TRAINER DISCOvERS PASSION DESIGNING PROGRAMS FOR AutIStIC KIDS
IT WAS a fortuitous day when personal trainer Luke Hallam met Mia Brandis in 2010.
For the then eight-year-old from Floreat, who has autism and anxiety, regular training sessions with Luke at Revo Fitness in Shenton Park helped her build the confidence and social skills to return to primary school.
In turn, Luke (25) discovered a career-defining passion for designing exercise programs for children on the autism spectrum, which culminated in his founding the Paddle4Autism charity last year.
Mia’s mother Heidi Brandis nominated Luke as an Emerging Leader in the Disability Support Awards to be announced on March 28.
“In addition to the obvious physical benefits, training with Luke has given Mia endless coaching in oneto-one social interaction skills,” the Northern Suburbs Autism Mums Group co-ordinator said.
“His gentle and humorous approach has had a fantastic effect on Mia for which we are very grateful.
“Luke is currently doing individual training with seven children on the autism spectrum in addition to his adult clients.
“I hope this number continues to grow over coming years as he is a gift to the autism community and our families,” she said.
Luke said he and his Paddle4Autism team were in training for their second annual Molokai to Oahu Paddle Board Race in Hawaii in July.
“It’s a pretty gruelling 52km race, so if we just beat our 2014 time of 6 hours 40, then I’ll be pretty happy,” the John XXII College graduate said.
“We’re also trying to raise $20,000 for Autism Awareness Australia – double what we raised for the Autism Association of WA last year.
“The money will be going specifically to setting up surfing days for kids with autism all over Australia,” he said.
Mia Brandis (13), who is autistic, trains with Luke Hallam.