Travis Grover, Heartspring’s adapted physical education teacher, collaborated in a research study with Wichita State University professors Ken Pitetti, and Andrew Rendoff, and Oregon State University professor Michael Beets. The study, The Efficacy of a 9-Month Treadmill Walking Program on the Exercise Capacity and Weight Reduction for Adolescents with Severe Autism, was published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, July 2007 issue.
This study evaluated the efficacy of a 9-month treadmill walking program on exercise capacity and body mass index (BMI) for adolescents with severe autism. Ten students at the Heartspring School were assigned to either a supplemental treadmill walking or control group. Both groups continued to participate in their regular physical education curriculum. The program resulted in significant increases in mean monthly treadmill walking frequency, speed, elevation, and calories expended coupled with a reduction in BMI.