Exploring Glenwood’s Campus and Its Benefits

Written By: Caleb Larue, Glenwood Recreational Coordinator 

Exercise and eating right can be a struggle for many. It should be no surprise that for people with autism or other disabilities, exercise can be a challenge. The unfortunate reality is the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle are often multiplied for people with disabilities. Finding the motivation to get up and get moving is difficult. It can be even more of a challenge for individuals who may not possibly understand the health risk that comes with inactivity.  

Glenwood has a beautiful, 364-acre main campus that includes lakes and wooded areas. The campus provides ample opportunities for movement and exercise. Over the past few years, 3.5 miles of hiking trails have been developed on the Sicard Hollow campus. These paths offer a wide range of opportunities for all different skill levels. It’s now possible to take an entire class from Allan Cott School out on a hike. Many of the children Glenwood serves love these walks.  For them, the hikes often involve a bus ride (another favorite activity) into the forest. They experience a sense of freedom along a trail with the soft sensory stimulation of wind or birds in the trees. Alabama offers beautiful flowers, spongy grass, and chirping birds. This sensory experience is both free and immensely rewarding for the community served by the organization. 

Another favorite activity on campus happens on the waterfront of Turkey Foot Lake.  Paddleboats and canoes provide simple joy and freedom of floating on the water. Kids, teens and adults up to their 50s enjoy coasting around the lake.  

In the summer, the pool is open. You may remember when you were a child, and the pool felt like floating in space. For neurodivergent populations, the opportunity to swim and move freely, seemingly unencumbered by gravity, can be an amazing feeling.  

For kids who love sports and wide places to run on rainy days, Glenwood has a gym. Basketball, indoor sports, scooters and parachutes provide something fun for everyone. One of the most anticipated activities is the bounce castle. The castle is fantastic for gross motor function. It can strengthen core muscle groups in a way that is entirely natural and fun. When the weather is good, it’s time for adult-sized tricycles. Bikes are fun for all ages!