Anderson Center for Autism opens a walking path with an official ribbon cutting on Thursday, May 22nd
In 2005 Anderson Center for Autism broke ground on its Staatsburg campus to build five new resident homes, a multi-functional village center, and remodeled what was once Malcolm Hall into an integrated business center. The eight-year overhaul and beautification process concluded late last year. Referred to as the 'Master Site Plan', the improvements continue with the official opening of Anderson's fitness trail. The ribbon cutting took place in front of Davis Cottage this past Thursday afternoon, May 22nd.
A long-awaited project, campus construction made a dream of Kathleen Marshall, Director of Children's Services at Anderson a reality. "With all of the new structures being built on campus, we were able to create an inner pathway where there would be no vehicles - just a safe place to provide more proactive support and opportunity for students to release some physical energy, reap the benefits of exercise, and a place in which they would be less likely to engage in physically challenging behaviors like aggression or self-injury. It's all about safety," says Marshall.
Marshall, along with a dedicated Alternative Tools and Supports Committee have been searching for new ways to improve the campus, offering more options to the individuals they serve to learn, grow and maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle. The fitness trail, a total distance of one mile, features signage along the way for users to engage in different pacing such as a slow 'turtle's' pace, a moderate 'raccoon's' pace, or a fast 'horse's' pace. "Fast-paced walking is timed at about 18 minutes on the trail and is a great way to get individuals who may be sedentary or reluctant to exercise, moving. Each pace serves as a new goal, and students are able to learn the benefits of the exercise they are engaging in by having options," adds Marshall. Additionally, the trail is lined with five distinctive fitness stations. Should you become bored with walking, or running, the stations each offer a spinner depicting exercises with the use of picture icons. The imagery provides students the ability to understand the exercise, and encourage choosing-power.
Involved in an industry that revolves around constant growth and change, Marshall does not foresee a stop to recreational improvements to the campus. Made up of Anderson Board Members, residential coordinators and individuals from Operations, Marshall and the Alternative Tools and Supports Committee have also been working alongside Anderson's Grants Committee in actively searching for the necessary funds to eventually incorporate large-scale outdoor physical equipment, musical equipment, and a dedicated bike path. The Grants Committee provided some of the start-up dollars for the fitness trail.
"This endeavor has been a group effort, just like everything here at Anderson. This is really the foundation for future opportunities for the individuals we serve to gain exercise and wellness benefits right here on campus. Any time that a staff member or student needs to get outside; they can do so on this path. It's an added benefit to everyone," says Marshall.
To learn more, call 845-889-4034, visit www.AndersonCenterForAutism.org or like them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AndersonCenterforAutism for news and updates.
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About Anderson Center for Autism
Anderson Center for Autism is New York's premier autism treatment and care center. It is a not-for-profit organization located in picturesque Staatsburg, N.Y., dedicated to providing the highest quality programs possible for both children and adults with autism. It employs nearly 800 specialists who are expertly trained to diagnose, treat, and care for adults and children on the autism spectrum.