Thread: My Autistic Son/Kung Fu
02-20-2010, 07:28 #1
My Autistic Son/Kung Fu
My son has what is known as PDD-NOS which is a variation of asperger syndrome mixed in with OCD, ADHD etc. As you can imagine, this comes with a lot of behaviour issues(biting, scratching, screaming etc.)
My wife, my daughter and I are all affected by his condition and I believe my goal is to not let the condition basically "rule" our family life.
I have been attempting to train him myself since (1) he did not pay attention to the instructor during orientation and (2) it is less expensive for me to train him.
I have been trained in the 12 tan tui as well several forms in the Tong Long Chen system.
I need some advice on how to structure it with some clear goals that both of my children can understand as well as some ideas on mission statements.
Any other advice you can give me would also be appreciated.
Oh yes, he is 7 yrs old and over 100 lbs; his sister is 9 yrs old(in case anyone asks.
We have had some therapy for him at a local place as well as some speech therapy from the school too.
02-20-2010, 08:30 #2
- Dennis P. McGeehan
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Hello, and first, Welcome to BudoSeek!
My wife and I have 8 kids, the four youngest are special needs, two with Asperger's. I think I understand some of your struggles.
As to your question, training a special needs child in anything is NO different than training a child without a physical or mental handicap except it takes longer and requires success to be measured in smaller steps.
I make the above statement as a parent of special needs sons and as a person who has worked for over 32 years with people who have Mental Retardation.
First I would say, realistically where is your son now compared to other kids who do not have Autism. I ask that question because it is relavant as to if he is ready for MA training now or some time in the future.
Having watched my kids grow, the oldest special needs is now 16, the youngest 12, I have observed that they do NOT progress at a slow steady rate. Rather they plateau for a period of time, then jump to the next level overnight. It is as if the brain is re-wiring its connections. A device with a broken wire doesn't work until the wire is repaired.
I tried to teach my kids judo. At first they said they wanted to do it. The two younger ones still do. However the two older ones, 14 and 16, quickly lost interest and would not pay attention in class. They dropped out about three years ago.
Then I learned about a local Hapkido school that had classes for special needs people. I asked them if they were interested in it. They said yes. It has been 6 months since they have started. They have no problem paying attention in class and look forward to each every Monday night. The fact that Dad is not their instructor is also probably a plus. Oh, and this class is free if the student has an IHP from the local school district.
The four of them are also involved in a Bowling activity on Wednesday afternoons that is part of the local Special Olympics, which is also free. This is also something they look forward to and provides them an opportunity to learn and practice appropriate social behavior in an outside setting. They are doing really well.
So, how do you train your child in Kung Fu?
First question, does he want to do Kung Fu? If not, you are setting yourself up for a lot of unnecessary stress.
Second question, have you checked out your local special olympics programs?
There may be something local that your son would enjoy. Besides the physical benefits, the chance to listen and follow directions, take correction and be around other people is a plus. It may also be free to you.
If your son does not seem ready for Kung Fu now, this may change in the near future, so do NOT lose heart.
As far as actual lessons plans, I am a judo instructor so I am at a disadvantage in recommending Kung Fu lessons. Ask your son, what does he think looks cool in Kung Fu and start there. Keep the moves simple and help him set small goals where he will succeed as often as possible, this lessens the frustration factor. Apply praise liberally but also correct with gentleness. Help him to learn to laugh when he screws up and make sure he knows that you make mistakes as well.
Trust your gut as to what is right for your son, you and your wife are the first and true experts on his potential. Even so, he may surprise you with what he is able to do, my kids do it to me all the time and I am hopeful they will eventually be able to take care of themselves when the time comes.
Observe what he currently does well and enjoys and use those things to build lessons around it to learn new skills. There are learning opportunities all day long.
Spend as much time as possible with him, be a part of his activities even if you are not the coach, they are always looking for volunteer helpers in all the activities.
I hope this helps somewhat. Please ask any questions that come to mind. I'm no expert, just a Dad who with Mom have brought our kids much further along than the so called experts said was possible.
Last edited by Abbax8; 02-20-2010 at 08:34.Only a Cowardly Loser hurts an innocent, defenseless person.
