How Can I Help a Special Needs Client?

Imagine this: a client walks into your facility to sit down for a consult. After some great conversation, you learn that she has cerebral palsy. In spite of that, she is rearing to get going as she heard you were the best coach around by her best friend. This bff happens to also be a seed client at your gym.

What do you do?

First, read through this article about understanding your Scope of Practice.

After that, if you feel comfortable proceeding to train this client, be honest with her. What is your experience in working with this special population? If none, why should she trust you with her health and wellness?

How will you both know if things are working? What about if they’re not working – how will you know?

If you simply don’t feel equipped to train her, be honest about that too. Does that mean you’ll miss out on this new client? Possibly. The best thing you can do is refer her to exactly who you know will take great care of her. I’d even go a step further and make a personal introduction.

But if the notion of missing out on this client doesn’t sit well with you, here’s what I’d do: find THE best person in town to help her. Call them up and give them the scoop. Then park your pride and ask: “Look, I realize that this is beyond my education and experience right now, but I’d love to learn how to best help someone like this in the future. Would it be ok if I shadowed your sessions with this client?” Any coach worth their salt would JUMP at the chance to pass along some education to another fellow professional.

Having no ego to go along with a growth mindset is a great recipe for a long lasting career in being a World-Class fitness coach.

Have you worked with any special needs populations? We’d love to hear about your experience!

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