Kenny was diagnosed with high-functioning autism when he was 10 years old. He credits his family as being a great support, finding a program focused on social cognitive skills that Kenny utilized for over a decade to improve his social skills and strategies to combat stress and social overload.
However, while he was making strides in some areas, he was neglecting his physical health. He was a very picky eater—which is a common trait among people with autism—and neglecting his physical health led to him becoming morbidly obese. This not only affected his physical health, but also his mental health.
When Kenny and his family moved to Texas from California, they began looking for a program like what had worked for him in the past and came across Special Strong.
“I had never heard of physical training for people with special needs,” said Kenny’s father, Larry. “When we seriously started looking for support for Kenny, that’s when we found Special Strong, and I met with Daniel and learned about the wide array of capabilities his team has.”
Within the first year of Kenny’s training with Special Strong, his family noted an amazing transformation—both physically and mentally. Kenny’s attitude toward nutrition improved, and he became committed to learning from Daniel how to maximize each workout by better understanding his body.
With that physical transformation comes confidence. One of Kenny’s early goals was to get a job, which would have been a challenge for him at that time—socially as well as physically. Daniel stepped in, not only as a physical coach but also as a life coach, supporting Kenny by preparing him for job interviews and reviewing resumes. For the last year Kenny’s been working at Home Depot, lifting 80-pound bags of concrete and meeting all of the other physical and social demands of the job.
“None of that would have ever been achievable if not for Daniel’s program that helped train him to get both the strength and the physical side of things as well as the confidence,” said Larry.
Kenny has lost a total of 70 pounds and has put on 15-20 pounds of lean muscle. He’s now able to focus more on bulking up and can deadlift 135 pounds and leg press over 400 pounds.
“Consistency is important and seeing the progress over the years has been amazing. Not only have I overcome obesity and all the physical limitations I had, but also it’s further helping me mentally. I feel more confident.”
Daniel notes how much Kenny has opened up over time—initiating conversations, talking about wanting a girlfriend, and reaching major milestones including having his own home and achieving new levels of independence.
“He’s proud of the work that he’s put into his body and how he’s really made this transformation,” said Daniel. “He’s so proud when he looks in the mirror and I think that says a lot about his progress to be able to get to that point.”
Family and friends who have known Kenny since childhood have remarked on what a difference they’ve noticed in recent years.
“We’re Christian and one thing that really drew our attention to Daniel’s program was that he’s not shy about being Christian-based and using scriptures,” said Larry. “And there’s so much support that you get from that as well. Having that kind of reinforcement from our Lord in a program like this that’s clearly blessed is another aspect that drew us to it at first.”
“Faith produces good works and I feel like as I’ve gotten better physically and mentally, I’ve been able to do more good with other people and helping people with my job.”
When it comes to long-term goals, Kenny feels confident that continuing with the program will help him further develop his independence. He hopes that the next few years will lead to a career and the ability to provide for a wife or girlfriend in the future. He says it might be his biggest challenge yet, but he’s on the right path with the strength and faith to take on that responsibility.
“I wouldn’t be here on the right path without Special Strong. That’s for sure.”
If you would like to learn more about owning a rewarding Special Strong franchise, we encourage you to reach out to us today for more information.