Rowan University, located in Glassboro, New Jersey, is the founding host of the Get FIT program. Established in 2008, Dr. Leslie Spencer partnered with the Family Resource Network to make this program come to life through a grant from the New Jersey Division of Disability Services. Get FIT @ Rowan served as the model and testing ground of the Get FIT Toolkit, a resource for any organization desiring to launch the Get FIT program for its community. Get FIT @ Rowan offers one-on-one personal training sessions to clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities, facilitated by trained Rowan student and staff volunteers. Since the establishment of the program, Get FIT @ Rowan has expanded to include a virtual program called Snack, Chat, and Chill, led by Rowan students under the direction of Rowan nutrition faculty member Dr. Dara Lobuono. Developed in response to the impact of the COVID pandemic, Snack, Chat & Chill supports participants to eat healthier foods, enjoy socializing with others and practice relaxation/meditation strategies to help reduce stress and anxiety. Meeting weekly for 8 weeks each fall and spring, Snack, Chat & Chill has been adopted by three additional colleges – Rutgers Camden University, Stockton University and Rowan College of South Jersey/Cumberland Campus.
The Get FIT @ Stockton program was established in 2013 in partnership with the Family Resource Network. Get FIT’s mission is to increase opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live a healthy lifestyle. The program’s focus is on the concept of staying active and healthy, decreasing the risk of secondary conditions, and promoting access to community wellness and fitness programs throughout the state of New Jersey. The initial program was funded by a grant Get FIT @Home 2.0 through DDS.
Get FIT @ Stockton is an interprofessional collaboration with the Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Nursing and Health Sciences programs. The community members come to campus two days per week for a 90-minute session. The program commences with nutritional education, administered principally by undergraduate nursing students. The nutritional education incorporates active games to engage the participants. The physical activity and exercise session follows the nutrition education with a group warm-up. Depending on weather conditions, the walking component is performed either inside or outside. When performed outside, the walk takes place around the quad of the residential area or the track. The walking warm-up is performed for ten to fifteen minutes. This group activity serves to prepare the body by increasing blood flow, increasing oxygen uptake, increasing aerobic endurance and psychologically preparing the participant for the evening’s exercise.
After walking, participants gather once again to perform static and dynamic stretches. The participants then choose the physical activity/exercise they want to perform from a variety of options, e.g., basketball, Zumba, strength training, calisthenics. All exercise is individualized to the participants needs and abilities and utilizes the principles of progression and overload. The PT and OT graduate students lead the exercise sessions and engage the undergraduate students in training each participant. The cool-down begins with a stretching session lead by the graduate students and often the participants choose a stretch to lead the group as well. This encourages everyone to be involved. The stretching includes static upper extremity and lower extremity movements. The static stretches are maintained for twenty seconds. After static stretching, the group progresses to dynamic movements such as jumping jacks and arm circles. The cool down is completed with a slow, deep breathing activity as the group forms a circle. It occurred in spring 2014. Get FIT @ Stockton has completed 9 years and continues as Stockton has been able to create a sustainable model.
Get FIT @Stockton has expanded to include additional populations using the interprofessional model led by the Nursing, OT and PT programs.
Get FIT for Stockton was a program that followed the same schedule as above and was specific for Stockton students with IDD.
Get FIT for ALL was funded by the Doug Flutie Foundation, a program for young adults (16-30 y.o.) with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) funded for 2016.
Get FIT Kids: Fitness, Fun, and Food – An internal grant from Stockton provided funding for a Saturday morning program for children (8-15 y.o.) with ASD and their caregivers. The two-hour program includes exercise, food preparation, nutritional education and group socialization and was coordinated by an interprofessional team from the OT, PT, Nursing and Communications Disorders programs. This internal grant was funded for the AY 2019-2020.
Get FIT Seniors – Internal grant funding from Stockton (2019-2020, 2021-2022, 2022-2023) for participants living in adult retirement communities to engage in a 90-minute nutrition education and physical activities. The program is coordinated by an interprofessional team from the OT, PT, and Nursing programs.