Gentle East Martial Arts is proud to announce that we added a new program to our class offerings! Spectrum Skillz was designed to target children ages 7 and up who are on the autism spectrum. The program introduces specialized skill-based training for children who have limited physical, intellectual, social, and emotional abilities. With that said, more emphasis is placed on building fundamental skills training with a strategic balance of Martial Arts.
By understanding the needs of these children, we have selected 8 skills that make up the Spectrum SKILLZ Program. The first skill we cover is Awareness. This skill helps kids with autism, Asperger’s, and even ADHD, develop an awareness of their environment, their place in that environment, how to better control their bodies, and how to better manage time.
Awareness is something that a lot of kids, especially at this age group struggle with, whether they are on the spectrum or not. To help our Spectrum Skillz kids learn about and develop awareness, we have broken the skill down into four different categories:
- Awareness with their eyes – This includes being able to see the things around them, being able to look and tell all these different things apart, where they are, and how close they are to the children.
- Spatial awareness – Spatial awareness means being able to know where objects are and where the student is in relation to things happening around them. This is going to be something very important to the martial arts aspect of the Spectrum Skillz program, especially as they start to hit pads, and as they start to get closer to actually striking targets.
- Awareness with the body – This skill helps the kids in being able to understand how they can control their bodies when they do things such as balancing or doing jump kicks.
- Awareness of time – With kids on the spectrum we want them to be aware of how much time they have to finish a project, because when they’re under pressure, they may start to struggle with tasks they may otherwise have completed with ease. But, when they can start to recognize how much time they have to finish a job or an objective, they can perform better.
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