Thursday, 4 December 2014

IEPs and Physical Activity

Does your child have an Individualised Education Plan (IEP)?

Is prescribed physical activity a part of that IEP?  Not just participation/attendance in gym class because often kids with unique and special needs are not fully integrated.  One aspect of integration is that the child is doing THE SAME THING as the their peers which is often not what is happening.

Integration in gym class may not be possible for your child.

Is your child in a regular stream classroom, but doing their own thing with the help of a full time Educational Assistant?
Why not have the student spend more time throughout the day being physically active.  Advocate to have it written in to their IEP.

Exercise has many more benefits for students in than being stuck in the back of a room with an EA not really participating.  While outside walking, or doing specific exercises EAs have the opportunity to talk with and work on task completion, following instructions, practice speaking (if language is an issue), hand eye coordination, balance, strength (stair climb, bar hang)....all of which can benefit the student's inclass experiences.

Parents need to advocate for more prescriptive exercise in their kids IEPs.

Any thoughts and ideas to add?


Monday, 1 December 2014

Help Us Build a Board

Help Us Build a Board of Directors

The Exercise IS Therapy Foundation is ready to move forward and we need some help.

We are looking for spirited, like minded, happy people to help us put our mandate in motion.  Yes...we are looking for individuals with specific skills in math (read ACCOUNTANT), curiosity (read as GRANT FINDER AND WRITER), a Chatty Charles or Cathy (read as SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT EXTRAORDINAIRE), and someone with a lot of connections (read as SHMOOZE MASTER).

You could be a parent of a kid with special needs, somebody interested in promoting physical literacy for kids with unique needs, or just that ingenious individual who like to make things happen.

Maybe we will meet a couple or few times a year. If we all get along we could meet more often!

The mandate of the EXercise IS Therapy Foundation is as follows:

  • develop, fund,and facilitate activities and programs to provide exercise therapy to children with unique and special needs

  • develop and present programs to educate families how to tap into their children's unique needs and facilitate a more active lifestyle for their uniquely abled kids

  • develop and present programs within school districts promoting the use of proactive exercise sessions as an alternative to being removed from the classroom for disruptive behaviours

But that is not all..the rest would be up to a collaborative discussion on how to access funding for unique initiatives for kids with unique and special needs.

Please contact me with your thoughts.

EXercise IS Therapy Foundation

Fundraising Items Perfect for Christmas

We have some gift certificates and snow goggles left over from our EXercise IS Therapy fundraiser and we would like to offer them up for bids on this site.  Please email us to express interest in these items:

Smith Vice Snow Goggles donated by Comor Sports:
VALUE: $140
MIN BID: $50

Innovative Fitness Gift Certificates (2) donated by Innovative Fitness Kits/Four Seasons/Abbotsford
**these certificates can be used at any location: Kitsilano, West Vancouver, Whiterock, Four Seasons, Abbotsford, Port Moody

Each Gift Certificate provides 1 consultation and 3 personal training sessions.

All money for these items will go to Canuck Place and 60 Minute Kids Club


Monday, 24 November 2014

Lookin For a Few Good Men and Women

My EXerciseISTherapy Foundation is in place...but it would like some help!

The mandate of the society is to:
  • develop, fund,and facilitate activities and programs to provide exercise therapy to children with unique and special needs
  • develop and present programs to educate families how to tap into their children's unique needs and facilitate a more active lifestyle for their uniquely abled kids
  • develop and present programs within school districts promoting the use of proactive exercise sessions as an alternative to being removed from the classroom for disruptive behaviours
Is this something that you can spare a small amount of time sharing ideas about, adding your perspective to somebody else's ideas?
Would you be interested in helping to find and apply to grants to access funding?
I am discovering that there is a lot to do to be even remotely successful!
If you feel you have something to offer a fledgling non-profit society and would like to become one of those people who were there "right from the beginning" we would love to hear from you!
Exercise IS Therapy Foundation

Don't Change Much....

OK!  Here I am sporting my new iPhone 6 I won from the good people at

I'm stoked!  I use my phone for work when I am on sessions with my clients taking pictures and most importantly I track our workout sessions using

I simply entered a contest on the Canadian Men's Health Foundation Facebook Page! I have been following the Don't Change Much people for a while.  Lets face is hard to be 20 and perfect when you are in your late 40's and just OK!  Don't Change Much should resonate with a HUGE portion Canadian men because it can provide some guidance for those that need it and some affirmation for those that are doing what they need to do to stay OK and be a little closer to GOOD.

