Empowered Sports & Fitness: Helping Toddlers Develop Essential Skills

Empowered Sports & Fitness — an Upper West Side company catering to the needs of neurodiverse athletes — will soon offer group sessions for little ones (ages 0-4) at its studio at 117 West 72nd Street. These sessions will be open to both neurodiverse and neurotypical toddlers. Empowered Sports & Fitness is also experienced in adult sessions and has an extensive class schedule; read more here.

Company founder and native Upper West Sider, Michael Shipper, has been working with special needs athletes for about 15 years, and this has always included young children. But until now, his sessions with toddlers have been conducted on an individual basis.

Expanding into group classes means helping little ones develop social and emotional strengths through positive peer interactions as early on as possible (whereas most other companies focus strictly on developing physical skills).

Group sessions are based on three core components: movement through play, cognitive development, and emotional and adaptive growth.

Each “semester” is 10 weeks long, and athletes are placed into age-appropriate groups:

0-6 month-old classes focus on a sensory diet of stimulating objects, sounds, and movements. Parents and caretakers (who are invited to sit in) will learn how to play with their little ones while specifically assisting the improvement of attention, arousal, and adaptive responses.

6-12 month-olds can expect to be moving, playing, and having a ton of fun! Babies will explore music and dancing, textures, toys, and other physical challenges with the use of equipment. Additionally, we will be helping to create a routine in your little one’s day.

1-2 year olds will learn and grow through movement and exploration. We will utilize equipment such as balls, crawl tunnels, and weighted objects to help strengthen their upper and lower bodies as well as their cores. Throughout this period, we begin to build on social and emotional skills with friends in the class.

And at 3-4 years old, you can expect your toddler to explore a variety of movement games and sports that are physical in nature, require problem solving and team work by following rules/directions, and communication. These activities will help build strength and stamina as well as cognitive skills such as memory, patterns, and identifying numbers and colors. This class is meant to prepare your toddler for the next steps by having an effective impact.

These group classes will launch in July, and pricing is $450 per 10-week semester. Individual sessions will also be available for $50 each.

There will be two morning programs (9am-9:45m and 10am-10:45am) and one in the afternoon (1:30-2:15pm).

Also, starting April 12, Empowered Sports & Fitness will partner with Mind Body Music to offer music classes to families; learn more about that here.

To learn more about Empowered Sports & Fitness’ toddler groups, click here.

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