. Working in a local gym six years ago, Geslak was introduced to an 8-year-old child with autism, and he has been using exercise to help autistic kids better cope with their environment ever since. He also speaks to groups of exercise specialists and educators in the United States and abroad about his five components of physical fitness for children with autism (body image, posture, motor coordination, muscular fitness and cardiovascular fitness), and will soon publish an instructional manual based on his often painstaking experiences (it once took six months' worth of one-on-one sessions to teach a child how to learn a variation on the jumping jack). Paul Steinbach asked Geslak, 30, about his own personal challenges and rewards.
Q: How did the encounter with Joseph, your first autistic client, come to pass?
Q: What does structured exercise do for children with autism?
Q: Have you ever struggled with a child to the point where it made you want to quit?
Q: During your days as a University of Iowa strength coach, did you ever see a football player display anything close to Joseph's excitement after a training session?
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Ithaca College Athletics and Events Center