kids in a karate class

Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be considering enrolling them in martial arts. The good news is that there are studies that show that mixed martial arts helps with autism and is beneficial for children on the spectrum. In particular, martial arts can result in positive social behaviors in children with ASD apart from many other advantages.

At Action Karate, we recognize that every child is unique and while the importance of sports cannot be overemphasized, there is a difference between participation in a team sport versus participation in an individual sport. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that training in a martial arts environment is a lot calmer in terms of social interactions and noise or sensory overloads.

The ultimate result is that martial arts can improve autistic symptoms because they can gain confidence when they Martial arts classes combine physical activity with mental development, offering a program specifically suited to benefit children on the autism spectrum., while focusing on becoming as independent as possible. In this article, we explore some of the key benefits of martial arts for children with autism so that you can make an informed choice for your child. Let’s get started.

Benefits of martial arts for neurodivergent children

Enrolling your child in karate can seem like a scary experience, both for parents and their children. Not knowing what to expect is often a serious concern. But the science out there shows that martial arts can improve autistic symptoms. Below, we cover just a few of the benefits of enrolling your child in martial arts classes.

Improving social skills

Whether it’s a one-on-one, personalized class or a group session, one thing that unites every participant in martial arts is the ability to improve one’s social skills. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, children that join have a common goal, which is to refine their karate skills through repetitive drills that help them focus while working towards their next belt. This requires listening to their instructors and carrying out the instructions. With martial arts, children with autism learn to respect their classmates and instructors because everyone has a common goal and children quickly realize that they are all in a community of like-minded peers.

Improving spatial awareness

Spatial awareness is a challenge for many children with ASD as they may not be sure, comfortable, or confident in how their bodies fit into their environments. With repetition of certain drills, all the senses of taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound are enhanced, giving children the ability to better figure out how they fit into a given space. Often, sparring with a partner exposes them to physical contact and their responses, which are repetitive in nature, helps them figure out and respond well to their physical environment. This adaptability is an acquired skill that can help them gain control over their body.

Gaining confidence

With qualified, experienced, and trained instructors at your child’s side, your child will experience important gains in self-confidence. What is more, our instructors are both teachers and mentors and their focus on individual growth and development is absolutely priceless. When your child masters one skill, they will start feeling more confident in their abilities and will look forward to mastering the next one. This deep sense of accomplishment is hard to come by in sports such as team sports as their achievement is fully their own.

Strengthening discipline and focus

Karate can be considered a holistic discipline that deals with the mind and body at the same time. This approach to training means that your child will be able to enjoy a great deal of benefits that come with martial arts training. Particularly in children with autism, martial arts training increases mental awareness. That is because your child is encouraged to concentrate on one movement or one concept at a time, mastering it before they move onto the next one. This builds onto pre-existing knowledge and brings out the best in your child.

Improving their reactions and motor skills

Practicing martial arts gives children a sense of predictability and routine, which can be comforting with children with ASD. The repetition of moves improves their motor skills while their ability to spar with a partner or an instructor can help improve their reaction. This ties in with spatial awareness and focus, as they gain a stronger sense of focus and reward for the effort they put into their practice.

Perhaps the most important thing when enrolling your child in a martial arts program is consistency. At Action Karate, we recognize that this may be challenging for children at first. However, with our extensive experience in training children with autism in martial arts over several decades, we also know that it will become much easier for them the longer they continue to engage in their training and practice.

Karate classes for special needs children by Action Karate

If you are looking for special needs karate near you, you’ve come to the right place. Action Karate offers special needs martial arts classes and training in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Valrico, Florida.

With decades of experience to our name and our instructors’ deep-founded appreciation for the right approach to a child with autism, you can rest assured that your child will be in excellent hands with us. From focus and discipline to confidence and spatial awareness, and even refined motor skills that help with balance, flexibility, and coordination, isn’t it time you gave your child the gift of karate in a community of warm and friendly peers and instructors? Get in touch with us today.