Dennis P. McGeehan
02-20-2010, 09:10 #3
Thanx for you response, Dennis
As for interest, its hard to gage that; he will do the exercises as long as I relate to something he is interested in(lately, its Mario Party 8; he has many obsessions)
My daughter seems to be fine with it; she is all about movement anyway
He does soccer at Faces of Hope Childrens Therapy center, but sometimes he doesn't play, he just sort of stands there.
02-20-2010, 10:03 #4
- Jeff Jaje
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Great post Dennis, absolutely nothing I can add to that. Thanks.
Welcome Xoanan, please keep us informed as to how the training goes for your son.The unforgivable crime is soft hitting. Do not hit at all if it can be avoided; but never hit softly. - Theodore Roosevelt
02-20-2010, 14:07 #5
02-24-2010, 22:27 #6
02-25-2010, 03:00 #7
At my club we have a child with autism, my sensei makes his parents always stay nearby, just in case something happens, but generally he trains with the other kids no problem at all.
He has being doing it for a couple of months now and most of time you really wouldn't know he was any different. I have only seen one episode where he couldn't get a particular punch, to which he huffed and threw himself down on the floor.
As the adults class is on after the kids one, there are often a lot of spare brown and blackbelts around to help this class out, I am a brown belt myself and am often asked to take a smaller group of kids over to one side to teach them something. This little lad often works with me and we get on just fine, last night we were working on kata, so I took this lad and another white belt through it, by the end of the lesson they were both close to being able to do it on their own.
It is very normal for kids of a different standard to be taken to the side by one of us, this was not something special for this kid, so I would say if anything he is coping very well with it, isn't really getting any special treatment, I believe he is 10 years old.
I have also noticed he will fidget during basics, but then so do most of the white belt kids, I guess when my sensei is aware of this and always keeps them moving as much as possible.
One other thing I would add, is I have tried to teach my own children Karate and they dont listen to me at all. However, put them in a class with a strange adult, they learn well.
02-25-2010, 07:20 #8
Outstanding advice Dennis and spot-on about the "plateau" reference. My son has ADHD, is now doing extremely well acadmeically and fully mainstreamed into classes, but still gets specialized intervention services as part of his IEP. For him, Judo has been much more enjoyable versus karate/kenpo as there is more tactile pressure/depression involved, i.e. he gets to use his hands more by virtue of grip fighting in randori and uchi komi. He still has his "plateaus", but like you mentioned, overnight...some things just all of a sudden click with him. Small steps like you mentioned are the key.Mike Wills
"Molōn labe!"--King Leonidas I of Sparta at the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC)
Bugs Bunny: Why, Crusher! It's good to see you.
The Crusher: Yeah, well, I was just passing by... Dyuh... just passing by...
02-25-2010, 07:35 #9
As for that plateau affect, I remember going through that as well; I still do that to some degree. Like father, like son;
He is on celexa now and is in an ERC class at school; the other kids in his old class were a bit too "smothery" because they all liked him(most of them were girls)
02-26-2010, 02:47 #10
I have nothing really to add here, but there have been some awesome posts in this thread.
Pushing a child (gently and carefully) with Aspergers, etc. to expand their horizons and circle of comfort is very commendable parenting in my view. The children referenced in this thread are lucky to have parents who do so.
02-28-2010, 17:24 #11
Thank you for everyoneś support!
03-18-2010, 03:43 #12
Hi Larwence. Just a tid bit for you. I have an autistic boy in my class. His aunt, one of my Sempai, and myself have been working with him for a couple of months on a special project. He has been wanting a WWE action figure wrestling ring and his aunt told him that if he could do this she would get it for him.
Last night Sam accomplished his goal plus a bonus. Last night Sam tied his shoes all by himself. Sam is 12. AND Sam made it all the way through Kihon kata by himself. I was so proud I'm thinking about inviting him to my house Sunday to watch Wrestlemania.
03-19-2010, 07:24 #13
On a side note, I saw my old Sifu this week and I told him about one of my son's challenges(balance issues). He gave me some very basic balance exercises to get him started off. Josh seems to like them.
Later, we will work on Tan Tuis