Clarendon Hills girl finds good fit with Right-Fit program
Before discovering Right-Fit of Willowbrook, Theresa McClear had worked with several area groups to get help for her autistic daughter.
“She’s been involved in a lot of organizations in the area, including special needs organizations, and a lot of them have said that Courtney is a challenge, or not the right fit, or we can’t manage her behavior and denied her the ability to participate in many activities,” McClear said.
“So, Courtney brought home this pamphlet from Right-Fit one day from school, and I called and I said, ‘My daughter does this, this and this and we don’t know if you’re going to want her in your program.’”
Right-Fit welcomed the McClears in. And McClear said her daughter has fit in well with their program.
“She gravitates towards it and she’s calmer and happier after she’s done her program,” McClear said.
So McClear, her daughter Courtney, 12, and the rest of her Clarendon Hills family will take part in the Eighth Annual Run the Ridge 5K and Kids’ Dash, happening Saturday morning, June 23 in Burr Ridge. The Run the Ridge 5K Run/Walk is organized by Right-Fit. The money raised from the registration fee, as well as any other money donated, benefits Turning Pointe Autism Foundation.
“I like to support organizations that support individuals with special needs,” McClear said. “And Courtney has done so well at both Right-Fit and Turning Pointe.”
In years past, the money raised from Run the Ridge has benefited Ray Graham and Associates, an organization designed to help individuals with disabilities; Loyola Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Burr Ridge; service dog organizations and others. This year’s race benefactor, Turning Pointe, located in Naperville, is a school that also offers career-development, fitness classes and family support for those with autism.
“We started with probably a mere 70 participants in our first year, and with the support backing of the mayor and the village, we’re hoping for 600 participants this year,” said Suzanne Gray, race organizer and Right-Fit owner. “This a great way to help do good in the community.”
Courtney McClear attends classes at both Turning Pointe and Right-Fit.
“My daughter Courtney has a form of non-verbal autism,” Theresa McClear said. “She takes classes at Turning Pointe as well as at Right-Fit because they have fitness classes geared towards individuals with autism.”
Courtney McClear has taken classes at Right-Fit for a year and a half, and at Turning Pointe for the last six months.
“A lot of Courtney’s behaviors and frustrations come from the fact that she can’t talk, and Turning Pointe has done an excellent job in helping her learn to communicate,” her mother said. “When we first visited the school, Courtney was able to type out with a letter scroll with one finger, ‘Hi Mom, I’m fine’. Before that, she hadn’t been able to communicate with me or with anyone for over six years.
“So, Turning Pointe knows that there’s a lot inside of Courtney and they have some very innovative techniques that are able to help bring out the best in her and all of the children there.”
Run the Ridge beings at 8 a.m. June 23 at the Burr Ridge County Line Road shopping area. Registration is accepted up through the morning of the race. Gray recommends getting there at 7 a.m. to register the day of the event. To register ahead of time, call Right-Fit at (630) 850-4050.
Registration is $50 and free T-shirts will be given to the first 500 participants. More than 300 people have already registered for the race.
In addition to the 5K and the Kids’ Dash on Saturday, there will be family activities, including balloon art, face painting and a “moon jump” obstacle course. There will be a demonstration by Dayna Huor, a teenage extreme martial artist, and Andrew Fanfara, light-heavy weight champion, will sign autographs. Family activities run from 9-11 a.m.
“I always tell people this isn’t just a race. This is an event. This is a family-fitness event,” Gray said. “There’s something for everyone.”