Being part of a team
Children with Autism often struggle with social cues making communication quite difficult, because of this taking part in activities with a team can prove challenging. This can lead to a sense of isolation for these children. Martial arts provides a team atmosphere but in an individual setting. Therefore, each child is part of a team in the greater sense of being a part of the club and a part of the sport but at the same time they are working as an individual, to learn new skills.
Children with autism face problems with their speech development and understanding social language. They also struggle with holding eye contact and the using gestures. Martial arts provides plenty of opportunity for one on one social interaction with coaches and training partners in an accepting environment.
Following on from difficulty with communication, the concept of social interaction is a very real and quite a big challenge to children with Autism. Being unable to interpret non-verbal cues and tone properly, as well as lack of eye contact can make it extremely difficult for a child to bond with others and create social relationships. Through Martial arts training you can build a common interest that is shared with the people you train with. This is the perfect first step for children with Autism to build social relationships with others based around the common interest of the sport itself.
Sensory overload is a well known problem for children with autism. This can come in a number of ways, such as an abhorrence to noise and bright lighting, being unable to eat certain types of food or a strong dislike for the smells associated with different things. This can have a major effect on their everyday lives, where constant distractions can be too much for them to handle. Martial arts can massively help with learning to cope with difficult and uncomfortable situations. Martial arts provides lots of challenges, through fitness, speed training, sparring, etc. Learning how to deal with these challenges will have a positive effect on the child’s ability to deal with their own sensory challenges.
With all the challenges that children with Autism face on a daily basis, it is common for them to struggle with their self-confidence. Martial arts is well known for boosting a person’s confidence, therefore is another reason as to how it can be beneficial.
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