Gentle East Martial arts of 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 seventh skill we cover is Durability. This skill is going to help improve the overall strength of their bodies and build resiliency to keep trying. Kids on the spectrum sometimes have struggle physically because their bodies just aren’t as developed. Physical therapists and Occupational Therapists have commented on the physical development they observe as kids participate in the Spectrum Skillz martial arts program.
We have broken the Durability skill into four main sections, each targeting one area of the body:
- Arms, Shoulders, and Chest
- Legs and Glutes
- Core, Back, and Sides
For kids in this class, being able to target these different areas by working different exercises makes it a lot easier to exhibit resiliency, particularly as we introduce various tools to help them maintain interest and proper posture.
When we can incorporate tools, such as using different hand targets, it not only provides an added challenge but gives the kids a visual and tactile reference, thus helping develop strength in the correct way without risk of injury. Very often, people will just have spectrum kids doing the regular exercises that you might see in any other class. While that can definitely work, finding a way to make those exercises more accessible to the kids and make them more interactive is going to help the kids have a lot more success, they’re going to have a lot more fun, and you’re going to see a rise in their physical ability.
With each class, we make sure that these exercises are fun, that we are giving the kids different physical cues that they can touch and interact with, and we are making sure that everyone is staying positive with high energy so that everything that the kids are doing feels super exciting.