2011: M.S.S. Sports Studies
For seven years, Thomas Moore dreamed of starting his own company that would teach sports and provide physical education to children who were autistic or had other special needs.
Moore finally realized that goal by recently starting APTO in Colchester, Vt. APTO, which is a Latin word that means to prepare, to make ready, to adjust and to adapt, provides individualized classes that are tailored to meet the children’s needs. It’s been found that physical activities help to develop coordination, language development, motor skills, social skills, sports skills, confidence and learning readiness that help the students improve in a variety of environments.
Moore says getting his master’s in sports studies in 2011 from the United States Sports Academy was a key to helping him get his longtime business idea off the ground.
“The sports education at the Academy fit perfectly for the idea I had,” says Moore, who has worked the past 12 years as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). “I was able to pursue my unique interests and it prepared me for APTO. I learned a lot about sports and coaching, as well as facility management and the business aspect.”
During his career, Moore has worked with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, PDD-NOS, Aspergers and other developmental disabilities. His experience includes one-on-one work, creative program development, consultation and training. He also has significant coaching experience through the Special Olympics and with typical children.
In addition, he has served individuals, groups and families in New York, Canada, Bermuda, Switzerland, Texas and Vermont. He has received training from leaders in the field of autism, including Dr. Stanley Greenspan, Dr. Harry Wachs, Dr. John McEachin and other leaders in the field of Verbal Behavior and Applied Behavior Analysis.
Moore has also worked collaboratively with various Speech Language Pathologists, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and leaders in the field of Pediatric Sports and Fitness Training, Visual Cognitive Therapy and Floortime.
Moore took time out from his hectic schedule to talk more with the Alumni Network about working with children with autism, developing APTO and his sports education at the Academy.
Alumni Network: How did you get interested in the idea of creating fun, motivating and individualized sports programs for children suffering from autism and other special needs?
Thomas Moore: During the course of my experience, I have been exposed to several treatment methods—visual cognitive development, sports and fitness and others. Each really fascinated me. I saw the value in each of them if applied with evidence-based practices. What I found during one-one-one work was that we would get amazing results in getting the kids up and active and using different sports equipment and doing different movement activities. For instance, throwing a ball back and forth. The results gave me chills. The kids would sing and laugh and just have so much fun. This led me to pursue my master’s at the Academy.
Alumni Network: How did your new company come about?
Thomas Moore: I have seven years’ worth of notes about this and how to go about it. I filled legal pad after legal pad with different activities that I developed. The wonderful thing about APTO is I do an assessment with the parents and children. We discuss what they want to target and then develop an innovative plan that helps that child with his needs. My ultimate goal is to have a facility where the children can come and we can teach these techniques and have a lot of innovative equipment that is out there that I can’t afford right now. I would also be able to do research. It would be great, too, to one day offer scholarships for youth.
Alumni Network: How did your Academy education help you?
Thomas Moore: The reason I love getting my master’s there so much is that it afforded me not only the opportunity to learn the sports side, but also to come away with the management side. Another aspect in my education experience that I enjoyed was the ability to tailor my own curriculum to my unique interests and select classes that would help prepare me for APTO. Also, I contacted each of my professors and told them what I wanted to do. They were very helpful in leading me to different resources and encouraging me.
If you would like to learn more about APTO or get involved, please contact Moore at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit APTO online at www.aptollc.com and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/APTO-LLC/487274924653271.