Participant KEEN Greater DC-Baltimore (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now)
Meet Tripp, a KEEN Greater DC-Baltimore participant
Tripp is a happy, intelligent, eleven-year-old boy. Tripp is also autistic. As a result, social interactions, as well as using some gross and fine motor skills, can be challenging.
Tripp has attended the KEEN Sports program in Rockville, MD for four years. In that time, he has strengthened his abilities, both socially and physically. Dad, Josh, shares, “We really see KEEN as an integral piece of an overall broader strategy of helping this child develop skills that he is going to need some day as an adult.”
Participation in the Sports program has helped reinforce social skills that Tripp is learning at school and therapy. In the beginning, Tripp tended to limit his interactions to his assigned volunteer coach. However, over time he opened up to socializing with many volunteers and athletes. Josh reports, “He is far more willing to interact with peers, which I see as a benefit of everything working together- school, KEEN, therapy. It all compliments and reinforces each other.”
KEEN has also helped Tripp improve his gross motor skills. He is more interested and willing to participate in sports-based activities, as a result of his participation in the program. He now has a basketball hoop in his room and garage. Recently, Tripp’s father took him paddle boarding over the summer. “I was shocked that he climbed down the ladder and got right on with me. Before KEEN I don’t think he ever would have tried something like that,” Josh recalls.
When asked to reflect on KEEN’s impact on his family, Josh shared, “When I think about KEEN, it is something that Tripp looks forward to every week. It gives his mother and I some time to do activities alone together.” And the best part is, “The kid just flat out has fun when he goes. When we drop him off he has a smile on his face and when we pick him up he has an even bigger smile on his face!”