It’s a condition that’s often misunderstood — but a local program is making a positive impact on children with autism.
The program is a partnership between CrossFit Hawaii Town Fitness, the Hawaii Chapters of Easter Seals and Talk about Curing Autism. They all have one goal: to get the kids moving and to boost their confidence.
Ian Ajimine, owner and head coach of CrossFit Hawaii Town Fitness, has a personal connection to autism.
“My cousin is autistic, so I grew up seeing my auntie and uncle raise him,” said Ajimine. “He didn’t have a whole lot of things that he could do so I wanted to give a place, use my gym, my resources, my talents to give back and help these kids run around and get fit.”
The natural thing for him to do was to start a program to benefit local children and families.
He partnered with Easter Seals Hawaii and Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) — and together they came up with a plan.
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“It just so happened Ian is very giving and reached out to our organization TACA and to Easter Seals and said, I want to do this amazing thing and we’re like, oh my gosh this is so exciting,” said Kiele Pennington, a parent of an autistic child.
TACA supports 900 families in Hawaii who are dealing with autism, a developmental disorder usually diagnosed in children between 18 months and two years.
Pennington says it’s one that has a very broad spectrum — from low-level to higher-level functioning.
“Each one of these kiddos has a