Being OK is just a few steps away from being GOOD....and it doesn't take much.

Check them out here:

THANK YOU Don't Change Much!

EXercise IS Therapy Foundation

Saturday, 15 November 2014

How a little exercise can change things....

I met with a 12 year old client the other day...and man was he agitated/excited.  I learned that some of his flappy behaviour when he is mildly agitated become a little more aggressive!  He did not approve of the direction we were going in and kept wanting to stop and turn around.  Every minute or so he would ask to stop and turn around and when I got him walking in the non-preferred direction he would get more flappy and aggressive.

We just kept plugging along...until 25 minutes into our walk...and then I saw the shoulders relax and calmness overcome his body.  My friend was back.

We completed a 6 km walk exploring

a dike along the way.

I am not saying that the science of the walking/exercise had anything to do with settling him down.....I just think that, really deep down, we all know it did!


Saturday, 1 November 2014


If you have access to scholalry articles:

Exercise: a behavioral intervention to enhance brain health and plasticity


Extensive research on humans suggests that exercise could have benefits for overall health and cognitive function, particularly in later life. Recent studies using animal models have been directed towards understanding the neurobiological bases of these benefits. It is now clear that voluntary exercise can increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and other growth factors, stimulateneurogenesis, increase resistance to brain insult and improve learning and mental performance. Recently, high-density oligonucleotide microarray analysis has demonstrated that, in addition to increasing levels of BDNF, exercise mobilizes gene expression profiles that would be predicted to benefit brain plasticity processes. Thus, exercise could provide a simple means to maintain brain function and promote brain plasticity.


Sunday, 12 October 2014

ADHD: Is it a Disease?

Or just a description of attributes that ALL of us suffer from at times?


  • Difficulty paying attention to details and a tendency to make mistakes at school or other activities, producing work that is often messy and careless.
  • Easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli and frequently interrupting ongoing tasks to attend to trivial noises or events that are usually ignored by others.
  • Inability to sustain attention on tasks or activities..
  • Difficulty finishing schoolwork or paperwork or performing tasks that require concentration.
  • Procrastination.
  • Disorganized work habits.
  • Forgetfulness in daily activities.
  • Failure to complete tasks such as homework or chores.

Dr Bruce Perry recently described ADHD with this statement:
"It is best thought of as a description. If you look at how you end up with that label, it is remarkable because any of us at any given time would fit at least a couple of those criteria."

There is a lot of research out there that indicates exercise is a fabulous tool in the regulation of many of those listed 'symptoms'.

EXercise IS Therapy

Monday, 29 September 2014

Normal...typical...SN or not.

I have a friend that I have worked with for 2 years now.  The other day he and his sister were over for a visit and we went for a quick trip to a park.  He rode his bike with my other 10 year old friend (who is a master bike rider) and it was completely normal, typical, standard, not really that exciting, something that kids do.....

The difference here is that 11 months ago this boy screamed and yelled when he sat on a bike that I had modified by taking off the training wheels and pedals.

He can now ride with his peers.  That is a huge thing.

Exercise IS Therapy.


Thursday, 4 September 2014

September 18 Rock For Kids


he Exercise IS Therapy Foundation is presenting a fundraising event on September 18 at the Vancouver Fan Club in Vancouver.  The beneficiaries of the event are Canuck Place Children's Hospice and the 60 Minute Kids Club

​With 2 weeks to go before the night we would like to see tickets purchased for the event!

Warm Regards,

Malcolm Chrystal
Exercise IS Therapy Foundation

Monday, 1 September 2014

Early Bird Prize for Ticket Purchase!

Are you coming to our event at Vancouver Fan Club with Abandon Paris, The Jardines Band, and Franklins Dealers?

If you purchase your tickets BEFORE September 11 you will be entered in a draw to win a special prize basket that may include wine ( really does include wine).

Purchase your tickets here:

Exercise IS Therapy Foundation

Hiking Camp!! September 2-5

Exercise is therapy is pleased make available for the week of September 2 to September 5 Hiking Camp!
From 9 to 12 each day we will explore the local forest trails.

