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#133969 - 11/12/04 10:21 PM special needs

I teach students with serious special needs such as autism, brain lesions etc. With a martial arts theme and in gi these young adults do martial arts exercises and some self defense. We also talk a lot about safety, although, in reality, few of them will ever be unsupervised for long. A couple do function well on their own. Most of them can not do half of Taikiyoku 1 without some assistance. I want to know if anyone else is teaching this population. I'd like to exchange some e-mails and ideas. Someone may have some experience with martial arts in special olympics, even if not in their dojo.

#133970 - 11/13/04 12:49 AM Re: special needs
senseilou Offline
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Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
I did train a young student with MD. He walked with a walker , and his legs were not strong. So I put the idea in his head to strength the legs, though it wasn't going to happen he sure tried. I taught him from sitting position. So many times I picked him up, but him in the center of the floor and had him work his techniques from sitting. I really was trying to work his mind and give him something to work for, the techniques were a bonus if he could do them. I showed him little tricks like running over someones foot with his walker or wheel chair. He had fun, and loved coming to class, and I guess thats all that matters, He did get to the point he could keep kids off of him, so I guess I helped. Also had a Deaf student who couldn't talk as well. But really I was in the same boat when I started when Sensei talked in Japanese and I talked in "Southern". So training him was really no problem. I probably make more sense if you can't hear me anyway.

#133971 - 11/15/04 08:41 AM Re: special needs

every one has dificultys when learning something new and some peaple will learn faster than outhers, be pationt and reward progreshion and effert its supprising how a disiplin will change a person and boost confidence.

#133972 - 11/15/04 10:11 AM Re: special needs

This brings up a VERY serious subject, and that is teaching those with special needs without proper training.

They call them 'special needs' for a reason. Physical handicaps are not so much the issue as mental handicaps.

My instructor had a woman who brought her young son (maybe 10 or 12 years old) into the school for lessons. None of the instructors at the school had ANY experience in teaching developmentally handicapped children, and on that basis, I totally disagreed with allowing the student to train.

Sure enough, a month later this student, during a drill, punched another student in the face.


He was lucky that no one decided to sue the school.

All I can is that unless you have had training in how to handle this kinds of students, you have no business letting them onto the dojo floor. You may be going more harm than good, not to mention opening yourself up for a whale of a lawsuit.


#133973 - 11/15/04 11:33 AM Re: special needs

Thankyou. This is a good point. Fortunately, I have 21 years of clinical experience in psychiatry. Our special needs students have mostly brain disorders. In psychiatry, we treat brain injured patients including those with violent or impulsive tendencies who can not be managed in other settings for brain injured people. FOrtunately also, the class was started by my coach who was the special needs teacher for the group at the local high school. No one should take on this population without experience and supervision because, yes it would be a recipe for disaster.

#133974 - 11/18/04 11:48 AM Re: special needs

I will take on allmost any student. I have trained those that are slow learner's with hadd etc... and poor attention spans and parents have came thanking me because they have seen progress in their other activities as well as their love for MA.

I also was blessed with teaching a parapalegic student, I would make him fall out his wheel chair and work his arms by alligator crawls and then getting back in his chair with out any help, taught him hand strikes and body manipulation techniques. I was told he stopped someone from grabbing his chair once and racing him down the hall at school with a simple wrist take down.

I have seen their spirits grow and attention span increase and only good can come from it. I take it as a challenge to train these types of students and do not give up on them, Your reward will be unforseen. I envy you for teaching people of this nature and i wish you the best of luck with it.


#133975 - 11/18/04 12:11 PM Re: special needs

Thanks Ajacks for that story. I had a similar story with a boy with both serious developmental delay and mobility serious mobility impairment from a brain disorder. He was in a wheel chair, or he could crawl. He only had good use of one arm. I loved surprising his mother with what he could do and the boy himself loved his MA. It is so much more fun than physical therapy. That is actually the kind of thing I was looking for in my post: your experience and that of senseilou. I'd like to know what activities you are doing that are successful for you and your special needs students so that maybe we can swap ideas. Right now I have fewer students with the more obvious physical disabilities, it is more cognative now, but it is good to have good ideas on hand. Let's use this topic to post what works for us. One thing that worked for my boy I just talked about to develop leg strength, for example, was to have him lay on the floor on his back. I'd get on my knees at his feet and anchor his feet on my upper chest. He'd push off me in a leg press and propel himself backwards across the smooth floor. He did these instead of horse stance to develop leg strength. We hoped that maybe some day he could walk with a walker. Let's brain storm and post ideas we might all be able to use.

#133976 - 11/18/04 01:09 PM Re: special needs

Thank you glad to give.

Wheel Chair Training:

all they have is their arms, utilize it,

He gave us senarios people would do to him and we worked on techniques that work for him.

Hand Stikes, open, closed etc...Elbows
We came up with bodymanipulation's techniques for him.
We worked all angles of attack from a chair and went from their. You'll be suprised what works. Good learning experiance for you and them

Even taught him how to use his chair as a weapon, the front of wheel chairs have those foot rest wich made real good for shin nerve attacks.


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