HOW CAN MARTIAL ARTS HELP?
At United Studios our teaching method is individualized. All our students enjoy a personal training session each week. These sessions are formatted to guide students to accomplish their goals. In the group karate class setting the children work together to develop skills and complete activity’s. Our entire student body is encouraged threw incentive programs to assist each other. This has created an atmosphere of encouragement and caring. Because our focus is on the individual, children are empowered by focusing on what they can do not what they can not. Kids with special needs regardless of the disability, have very individual ability’s. We have worked with children with a verity of issues. Asperger’s, Autism, downs syndrome, Blind, Deaf to name a few. Martial arts training shapes character and develops self esteem by building on small accomplishments. As students progress in their training they learn how to use focus and discipline to set and accomplish their goals.
Entering into a new environment like a dojo can be intimidating for anyone, multiply that by 2 for most children and by 10 for a child who feels different then everyone else, this is why communication is so important. People communicate in a variety of ways, visually, verbally, kinetically (movement) and by touch. Discovering the preferred method for a student could be as easy as asking their parent,or by using a multi method approach until you establish rapport with them. Patience is the key here, our job when working with special needs children is not to attempt make them into someone they are not, but to help them discover their abilities to set and achieve goals. For in this lies the secret to moving mountains.
What you see is not always what is meant. For example you’re 10 year old daughter comes home from school and says “their is a boy at school that tugs on my hair when i’m not looking”. Now this is your little angle, i’m not going to give my opinion on how this should be handled. My Question is do you think he’s trying to hurt her, or is it a crush? Kids behaviors are often confusing if you don’t step back and look at the big picture. Special needs children often feel misunderstood or like they don’t fit in, this could come out in their behavior. One way I’ve found effective is the buddy system. The children that have been in the studio for a longer time have developed confidence in themselves make great partners for someone just starting. This is a method that must be watched over closely so the buddy doesn’t become frustrated or abused.
BE CONSISTENTLY POSITIVE
When working with children consistency and attitude is everything. On numerous occasions I’ve had students that were not able to stay on task through an entire class 30-45 minute class. In the beginning I let them take part in the portion of class that they want. When they want to step out they have the option of going to the back area of the studio as long as they don’t disrupt the class (strictly enforced). During class they get lots of positive reinforcement and encouragement, when they step out they have alone time. I’d prefer they have a 10 minute success then a 45 minute failure. It doesn’t take long before they realize the benefits participating for the full class. My job as a instructor is to motivate my students. I do this by recognizing and celebrating their accomplishments.
The greatest accomplishments of our world have been less of a testament to brilliance but a demonstration of discipline and perseverance. It’s my hope that all the students under my instructions have life changing take always. I want them to know the meaning of tenacity, to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments, but most of all to dream dreams that they know they can make come true.