Name : Michelle Pinto
Title/ Occupation: Owner and CEO
Can you describe (briefly) what your company does?
- Invictus Gymnastics and Therapy (IG&T) is a gymnasium for neurodiverse individuals. We focus on Mindfulness, Agility, and Perseverance (M.A.P.). Our job is to help individuals grow in mind and body. Our gymnastics services provide a fun, safe, and encouraging environment for all. We focus on gymnastics, social skills, understanding emotions, language development, and so much more.
What does a day in your work life look like?
- Each day consists of being mindful of each moment, while progressing in our physical movements and understanding our emotions. We do gymnastics and learn how our bodies work and function.
What is your background?
- I have a MS in Psychology, Mental Health Counseling and have been coaching gymnastics for over 15 years. Currently I am expanding my knowledge of health and human performance by completing my PhD.
What brought you to get into this field?
- After several years of providing therapeutic services, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA) along with other therapies, I found that my passion for gymnastics seemed to keep progressing. There is a great need for extracurricular activities and support for neurodiverse individuals, which is why I created my own gymnasium for any and all children.
What does doing your job mean to you?
- Doing my job means providing a safe space where kids can be themselves and learn. It is a place where we have time to play while engaging with others and develop new skills. My job is an opportunity to engage and improve mental and physical health and wellness.
What is challenging about the work you do?
- This is a tough question. I would say that adaptability is a big part of the work we do and in order to provide the best possible services for our clients, we have to learn to be flexible during any situation.
Why did you incorporate slacklining into your program for children?
- Slacklining is a wonderful and fun activity that not only increases balance, but also strength, attention, coordination, and thought processing. Being able to stand and move on a slackline requires a great deal of mental and physical effort that helps our athletes improve in Mindfulness, Agility, and Perseverance.
Would you share an accomplishment at work that included slacklining that made you proud?
- Slacklining in the gym provides a great opportunity for children that have low muscle tone and/or fear of falling. The slackline allows them to conquer their fears by using a playful tool that strengthens their core, using their entire body to balance and walk. Eventually athletes began to stand independently and even jump. It became a fun activity that teaches them to be agile and persevere.
How do you integrate it into their routine?
- Slacklining is part of our obstacle course within the gym. It is used independently or in combination with different tasks.
Do you have advice for parents who want to try it with their kids?
- GO FOR IT! It is so much fun and you’ll find that it is even more adventurous and exciting than you think. Not only will you be challenged physically, but you will create lasting memories and new perspectives. Parents and children will be able to bond, and enjoy helping each other out while laughing and learning a new skill.
If you wanted to leave our readers with one message/thought/idea, what would it be?
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
-by William Ernest Henley