Read About Our Innovative Health and Wellness Program!


Health Challenges Faced by People with Developmental Disabilities

Health & Wellness Program
Increasing awareness of healthy living, making a sustainable lifestyle change. Our vision includes:

1. A fitness center available to all of our clients

2. Providing personal trainers to educate clients with machines and safe exercises

3. Offering nutrition experts to educate clients on nutrition options and create personalized menus

Adults with developmental disabilities are more likely to lead sedentary lifestyles, and seven times as likely to report inadequate emotional support, compared to adults without disabilities. They also show similar rates of tobacco use, and overweight/obesity leading to
greater risk of chronic health conditions.

With personal trainers, we have developed and video taped a fitness plan for our agency clients that they can practice anytime with their
support staff. With the support of nutritionists, clients are able to design a healthy diet of foods that they enjoy eating.

Our goal is to create a positive attitude towards health, exercise, and nutrition. We find exercise regimens that clients like and are able to complete regularly, some prefer the calming effects of yoga, some lift weights, and others study dance.

Our clients establish achievable goals and are supported to gain skills and knowledge about exercising and eating nutritious food.

DATA: A large portion of people who are in bad health end up with a disability, and a large portions
of people who are disabled end up with bad health.

People with disabilities do not often qualify for existing health promotion programs because of the many barriers to participation (Heller, 2004). They account for only 17% of the non-institutionalized population but constitute 47% of total medical expenditures.

Domains of Healthy Behavior include: Stress management, smoking cessation, proper medical utilization good sleep habits, good hygiene, empowerment/self determination, spirituality, accessing good medical care.

Nutrition and Food Skills Education for Adults with Developmental Disabilities (2011) Findings: Seven major themes emerge: poor eating habits, safety concerns, low transferable skills, social relationships, staff training needs, resource needs, and limited funding. However, many individuals show a strong interest in and need for nutrition education and food skill programs.

Goals: Increased muscle mass, diabetes control, decreased depressive episodes and mood improvement, lower blood pressure, increased heart health and enjoy a longer life.

Heller, T. P. (2004, April). Exercise and Nutrition Health Education for Adults with Developmental Disabilities. Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with Developmental Disabilities, Department of Disability and Human Development.

Our knowledge of nutrition and disabilities is limited.

However, we do know the ramifications of medication usage on people with disabilities:
– Altered metabolic processes
– Varied modes of eating (e.g., soft diet)
– Medication interactions between disability and for other health-related conditions (e.g., hypertension)

Nutrition Experts to Assist with a Healthy Diet

Through our partnership with Bastyr University, interns offer an educational experience available to all clients.

Nutritional Experts assist with:
– Medication and diet interaction
– Information on healthy food
– Guidance and support though education
– Meal planning, and food preparation
– Decrease snacking on junk foods
– All while keeping budget in mind

Physical activity levels among persons with disabilities is strikingly low!

They have lower rates of cardiovascular endurance, strength, flexibility, balance, pulmonary function, and lower general physical activity.

So far we have been able to:

1. Remodel an old storage locker room into a fitness center
> Clients are able to use the adapted fitness center 24/7 under supervision

2. Have new equipment donated through partnerships with local organizations
> Equipment is safe and tailored for our needs

3. Have personal trainers educate clients on machines, and safe exercises
> Partnership with Seattle U offers clients the opportunity to work with a Fitness Intern.

Spotlight on Clients!

LISA: Always has two tickets to the gun show!

Lisa has achieved remarkable changes over the past year by losing 100 pounds! It started with her beginning to eat healthy, and then increase her physical activity from being completely sedentary to exercising at least twice a week! Lisa is particularly interested in
lifting weights, and loves to flex after a good workout to show off her newfound biceps.

MARTHA: Yoga Extraordinaire

Martha loves to stretch! She used to attend yoga classes, and now is able to stretch and do yoga in the comfort of her own apartment. She has her own pink yoga mat, and is very talented when showing off her flexibility. On days when Martha is particular tight, she utilizes the hot tub in her apartment complex to go stretch and loosen up her muscles, while also relaxing her body.

SEAN: The Speed Walking Expert

Sean is a speed Demon! He takes advantage of the sunshine during the summer, and loves to walk outdoors, whether on a track, road, or on a quiet suburban trail. He enjoys utilizing his walk time to think and clear his mind from daily stressors. Increasing his physical
activity has also increased his awareness of healthy food, and what he puts in his body. He has recently started to buy more fruit and vegetables on his own, without staff help.