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Thread: Special Needs Kids

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Reno, NV
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    12

    Default Special Needs Kids

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    Dear Coach Rippetoe,

    I would like to express my appreciation for your book Starting Strength and the big and unexpected effect it is having on my family.

    I ran across references to your book on some lifting web sites and purchased the kindle version from Amazon. I am 49 and 6’4” so I always found the squat and dead lift very intimidating and outside my comfort zone Your approach was a revelation. After reading your book I have spent the last several months lifting numbers that I have never done it my whole life. It’s sort of strange to go to the gym, and week after week realizing that everything I am lifting is a personal best.

    The big difference has been with my son.

    He has some issues and has never been in a regular classroom. Our attempts at extra curricular activities have always been a disaster as he has just had no motivation to participate. At 17 he is now 6’8” so along with being socially unresponsive he is physically awkward. The best we were hoping for was interaction with the computer gaming folks.

    Four weeks ago I setup a home garage gym with some used weights and a squat stand made out of two home Depot Buckets, cement and 4 x 6s and started him squatting with a broom handle on the first day.

    We knew something was different when last week he offered to carry a nightstand up stairs for his mother. stronger and generally more useful!!!

    Last night he squatted 70lbs and dead lifted 80lbs which is astonishing not for the weight but for what came before.

    When we tried to get him to go to activities it was an impossible struggle. I had lifted the night before and had left the bar on the ground with 2 45lb weights on each side.

    When I got home after messaging him to dress, warm up and be ready for his work sets when I got home… he had taken the weights off the bar, moved the bar to the stand and was ready to go.

    It’s a little hard to explain for people who have regular kids what this means. It was astonishing. Something about the simplicity and the progress just works for him.

    Thanks again and all my best

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    North Texas
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    43,318

    Default

    An excellent thing you have done. Best of luck with this project.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Wherever the music takes me, kitten
    Posts
    2,594

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by robert_nv View Post
    Dear Coach Rippetoe,

    I would like to express my appreciation for your book Starting Strength and the big and unexpected effect it is having on my family.

    I ran across references to your book on some lifting web sites and purchased the kindle version from Amazon. I am 49 and 6’4” so I always found the squat and dead lift very intimidating and outside my comfort zone Your approach was a revelation. After reading your book I have spent the last several months lifting numbers that I have never done it my whole life. It’s sort of strange to go to the gym, and week after week realizing that everything I am lifting is a personal best.

    The big difference has been with my son.

    He has some issues and has never been in a regular classroom. Our attempts at extra curricular activities have always been a disaster as he has just had no motivation to participate. At 17 he is now 6’8” so along with being socially unresponsive he is physically awkward. The best we were hoping for was interaction with the computer gaming folks.

    Four weeks ago I setup a home garage gym with some used weights and a squat stand made out of two home Depot Buckets, cement and 4 x 6s and started him squatting with a broom handle on the first day.

    We knew something was different when last week he offered to carry a nightstand up stairs for his mother. stronger and generally more useful!!!

    Last night he squatted 70lbs and dead lifted 80lbs which is astonishing not for the weight but for what came before.

    When we tried to get him to go to activities it was an impossible struggle. I had lifted the night before and had left the bar on the ground with 2 45lb weights on each side.

    When I got home after messaging him to dress, warm up and be ready for his work sets when I got home… he had taken the weights off the bar, moved the bar to the stand and was ready to go.

    It’s a little hard to explain for people who have regular kids what this means. It was astonishing. Something about the simplicity and the progress just works for him.

    Thanks again and all my best
    Robert - this is awesome. I too have a son that sounds very very similar to your boy - just not as tall -(only 6' 2" @ 16) but sounding very similar. I have not been able to break through that barrier yet - he is still more into the world where he is most comfortable from a sensory standpoint. That, like many, is the computer/gaming community. This has reinvigorated me to renew the desire to getting this boy under the bar in a positive way.

