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Children with Autism and Martial Arts
Children with Autism and Martial Arts. Choe's HapKiDo Karate Academy of Martial Arts serving Cumming, Suwanee, Johns Creek, Duluth, Alpharetta and Buford Georgia
By: Choe's HapKiDo Cumming
About 3 years ago, we were presented with the opportunity to introduce our oldest son to a local Martial Arts school of our choice. It was a birthday gift from our in-laws to our son. My father-in-law had stumbled across and article that described the benefits of a Martial Arts discipline and Autistic children. At the time, we didn’t have a particular need or concern with our son that we were hoping to get resolved. You see, as it is, our son is a high functioning 14 year old with Asperger’s. That being said, he had always had issues with self-control and focus. Not in the sense that it couldn’t be managed, but more so as his ability to relate to his peers and other issues having to do with Hypersensitive Sensory Disorder. Not really knowing what to expect, we gave it a try. We found one school in particular that was most appealing in the way the instructors interacted with the children. We found the instructor to have complete control of what otherwise could have been referred to as controlled chaos. Typically, when I see a room full of children surrounded by kicking and punching equipment, I would expect nothing less than total bedlam. To my surprise, these young children where focused and showed extreme self-discipline and respect.
Like we did, one would think that an Autistic child would cower under the expectations of the discipline of martial arts. This is not to say that our son did not have some challenges to overcome. Within the first week, we realized that the entire idea of punching, kicking, sparring, and yelling would all become some of his biggest obstacles. We also realized that this was to be expected if he was to overcome these obstacles and fears. We were particularly excited to hear from his instructor that he held high expectations for our son and did not view him as a child with a disability. There was also an important lesson for us. At that moment, we realized that we, as protective parents, could actually become a hindrance in his disability if we did not allow our son to face any future challenges on his own. It was after this lesson that we changed our own expectations of what was to become of our son. Within the first few months, we saw a transformation in him. Instead of cowering, he was confident. Instead of silly behaviors, he showed poise and self-discipline. Instead of being a student, he became a leader as a Junior Instructor.
After a three year journey, our son has earned his Black Belt and is considered an effective instructor to younger students. Martial Arts has helped transform our child into a confident, driven, respectful role model that any parent would be proud of. The skills that he has learned in Martial Arts, now positively impact every aspect of his young life. We see this every day in his social interactions and academics.
Choe's HapKiDo of Cumming
3020 Old Atlanta Rd
Cumming GA 30041
Choe’s HapKiDo Karate is a place where anyone can learn to overcome their fears and obstacles in order to reach their highest potentials. In the Cumming location there are people of all ages who work together to help improve, grow and better themselves, and everyone is working together to fill Suwanee, Cumming and Duluth with Black Belt Leaders. Choe’s HapKiDo has locations that serve Cumming, Suwanee, Johns Creek and Duluth so come by and experience it for yourself!