I always trying to learn and follow some physical activities for autistic children. My son is being a bit overweight, physical activity was, and always is priority for us.
I found a place where they offer Taekwondo for beginners. I enrolled my daughter only first, and since we have to go and stay with her there I figured I will see if my son will be interested in trying out as well.
Her first day of Taekwondo I asked the instructor if she would accept my son as her student. She advised me to just let him participate as much as he can, and she will observe him, and let me know what she thinks at the end of the class. Keep it in mind, that this class is intended for neuro typical kids, but as always it never hurts to ask for something. I heard about many success stories when ASD child are attending Taekwondo, how much they benefit from it. My whole purpose was to allow him to burn some of his energy, have some kind of socialization, learn to focus and follow directions from someone else other than me, as well as feel some sort of satisfaction when he is learning a new skill. For me, and many others, these goals are important, and for ASD children acquiring these feelings can establish a more stable self-esteem, perhaps even increase it too.
Also, learning Taekwondo can help him later to fan off the bullies too, and allow him to be more confident in his environment. These were pretty much my goals with him attending Taekwondo.
He participated in everything that the instructor told them to do. I did not think he can do everything and sustain energy to participate for the whole hour, but he participated, and tried his very best to imitate. The instructor gave us a green light to enroll him. We had, and still have challenges but he is trying his very best to learn and participate, and that effort makes him even better in my eyes. It might not be much for others, but knowing his challenges the things he is able to do is just amazing to me. Look at this picture I took on his third day.
This is our second month now, and I am still stressed out most of the time, mainly for reasons that I am responsible for.His instructor Ms. Joannie is truly amazing instructor. She is very patient with Amin, show him slowly how to do things and verbally praise him very often. He loves her already.
Besides the gross motor difficulties Amin has to overcome, he had some behavioral issues that interfered with his performance in the beginning. In the beginning, every time he kicked he just dropped himself to the ground. Ms. Joannie did voice her disapproval in a loving, yet firm voice saying”Amin stand up”. I had to intervene and keep him standing and walking. Offering a small reinforcement did the trick. Now he is upright when he needs to be, standing in line to take turns. Amazing gain in his behavior. I wanted to upload a video I took of him how he takes turns, but the place I am at does not allow me to do so for security purposes. That is another story for another time.
What I see about Taekwondo is that it requires the person to achieve a good balance, determination, focus with their movement, coordination, and set and reach a goal. Taekwondo is structured, there is no room for wondering around, and my kids learn a strict self-discipline while attending Taekwondo. Mostly because of the structure and following sequences makes this sport very appealing to many parents with ASD kids.
We have a schedule which we keep mostly to have harmony and balance in our home, Taekwondo just reinforcing that .
Slowly Amin is achieving his goals we set for him. His kicks are much higher now, he is able to keep his balance while kicking, his punches and blocks are not perfect by any means, but he is learning them, practicing them, and most of all he enjoys the whole experience.
Taekwondo will be joining the list of worthy activities in our book, and Ms. Joannie will be put with the list of the helping angels in Amin’s life.