    Thank you for reminding me. Good on you and your son for this step you have taken . . I understand the small victories with our kids.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
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    Default

    Thanks Coach

    And to show i am paying attention i found a pair of shoes for him on ebay... size 14


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    This is wonderful to read, and very encouraging. I have two young sons, both with learning disabilities. I too have set up a gym at home to try and get this as a way of life for them.

    I wish you all the best.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Savannah, GA
    Posts
    48

    Default

    Robert,

    That’s an awesome testimonial – thanks for sharing!

    Your story has given me some encouragement about my own situation. I have (2) sons. My older son is 5 years old and has a few challenges to overcome: 1) a mild form of Asperger’s syndrome, and 2) walking problems that have been tentatively diagnosed as dystonia. To make a long story short, my wife and I have had our hands full trying to navigate the situation. It’s been difficult getting my son the social interaction that he needs to grow and develop; and it’s also been challenging to figure out how to strengthen his body at such a young age to help resolve the dystonia.

    I intend to start my son with barbell training in a few years when he is a little more mature and can follow directions better. He loves to watch me lift in the garage and is always trying to mimic my movements with a lightweight broomstick handle. I’ve read the Starting Strength material about training kids – and I really think my son will enjoy it. (From what I’ve observed, kids with Asperger’s seem to enjoy and excel at structured activities with clearly defined goals, etc.)

    I can genuinely relate to your comment, “It’s a little hard to explain for people who have regular kids what this means…” I wish you the best with training your son – I really hope this is the “key” to opening up his “world.”

    Regards,
    Kenny

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Copenhagen
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    1

    Default

    I'm kind of a grown up special needs kid, so I'm going to chime in.

    I just picked up my version of Starting Strength at the post office today. I'm a 42 year old male with an avoidant personality disorder. I've been affected by anxiety most of my life. About two years ago, never been in a gym before, I started on a health and exercise program to lose weight and break the last decade's worth of social isolation, anxiety and depression. After the program ended a few of the participants continued to work out together in a community/outreach center. This summer I was getting frustrated, because the random exercising started to bore me and I felt like I was going through the motions without any tangible goals or progress.

    When telling one of the physiotherapists about my frustration, she asked me, why I hadn't asked her for an appointment and then she introduced me to the squat, deadlift and press and lend me her dog-eared Starting Strength first edition. She attempted to convince me, that the squat wouldn't turn my knees to dust and that the deadlift wouldn't make my spin explode out my back, she even filmed my lifts, so I could see, what I struggled to feel, that my form was if not great, then at least decent and safe.

    My avoidant personality disorder means I'm filled with inadequacy and am constantly preoccupied with what others think about me and always thinking, I'm being judged negatively. I'm finally receiving some intensive and much needed cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT), but it's a new found bonus, how strength training goes hand in hand with CBT.

    Whenever I'm training, my mind is constantly telling me, I'm about to injure myself or that everyone around me is thinking, that I'm a complete joke, but barbell training forces me to listen/feel my body, instead of my racing negative thoughts. When I duck under the bar, I'm thinking: "Today I'm going to break my back," but I also know how to place my hands, feet and the bar and if my worries still bother me, I can always film my set and see, that my body knows what to do, in spite of what my thoughts tell me.

    So I squat without the bar, then with it, with increments and then my work set and then I'm flooded with relief and pride. I'm not sure, I would have benefited or had the courage without the therapy, but barbell training feels like a very tangible form of therapy. Whenever I override my negative thoughts and prove them wrong, I feel a sense of confidence, I never really experienced before.
    Last edited by Jens F; 10-21-2015 at 06:23 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    12

    Default Weight keeps going up

    It really is extraordinary how a simple progression can change the entire dynamic.

    He will squat 100lbs, and he is really excited at the prospect.

    Both because it's only 5lbs more than he did on Monday, and because he already dead lifted 125lbs.

    So the concept that he has already moving around that much weight is completely clear, and completely do able.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Massachusetts
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    Default

    starting strength coach development program
    Just found this thread -- how is your son doing?

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