Please contact Malcolm at

EXercise IS Therapy Foundation

Super stoked to announce the formation of the EXercise IS Therapy Foundation!

The mandate of the society is to:

  • develop, fund,and facilitate activities and programs to provide exercise therapy to children with unique and special needs

  • develop and present programs to educate families how to tap into their children's unique needs and facilitate a more active lifestyle for their uniquely abled kids

  • develop and present programs within school districts promoting the use of proactive exercise sessions as an alternative to being removed from the classroom for disruptive behaviours
If you would like more information about the creation of our organisation please contact Malcolm at 

Exercise YOUR Therapy!

Purchase Your Tickets!

You can purchase your tickets online at the link above.

If attending the event is not your cup of tea then you can donate directly on the same page!

Visit our Facebook Page:

Please share!


Thursday, 21 August 2014

Purchase Your Tickets!

You can purchase your tickets online at the link above.

If attending the event is not your cup of tea then you can donate directly on the same page!

Visit our Facebook Page:

Please share!


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Getting a Shirt Off--The Elbow Hook

Do you a have a buddy that you work with that has a terrible time getting their shirt off when you are going for a swim?

It took me a little bit to figure it out for him but I discovered he has been missing the "elbow hook". 

The pulling of the neck or trying to pull the arm through first has been a source of stress for my friend until I taught him the elbow hook. 

Here is how it goes:
1. Reach across the front of the belly to grab the bottom of the shirt. 
2. Lift the bottom of the shirt over the opposite elbow. 
3. Now pull up with the elbow and hand together pulling the shirt over the head. 

Try it yourself thinking about the steps. You might find out it is EXACTLY what you do yourself!


Monday, 4 August 2014

Is Exercise a THERAPY or is it THERAPEUTIC?

Or is it both?

I am in a discussion with an Occupational Therapist who has concerns over the use of the words Exercise IS Therapy as the name of my organisation.

Fair enough.  In order to practice OTs and Physiotherapists belong to a provincially governed professional groups, or Colleges like other professionals (Physicians, Teachers).  Each group provides specialised treatments in the area that they were trained.

Kinesiologists are also trained in an area of specialised treatments.  In BC practicing Kinesiologists are encouraged to join the BC Association of Kinesiologists. Membership in this association allows practitioners to get access to liability insurance (that OTs, PTs, and MDs also carry).  In Ontario Kinesiologists have had the opportunity to create a provincially governed professional College of Kinesiologists.

So here are my questions:
Do you consider EXERCISE to be a therapy?
Should EXERCISE be a service that can be prescribed AND COVERED by extended benefit plans?

Please weigh in with a comment.

Event page and Facebook page!

Here are a couple of links:

Event page:  There is a banner at the top.  Click to see the event post and sponsor page.

Facebook page:

Come on by and take a peek!  Say hello on Facebook.

Tickets for the show are $25.  Details on purchasing coming soon!


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The First wave of Thank Yous!

Time for a quick thank you to the first set of Sponsors for our event:

Michael Leung of Pepper Wireless --> 2 HTC Desire C phones

Kris Schjelderup of Innovative Fitness Port Moody --> Gift certificate for Personal Training Sessions

Brian McGrath of Innovative Fitness Four Seasons --> Gift certificate for 1 consult and 3 PT sessions

Maggie from Sleep Country Canada --> 2 Sleep Country Gift Baskets

Dione Costanza of the ABA Support Network --> Beer and Chocolate Gift Basket

Ma Yuet of Origins Parkour and Athletic Facility --> 2 One Month Kids Classes Certificates

Scott Williamson of Inspired Networks Inc. --> TBA!!

Duncan Chrystal of Soulpaintings --> an original piece of art by Duncan

Thank you all!

Anyone who would like to get involved with our silent auction event please contact Malcolm Chrystal.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Mailing List: Exercise IS Therapy

Please take the time to sign up for the EXercise IS Therapy mail list.  On it I will share blog updates and event news that is happening with our programs.

Subscribe to the EXercise IS Therapy mailing list

* indicates required

Running and Kids With Autism...who would have thought?

From an article shared with me from a parent:

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Summer is under way.....

....and it is beautiful.

The best affirmation I have received in the last couple of weeks have been a note saying that their children have fallen asleep before they even got to bed....and then another picture of them dead to the world and snoring on the floor and the ottoman....

