David Geslak was asked to teach exercise to a boy with autism at his first personal training job. After successfully teaching the 9-year old to skip after four sessions, David was surprised at the parents reaction, “We had been trying to get him to skip for two years; thank you!” As a former student assistant strength coach for the University of Iowa Football Program, David never felt the same “making a difference” impact.
As word spread, David began working with more children on the spectrum, and continued to witness both physical and emotional breakthroughs. He soon learned that exercise not only impacts the health of those with autism but also improves their self-confidence, social skills, and calms unwanted behaviors. To follow his passion of helping the autism community, he entrenched himself at a school for children with autism, Giant Steps, and developed their first fitness program. To transform the lives of more children, adults, and families David started Exercise Connection in 2009.
David is now recognized as the pioneer for using exercise to improve the lives of those with autism. Nine universities have adopted his program into their Adapted Physical Education and Special Education Programs. He has become known for his dynamic presentations that he gives around the world, including, Egypt, Dubai, Barbados, Russia and Canada.
Exercise Connection (EC) has grown by adding staff with different skill sets and experience in special education. Recognizing the changing needs of their students, they created the first autism employment program that uses exercise as a core component. The autism and special needs communities have embraced the EC mission and are especially encouraged by the results. And for the families, exercise is unexpectedly bringing newfound hope and optimism.