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Fresh Air Self Care FOR ALL
A Pilot Project of Kennett Outdoors and Chester County Department of Mental Health and Intellectual / Developmental Disabilities (MHIDD)

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Our Overall Goals

  • Our Vision: Better health and quality of life for youths and adults with Intellectual / Developmental Disabilities (IDD). This includes people with related conditions, like Autism Spectrum Disorders.

  • Our Specific Goals: We want everyone to hike weekly for fun at least one hour. We hope that many aim for health and well-being by adding 10-30 minutes of walking daily either via natural trails, active transportation, or other activities

  • Our Methods: We offer information, training, and support to caregivers & professionals to extend Chester County’s Fresh Air Self Care to help people with IDD find paths and trails that match their interests and abilities.

Our Training Options
Our modules tailor the information, training and support that you need to meet your specific goals​.

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Stories and Research Module (Self-directed): Want to explore the need and the potential of walking paths and trails? Read more.

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Walking Every Week Module (Virtual): Want to plan and implement weekly walks for fun? Read more.

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Walking Everywhere Module (In-Person): Looking to walk more often, with more challenging individuals, on more difficult trails, all year long? Read more.

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Individualized Coaching (In-Person): Looking for more individualized support after completing the training? Read more.

Explore the need and the potential of walking paths and trails through our Stories and Research Modules on your own

Start with our 10  minute Stories Module and Research Module. We describe the barriers people with IDD face in accessing outdoor activities for fitness, fun, adventure, and connection. We also review some of the research on negative health outcomes associated with disability.  And we draw on our own experience helping Margot to enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, and skiing to illustrate the many potential benefits.  Review these modules by clicking on the links below. 

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People with IDD have few chances to connect with others through outdoor adventures. Margot came to love biking, kayaking, skiing, and especially hiking. Walking opened new doors into work and active transportation. Read our story here

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Research shows that people with IDD are in much poorer health and often disconnected from their community, at great cost to parents and to society.  But there are effective practices to build good walking routines. Read the research here

Stories and Research Module

Want to complete one hour walks for fun? Sign up to complete our virtual Walking Every Week Module

If you are confident that your child, student, or client with IDD can already walk comfortably for 20 minutes, then you may only need general guidance. Sign up for our 90 minute Walking Every Week Module on how to find Paths and Trails for Fun, and to Build Basic Routines to get started on paths and trails near you.

 

Click here to fill out a form to be notified by email when these presentations become available, to sign up for a virtual presentation, or to invite us to present one of a limited number of in-person presentations at your school or facility free of charge.

Paths and Trails for Fun

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We describe the range of paths and trails, and how the effort required can help identify your hiker's comfort zone. We review sites for finding the best options near you.

Building Basic Routines

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We describe the benefits of a regular regimen of hikes, and options to ensure your hiker stays comfortable, especially as you plan longer hikes.

Walking Every Week Module

Want to walk more often for health and well-being, or with someone facing greater cognitive, behavioral, or physical challenges? Sign up to complete one of our in-person Walking Everywhere Workshops

If your goal is to build a more intense walking routine to improve fitness and quality of life, especially for a child, student, or client with IDD who cannot walk comfortably for at least 20 minutes either due to mobility or behavioral barriers, join one of our 3 hour Walking Everywhere Workshop. In addition to the information in our Walking Everywhere Module, we will help to you assess your hiker's current behavior, barriers, and opportunities. Our goal is to Build Resilient Routines (e.g., a more intense and individualized plan and schedule adjusted to your hiker's specific abilities and interests) to use Paths and Trails for Health by creating a "daily movement diet" that includes a longer weekly walk, shorter walks 2-3 times per week, and opportunities each day to move outdoors.

Click here to fill out a form to receive e-mails regarding upcoming virtual presentations, or to invite us to present one of a limited number of in-person workshops at your school or facility free of charge. 

Paths and Trails for Health

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We describe how to set goals based on  the stress that a trail can create depending on your hiker's abilities and interests and, how to find the best options for your hie.

Building Resilient Routines

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We describe how to plan for daily walking all year round, by considering other opportunities for exercise, active transportation, and other outdoor activities. 

Walking Everywhere Module
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Looking for more individualized planning and support? Add a coach  

We understand just how difficult it can sometimes be to introduce new activities and routines, especially for those with more complex needs and more challenging behaviors. This is especially true for professionals responsible for planning outings for groups with diverse interests and abilities. That is why we are delighted to provide coaching through a partnership with NCHPAD and the YMCA of the Greater Brandywine Valley. Talk with us once you have completed the Walking Everywhere Module about the individualized coaching that you may need as a parent or professional for those with more complex support needs.  

Coaching

Our partners

This innovative program of training developed by Kennett Outdoors would not be possible without the key partners listed below. 

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Chester County: This is an extension of the County's Fresh Air Self Care initiative.  The Dept. of Mental Health/ Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities actively promotes the initiatives among providers of services.

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YMCA: The Adaptive Programs Department of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine Valley provides behavioral / recreation specialists to act as grant-funded coaches, as well acting as the fiduciary agency for NCHPAD grant.

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NCHPAD: The National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability Disability at the University of Alabama provides funding for coaches through its Accelerating Disability Inclusion program.

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