Sweatbox Gym offers program for kids living with autism

April is Parkinson's Disease and Autism Awareness Month. The Sweatbox Gym in Terre Haute is helping people living with both get stronger.

Posted: Apr 12, 2019 10:35 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A Wabash Valley boxer turned coach is getting people of all ages in the ring.

April is Parkinson's Disease and Autism Awareness Month. The Sweatbox Gym in Terre Haute is helping people living with both get stronger.

James Porter is a former boxer and now coaches others. He explains the gym offers a program called Let’s Go Boxing. It is for children with autism. There is also a Rock Steady program for people battling Parkinson’s disease.

17-year-old Jack Herrmann lives with autism. He takes the Let’s Go Boxing class.

Jack says, "I box every Wednesday and I fight with Emma and Andrew."

Porter says, "We might actually do 30-second rounds. We might do one minute rounds. We have to judge to see how the children feel today and see what we're going to do because we're working, communicating with them. We don't want to push or pull them too much but we want to guide them in the right direction."

The Autism Research Institute says exercise helps decrease negative behaviors in people with autism. Exercise can reduce stress and improve sleep, reaction time and memory.

Porter says he has found his purpose helping anyone who enters the gym.

"To believe in yourself and never put a title on yourself, to know that you can be anything in the world if you put your mind to it and what you have is what God has given you and that is great and that you're made perfect from day one."

Jack says this class is "a good one" and other kids like him should try it. He shared what he's learned.

"Say never give up!"

For more information about the Sweatbox Gym, click here.

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