Abilis’ Special Needs Clients Are Exercising in an Online Fitness Program That Schools Might Use

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Abilis, which provides services to individuals with special needs and their families, is working with an online wellness company to study the fitness levels of 100 Abilis community members.

— an announcement from Abilis

The study involves 100 Abilis community members, all with varying abilities, who have free access to programs provided by the online company, HomeField.

By tracking metrics and capturing feedback during the study, Abilis and HomeField intend to demonstrate the effectiveness of HomeField programs and implement them throughout Connecticut.

Participants will be monitored and measured to gauge improvements in range of motion, levels of independence, overall mood, self-stimulatory behaviors, time-on-task, levels of individual and caregiver confidence, weight loss and BMI calculations.

HomeField video on YouTube

Image from a HomeField video, “Ants in Your Pants,” with Coach Billy.

“Abilis community members have been participating in HomeField’s programs for a while now, both in live classes and every day online,” said Amy Montimurro, CEO and president of Abilis.

“HomeField’s live classes are taped for playback and feature many of our Abilis members; it is rewarding and fun to see them be active and have fun as they star in the fitness videos!” Montimurro said.

HomeField provides a range of fitness and activity classes, all online and designed to be accessible for all abilities and skill levels. Classes include general fitness, dance, yoga and martial arts, with new workouts every week.

“Everyone loves seeing themselves up on the big screen and are empowered knowing that their dedication to physical fitness is inspiring others,” Montimurro said.

There are more than 200 on-demand virtual classes available, each five to 45 minutes long. Participants will soon be able to earn rewards as they move toward their goals.

“By participating in this specific study with HomeField, we are taking our commitment to optimal health and physical fitness even further by demonstrating and documenting the real, tangible benefits of these programs” Montimurro said. “We are excited to see what the study reveals.”

HomeField’s platform aligns with the state government’s health goals for special needs providers and K-12 schools. HomeField classes are listed on Abilis’s activities calendar.

In addition to Abilis, Special Olympics Connecticut also uses HomeField.

“Our goal now is to reach as many people as possible and make health and wellness accessible to everyone,” said Daniel Caridi, co-founder of the program.

“We started this program offering volunteer fitness classes for individuals with special needs,” he said. “When COVID hit, we recognized a great opportunity to move online. Classes quickly grew in size and popularity.”

Abilis is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that supports more than 800 individuals with disabilities and their families in Fairfield County, from birth through the senior years.

Founded in 1951, Abilis provides support to the community in Fairfield County, Connecticut, in towns including Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport and Wilton.

HomeField aims to create fun and meaningful experiences that inspire inclusion and build trust. With trained coaches, live classes and a community of like-minded partners, HomeField has an on-demand library with more than 200+ workouts available anywhere and anytime. From dance to martial arts, yoga and meditation, there is a class for everyone. Daily livestreams are also available with live classes.

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