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Exercise in special needs individuals is down; this Dallas gym is working to change that

"He used to hit walls, furniture, the floor, himself," Jennifer said. "When he starts feeling that frustration, he's learning how to deal with it [now]."

For people with special needs, physical movement can be especially life-changing.

Government guidelines recommend that all adults, including those with disabilities, get at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate aerobic physical activity each week.

Numbers from the CDC show that's not happening. Of the 21 million Americans with a disability, half don't exercise and experts say that's jeopardizing their health.

Robert Hise is 17. Diagnosed with autism, he struggles with sensory issues.

"It is hard to see him struggle," said Jennifer Hise, Robert's mom. "I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to help him."

Jennifer discovered help thanks to Special Strong which offers fitness and nutrition programs for people with special needs.

Personal trainer Daniel Stein has more than 200 clients who have suffered strokes, some were paralyzed in accidents, others have cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis.

Stein is certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Federation of Personal Trainers. His 10 staff trainers all complete a certification designed to incorporate brain exercises through workouts.

"The way that I was learning to focus in the gym, I was finding that it was translating to other areas of my life," said Stein, who himself was diagnosed at ADHD at age 4.

"I was labeled as the troubled kid. I was constantly in in-school suspension," said Stein, 29, who discovered that sports helped him in a way that traditional medicine didn't. He founded Special Strong and is dedicated to helping others manage their diagnoses through exercise.

"It calms them down, makes them much less impulsive, able to make better decisions," Stein said.

Stein's approach has helped 46-year old Kathy Lamprecht.

"It has really helped with her balance and coordination," said Kathy's 80-year old mother, Joan Smiley. "She's gaining strength and she's gaining confidence."

Robert's mother, Jennifer, said she has also seen incredible improvements in her son's demeanor. She worried there would be nowhere to take him for help once he'd outgrown occupational therapy.

"He used to hit walls, furniture, the floor, himself," Jennifer said. "When he starts feeling that frustration, he's learning how to deal with it [now]."

Special Strong does in-home and on-site training. Stein develops individualized programs for each client.

To learn more about Special Strong: https://www.specialstrong.com