Gentle East Martial Arts in Midlothian, Virginia is proud to announce that we added Spectrum Skillz to our class offerings! This program 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 second skill we cover is Detailing. Spectrum kids can have amazing attention to detail in specific areas, and this skill helps them use that quality to develop great martial arts technique, and as part of a team.
We found that having great attention to detail is something that even kids not on the spectrum struggle with, either because they lack awareness of details or hyper focus on the wrong ones. Kids on the autism spectrum can have very good detailing, though usually in certain specific areas, whether it be a certain subject like math or science, or certain areas of interest such as dogs. Some kids on the spectrum even have great details in their martial arts and find those really acute, very small things like the positioning their chamber hands, or retraction hand’s placement during basics. We found that this skill is a really effective tool, using things that some kids are already good at in certain areas to help balance their abilities in other areas.
We have broken the Detailing skill into four main areas of focus:
- Detailing with our hands. This helps the kids find the key details in their blocks and in their strikes. This is going to help them become stronger when they start to break boards and be able to do really cool stuff based on the solid foundation of clean technique.
- Detailing with our feet. Similar to Detailing with our hands, this area of focus is now using their kicks and their stances; things like having proper sequence of actions while kicking (chamber, kick, re-chamber), execution of the kick itself, foot placement when they’re kicking, and having the correct amount of distance between their feet when they do those stances. There are a lot of details, but these are the basic things that make martial arts what it is.
- Detailing with combinations. Now we’re really trying to take them up to the next level by having them be in a situation where they have to perform techniques across multiple areas of their body, and still be able to have those fine details to make the moves look strong and make them look good.
- Detailing with our teammates. This area of focus is designed to both foster awareness of what other people are doing, and to provide some foundations for later social skill-building. We work with the kids to be able to work with a partner and find the details about they’re doing. What this is going to start to help them do is increase the focus that they’re putting into their actual martial arts training.
Very often, with kids on the autism spectrum, getting them to stay focused is very difficult, especially when working with a partner. Being able to help them develop focus on what they have to look for in a scenario, such as combinations of moves, or technical basics is going to really take their Detailing skill to the next level, and even more than learning martial arts, that really is the goal of Spectrum Skillz.
Ready to get started? Click here to book your child’s free 1-on-1 session with one of our instructors.