Monday, June 24, 2013

Karate...Ashi style!

Ashi's instructor teaching her some kicks.

I've patiently waited for Ashi to get interested in ballet, tap, piano, or any kind of extracurricular activity where she could learn a new skill or discover a talent. Typically she's interested in nothing new unless mud is involved, but recently, she told me she wanted to learn Karate! I jumped all over that opportunity.

Yep! I think she's got that kick down!

I was disappointed that I couldn't find a gym with instructors trained to work with children with autism or other special needs, but I found one willing to give it a try.

Ashi did great her first 2 classes! At first, the classes were small, consisting only of 3 students including Ashi so I was encouraged. But then I was asked bring her to a different class where although it would be larger, there would be 2 instructors and one could work solely with her. I hate changing something that's not broke, but was agreeable. The next class had 7 students. Even so,  Ashi did a good job. She had one instructor work with her individually the whole time which was essential to her getting through. 

Ashi hanging out with some new friends.
Unfortunately, the next time we went to class, there were 14 students and a whole lobby full of their noisy parents. It was a disaster. Ashi couldn't hear, focus, or process. My heart wrenched when she was sent to a corner twice for 'disobeying' instructions. The instructor's lack of special needs training could not have been more obvious.

It killed me to see that and reinforced the many reasons we homeschool. This is a clear picture of a child getting "lost through the cracks" as they say. Ashi wasn't being disobedient, she never heard or processed a command or instruction. She was doing the best she could under the circumstances and getting punished for it.

The other instructor was more positive. I asked if he would be willing to allow me to take photos of him doing the Taekwondo moves. I would develop them, label them, and work with Ashi at home. That would allow her to process visually instead of auditorally.

Ashi practicing at home on the trampoline.

He politely agreed and I took snapshots of him that night. Ashi was able to easily learn several moves. I was so proud of her for not being a quitter.  

After we completed our paid for sessions, Ashi decided Karate is not for her. There just are issues beyond her control regarding apraxia of muscles and coordination. But, she did her best and now she knows trying new things is fun. We can always figure out ways to make it work for her. 

 I think I heard her mention she's ready to try soccer next!

Annie Eskeldson writes for parents of young autistic children.  She has two, one is of tween age, the other a preschooler.  You can find the other blog here Izaiah's Scroll and also Annie's children's books about autism at Ashi's Gift Website.


  1. Cherie Mehan is the winner of a set of the Ashi's Gift Series of books. Congratulations, Cherie!!

  2. That's great that she tried it! Both of our older 2 got to do a trial class of Taekwondo with the same franchise, and they were able to go in a separate room. It was an office, though, and it wasn't something they could do for every class, and I know they both wouldn't be able to focus with the noise, either.

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  4. We like martial arts in our home. I am nearly a black belt myself and we tried it with the boys. However, it wasn't something they could do in a big class due to lack of enough structure to keep them focused and on task. So, I decided to bring them home and do it myself. They are so excited to start.

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