With awareness on the rise regarding special needs kids, it should come as no surprise that many martial arts facilities and pediatric therapy centers are offering classes in the martial arts to children who would not fit in with a typical martial arts class. Why? Because we’re learning how much martial arts can contribute to the healthy development of kids with conditions like autism, sensory processing disorders, and even cerebral palsy. Two of the most important components of any martial arts program are structure and discipline. The same is true when working with special needs kids. If you’re a parent of one of these kids, you know that consistency and repetition, knowing what to expect, are keys to helping your child grow and develop. So the coming together of kids with special needs and any of the martial arts is a very natural fit.
A skilled martial arts instructor with experience teaching special needs kids will work on motor skills, focus and concentration, balance and core strength, and sensory and even social skills. Many of the exercises can be done at home with parents, so the child is never between lessons for long, making it a wonderful part of his or her expected routine. There are no screaming instructors in these classes, so the children learn to anticipate the smiling, familiar faces of their teachers. Always fun, always safe, always challenging.
To encourage your child to continue the discipline and fun of martial arts at home, consider purchasing a few of our Tatami finish martial arts mats to create a designated space to practice. Carve out a few minutes each day to spend together practicing the art, and watch your special needs child blossom with self-confidence and control.