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David S. Geslak

David S. Geslak, BS, CSCS, ACSM-HFS

Autism Fitness Specialist & Founder

David is an autism fitness specialist and has been developing exercise programs for youth and adults with autism spectrum disorders since 2004. He serves as the Director and Founder of the Exercise Connection an internationally renowned autism fitness program.

David began his fitness career as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the University of Iowa Football Program. Here he learned the importance of individual physical assessments of which he implements on all individuals no matter, age, size or ability.

David was the co-founder of Right Fit—Sport Fitness Wellness, where he served as the President and Director of Training from 2004–2007. In 2008 he served as a paraprofessional at Giant Steps, a school for children with autism, and was eagerly hired to start their first Special Recreation Program of which he ran from 2009–2010. He has also worked as a Mental Health Technician for Hinsdale Hospital.

David has authored the Autism Fitness Handbook 1 & 2 and produced the EC DVD. He has lectured and hosted workshops across the globe, specifically, Barbados, Dubai and Cairo, Egypt.

David serves on the Board of Directors for the Autism Society of Illinois as the Treasurer. He is the Fitness Liaison for Autism One, as well as the Program Director for Dad’s Track and Dad’s Night Out. David is also the co-host of Outspoken with Karon Gibson, a TV Show in the Chicagoland area promoting health and wellness for all.

David has a Bachelors Degree from the University of Iowa in Health Promotion. He is a Certified Health Fitness Specialist with American College of Sports Medicine and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

David's mission is to educate and empower parents, educators and physicians to become leaders in health and fitness for individuals with autism and developmental disorders.

Letters of recommendation:

Sonya Ansari Center for Autism PDF
Clare Woods Academy and Cupertino Home PDF
Community Support Services PDF

Laura Fine

Laura Fine, BS, M.Ed, ISSA-CFT

Director of Training

Laura has been working with individuals with autism and developmental disabilities since 1994. In 2002, her professional career began where she has worked with students in 5th grade through adult day programs, developing functional curriculums and vocational programs to improve her student's confidence and foster their independence.

Laura's role as EC Director of Training is to bring group based & individual special needs exercise programs into communities. Laura works with organizations and schools to train staff about the structure of exercise and the supports needed to create a successful special needs fitness program.

Laura is also an Employment Specialist for the Northern Suburban Special Education District in Highland Park, IL. There she utilizes the Customized Employment philosophy to find jobs for young adults with developmental disabilities.

Laura earned her Masters Degree in Special Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Bachelors Degree in Special Education from Miami University. She is also a Certified Fitness Trainer with the International Sports and Sciences Association.

Laura's mission is to educate children, adults and families with special needs about the vitality of exercise and diet in their lives and lead them toward an independent physically active lifestyle.

Tim Stuhler

Tim Stuhler

Autism Fitness Instructor

Timothy has been working with children and adults with autism and developmental disabilities since 2006. He began working at Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization and has served in their school district as a physical education teacher assistant, permanent building substitute, classroom aide, and 1:1 aide for severe and profound special needs students. Timothy has also developed curriculum and implemented a successful summer school physical education program at The Miner School in Arlington Heights, IL.

Timothy has served fourteen years in the United States Air Force Reserves. He has been deployed to Iraq (2007) and, more recently, to Afghanistan. Timothy has recently won the Senior Non-Commissioner Officer Award of the Half for January-July 2012, serves as a Squad Leader in charge of 12 Airmen, and as a program manager for the elite Phoenix Raven Program.

Timothy’s goal is to value each individual and their training for a healthy lifestyle. He believes in promoting positive attitudes in individuals with autism and developmental disorders and instilling in them the belief that they can succeed. Timothy has a Bachelors Degree from the State University of New York at Brockport in Physical Education with a concentration in Sports Management. He more recently has completed an Elementary Teacher Certification Program at Trinity International University with an endorsement in Physical Education.

Laura Fine

Ashley Cordaro, M.Ed, NESTA

Autism Fitness Instructor

Ashley has been working with individuals with autism and special needs since 2009. As a paraprofessional for high school students at Lyons Township, she assisted with behavior management, data collection, IEP goals and inspired students to reach their physical, social and learning goals.

When working with one of her high school students who had autism and was overweight, Ashley was able to create a personal exercise program. Her program helped him lose weight and improved his behaviors and transitions. Since, she has made it a priority to have exercise in all of her lesson plans.

Ashley is a Special Education Inclusion Teacher with William E. Deyer Elementary School in Chicago. She has a Masters Degree in Special Education from Northeastern Illinois. Her Bachelors Degree is in Psychology with a minor in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

With the Exercise Connection, Ashley instructs group classes and does individual training for children and adults. She is a certified personal trainer with National Exercise and Sports Training Association.

Mary McCord

Mary McCord

Project Manager

Mary began her internship with the Exercise Connection (EC), in November 2011, and has been instrumental with inspiring growth to the Students Scholars for Autism Program, an EC sponsored event at the Autism One Conference. Mary has taken leads for group exercise development for Community Support Services (CSS) and is currently developing group programs for the 2011 Healthy Kids, Healthy Families Grant that was awarded to CSS on behalf of the EC Philosophy.

Mary is a Certified Nursing Assistant who graduated from Valparaiso University with a degree in Allied Health in 2011. Since 2008 Mary has served as the women’s assistant varsity volleyball and basketball coach for Westmont High School. Mary is currently pursing graduate course work in a health related field with her responsibilities at the EC.

Patrick Boland

Patrick Boland

Video Productions Internship

Patrick is a Junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, pursuing a degree in Agribusiness, Markets, and Management. He has two years experience working with the Big Ten Network in productions. Patrick is using his expertise in video and productions to edit and develop the Coach Dave show to be aired on The Autism Channel.

During high school Patrick participated in working in an adapted physical education class with students. He also volunteers as a Champaign-Urbana youth hockey coach.

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