Since being hired by the school in December, Wilson has worked to highlight exercises students will be able to do for the rest of their lives.
“I was really excited and thought it would be a new adventure to start,” she said.
Before coming to Trousdale, she was a personal trainer at the Y, which also partners with the school for some events.
Wilson said she had never worked with special education students before, but she has worked with her husband’s brother, who has Down syndrome.
“I’ve been working with him a lot with his eating habits and fitness,” she said.
Trousdale is a resource designed for high functioning adults, 22 years of age or older, with intellectual disabilities to continue their education after high school.
To further Trousdale’s fitness efforts, the school received a donation of exercise equipment worth $15,000 donation from Lloyd Rogers of Wholesale Supply Group. A larger fitness area was created for the equipment by removing a wall and converting old office space. The offices had already been moved as part of Trousdale’s expansion last year.
The equipment is set up in a circuit training format.
“You go on each machine for a minute and then you switch to a new machine. Then when they are not on a machine they are doing a cardio activity, whether it is running or jogging in place or high knees,” Wilson said. “So you are getting your cardio as well as your strength training.”
Most students use the equipment two to three times a week. Students usually spend 30 to 45 minutes on the equipment. Those who are not a part of the school’s job program work with Wilson a little each day.
She has also worked to offer new activities to students such as yoga and kick boxing.
“It’s fun seeing the men. I didn’t think they would actually enjoy yoga, but when they get out there they are holding their body position and they are really working on balance,” Wilson said.
In an effort to encourage staying fit, she developed a calendar of exercises for students to do at home.
A pedometer has also been given to each student to count their steps throughout the day. Wilson said she keeps track of students’ steps on a chart.
She has tried to include some steps each student will enjoy.
“A lot of the women like yoga or pilates or dance, whereas a lot of the men enjoy basketball,” Wilson said.
She soon hopes to introduce the students to disc golf and gymnastics.
“These students are just like any other students. They enjoy activities and learning about nutrition and healthy eating habits,” Wilson said. “I want them to live a long, healthy life.”
Wilson said she enjoys the atmosphere at the school and working with the students.
In addition to teaching fitness, she helps with drama and teaches a reading class.