This is what has been happening at "Camp Malcolm":

Each day there has been warm up activity on the bikes, doing some workout stuff on the slacklines...

  • Canada Line, airport, sea bus Adventure Day
    • about 8 kms of walking
    • some 'learn to get on and off the escalator' work
    • just exploring places while exercising
  • 14 km bike day through Delta Forest Reserve trails Day
  • 6km Beach Trek from Jericho Park to Kitsilano Pool Day
    • end with a swim
  • Granville Island Explore and walk to Kits Pool (6km)
    • end with a swim
There is ALWAYS a plan, but it may NEVER be followed.  Sometimes it is important for the kids I work with to understand that change can happen and that we should always be able to handle change because might be more FUN!

Anybody want to join us on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?  Plans for adventures are dependant on who is participating!


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Looking for Support!

The (very soon to be registered) Exercise Is Therapy Foundation will be presenting a night of music in September to raise funds for Canuck Place Children's Hospice, 60Minute Kids Club, and Exercise Is Therapy Foundation.
Before we begin to advertise for the event we would like to gather interest for individual, family, business and corporate sponsorship.

If you would like to participate, or can refer anyone please do not hesitate to contact Malcolm Chrystal directly at

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The REAL reason why children fidget

A great post by TimberNook (

The REAL reason why children fidget

It is sad that we think there is something medically wrong if people fidget...well I guess there is...but the solution is movement, play, and exercise!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Origins Parkour and Athletic Facility - Fan -freakin'-tastic!

If you have not heard of Origins this:

I got to play there yesterday with a little buddy while his brother and friends enjoyed the run of the house for a birthday party lead by Alyssa Serpa.  The gym is outstanding!

My dream is to have a gym like this one day.  An outdoor/indoor facility with a variety of obstacles that will be able to challenge ALL levels of physical ability.  

If you think about it like this:  Origins gym is like a section of a library for physical literacy.  Physical literacy is the collection skills that enable a person to move, catch, throw, dance, jump, deke, zig and zag...with grace and fluidity.

Want to challenge your physical literacy?

Monday, 26 May 2014

Summer Camp for Kids with ASD

My colleague, Melanie Walker of and I are collaborating to create an effective, child centred summer camp for children in the Lower Mainland.  With a home base in Ladner, BC we are ready to offer day camp activities that will focus on the physical, emotional, and behavioural abilities of each participant.

Both Malcolm and Melanie have extensive experience working with children and young adults with ASD and would like to focus on reducing anxieties by promoting physical literacy and well being, cognitive processing of emotion and sensory issues, and successful experiences in daily excursions to the city and our fantastic green spaces in the Lower Mainland.
As we develop our program we welcome input from parents in the form of the following survey:
What I want in a Summer Camp for my Child with ASD

Warm Regards,
Malcolm and Melanie

Summer Camps and ASD

Please take the time to answer 4 questions about Summer Camps and ASD

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Collaboration Time

Looking forward to doing some collaboration with Melanie Walker of  Dynamics Discovered.  We crossed paths after many moons since high school graduation only to discover that we both work for the same school district, both do/have done foster care, and both work with children with autism and their families.

Stay tuned.  I think there might be some interesting stuff coming up!

A note about my client logs

The excerpt came from this particular clients session log.  I try and keep a running log of each session I do with my kids.  It enables me to track their progression.  Probably not enough to be considered DATA by a certain group of behaviour practitioners...but it is still a referenceable document!

Sometimes it is more in depth and other times not so much.


This was a good week!
This video shows one of my guys riding a bike...actually riding!  I had to look back and recall what I wrote about him when he first sat on his bike:

  • and then I mentioned something about the training wheels coming off...
    • ....... D was visibly upset about the prospect of the wheels coming off .......
    • together we ascertained that he was just scared...much talk about my job (keep him safe) and his job (to listen)
    • success in small measures:  D twice sat on the bike without the training wheels
      • will gradually get up to more

This progression took 8 months.  His bike came to me with training wheels and the first thing I did was take them off.  The next thing I did was take the cranks off.  Now we had a scooter and D could manage the balancing and gliding.  A little way through I put the cranks back on and he continued to glide mostly but was able to occasionally get his foot up on one to stop.

Then I got a text from another mum:
Hi Malcolm! Sports day today. K and I were noticing how much more confident and capable and willing to try new things J and L were this year and we think that has everything to do with YOU!
Thank you.
I sometimes wonder when and where we get to see improvements...this week we saw a couple of things happen.
Pretty happy with my guys!!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Some things we just take for granted

I had a great session with a boy the other day.  This was our fifth session.  Usually we have been limited to a power walk-with a little weight ball interspersed throughout the walk, a swing, a slide, some rock throwing...all in the vane of following directions, contingency statements (first this, than that) , and gaining trust.  Yesterday I opted to bring out the slack line and hop him on it at a really low height (15cm).


Jack it up to 75cm.  He has to climb up.  CR tries to step up but doesn't have the range of motion to lift his foot high enough to step up.  "knee first....knee first".  A little echoalia later CR is climbing up un-prompted.  cool.
CR is not too interested in getting onto the higher slack line so I asked him to jump down 'motorbike style'.  Hold hands and go!


Last time to climb up and try get two feet on the slackline.  Need a picture for Mum!


One last picture:  you jump down motorbike style.


It is a picture that made mum almost cry (because she has never seen him jump down).

Many of us take for granted the things we think that kids with special needs CAN'T do.  I just expect that any of my kids can learn to do almost ANYTHING.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Talk at Delta HUB

Thank you Dianne Canning of  Ladner Early Childhood Development Hub (ECD) and the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Coast BC

Despite some technological issues...we had a good discussion about the benefits of exercise and children's health!

Here is the link to my slides!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Its Always Better when Families Do It!

I work with a couple of boys on Sundays.  The sessions are neat because they are always changing and morphing into something new.  Sometimes it is the mums and little sisters doing what we do, sometimes it is the dads doing what we do.  Sometimes everyone is doing their own thing with all of the toys and slackline I set up.

I can't imagine a better situation where parents can model for their kids how to play.  I tell them that they had better do it now and get good at climbing and jumping over things before their kids get older and shun them at the playground.  No kid is going to send his mum or dad away as he is vaulting over playground equipment like a Secret Ninja Agent...he will be chasing to catch up to his friends who are playing follow the leader.

Fitness is a family game.  Fitness is a lifelong game that needs to be pursued...even as we are heading to our grave...I hope to running and jumping over something on the way.

EXercise IS Therapy

Sharing and Collaborating: Exercise Programs for School Districts?

I have created a google document and am sharing the link.  It is open to edit and comment.

The main idea behind the document is to create a discussion about proactive exercise for kids with behavioural issues in the classroom.  Can a program be created distric wide, or on a multi-district scope?

Feel free to add ideas, concerns, comments!  Try your best to highlight what you add.  better yet if you comment I will know who you are!

Share this link with others if you so wish!


Thursday, 16 January 2014

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Creating a Non-profit Organisation!

Exciting news in the world of .

We are in the process of becoming a Non-profit organisation!  The purpose behind creating an NPO is to be able to access funds and grants to fund:

  •  services for kids and adults who do not have access to (autism) funding
  •  create and fund a pilot project for a program in school districts that will focus on kids with neurobehavioural issues (autism, ADHD) and monitor any affect that an exercise regimine may have on behaviour and scholastic succes in school
  •  outreach programs for familes with kids with special needs focusing on wellness and activity

Have any ideas?  Want to be a supporter? Want to be involved?

Make contact!


Sunday, 12 January 2014

Creative Movement

Creative movement. 

I think this statement epitomises what I want for my clients:
Mindful movement. 
Safe movement. 
Ninja movement. 

This article is fantastic and I hope that everybody, whether you want to be a ninja or not will strive for control of their body and move with strength and grace. 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)

DCD, or developmental coordination disorder, has come up in my practice recently.  I am currently working with one individual with DCD and am hoping to begin work with another this month.

DCD is a condition that is symptomatically expressed by delayed developmental milestones, poor motor coordination (gross and fine motor skills), poor muscle tone, poor hand-eye coordination/motor planning.

There are no indicated causes of the disorder, however there is a high comorbidity with ADHD (or perhaps the other way around?).  As well current research is exploring cerebellar dysfunction as a root to the condition.

Treatment?  "Individualized, task-oriented approach which focuses on the direct teaching of functional skills that children need or want to perform".  As everyone's abilities and goals are different, individualised programs allow for each person to develop general and specific skills.