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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 16457
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cater to the students abilities; learn what they are/aren't, to as much as it is possible.

My son, Nathan, is a special needs adult, 24 years old. To look at him, one wouldn't know that he is until he speaks. He's not disabled, however, he's special needs, per the dictionary's definition...

dis-a-bled: [dis-ey-buh-ld]

1. crippled; injured; incapacitated.


2. (used with a plural verb) persons who are crippled, injured, or incapacitate

Special Needs:

The special educational requirements of those with learning difficulties, emotional or behavioral problems, or physical disabilities.

Again, learning the difference of the two, as well as the pertaining laws, are quite important; both for the student(s) and for the Instructor/School.

The special educational requirements of those with learning difficulties, emotional or behavioral problems, or physical disabilities. So it appears that they are educational requirements. ďSpecial needsĒ is about education, and ďdisabilityĒ is about your body, your brain, your senses being wired and tapped in a unique way.

In the USA, the SKKA refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 (ADA) as well as the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (EOA), through our Legal Team, often and always for the purposes of protecting all concerned parties.


Before the SKKA and its Instructors can teach any student, they both have to be compliant across the board first and foremost. If not, then close the doors!!
It takes more than learning the different ways to teach those students that are disabled or special needs, and that is very important, and what's equally important is what the laws are pertaining to its building and staff.

Not meaning to steer away from Danielle's serious and important topic at hand, I don't know much about the laws in other countries, whatsoever, but here in the USA, we've the ADA and the EOA, the scope and the breath of those laws are so undeniable and unambiguous that we, of the SKKA, as a Governing Body, have a responsibility to our Student Body in such a way, that we seek out special counsel, and we're fortunate enough in that our Legal Team, which is an outside Law Firm that we hired on retainer decades ago, has three lawyers who specialize in the ADA/EOA.

Did you know that the scope of ether the ADA/EOA is so, that it's not just who, but it's where, as well. It doesn't matter your MA school is or isn't a stand alone school, like at the church or at the Recreational Facility, like the YMCA, or at the Public Parks basketball court, one better find out the pertaining ADA laws before one begins to teach and/or deny their accessibility to joining your offering of MA classes, and not just the inside but the outside of the school.

In the USA, is your MA school ADA compliant?? Do the mats have level-up guards at the very edges of the mats, for example?? Are the instructors ADA compliant??

Answering the ADA/EOA concerns are paramount before the doors open to teach anyone anything. The 'How-to' teach special needs students must be in concert with the 'Do-and Don't' laws where one lives.


**Proof is on the floor!!!
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Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6455
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
Regarding autism...
During my graduate physical education training, we had to take an adapted physical education class. The teacher was an expert in autism. Her wisdom imparted to us: ďif you know 100 people with autism, you know 100 autistic people with different needsĒ or something like that. Autism is all over the place, and as such thereís no universal way of teaching autistic students. Itís pretty much all trial and error. Sorry to give such a generic answer, but itís definitely what Iíve found in the many autistic children Iíve taught, academically and physical education.

I can only say a few things that Iíve seen in just about all of them...
1. They donít like being out of their comfort zone at all. Many people donít, but autistic people shut down in a unique way. Finding that comfort zone is trial and error, and itís typically easy to tell once youíve crossed it. Physical contact is a common thing they donít like, but itís definitely not universal.

2. Once youíve earned their trust, youíll be able to get them further out of their comfort zone. Not as far as non-autistic people by any means, but youíll be able to challenge them an appreciable amount.

3. They most often donít understand social cues. They have a very difficult time relating to people and donít understand relationships very well. They know roles, but beyond that is a mystery to them. I they take things far more negatively than most people.

4. They are extremely logical rather than emotional, bringing us back to number 3. Explain things to them like an adult rather than like a child. Donít end up unintentionally talking over their head, but definitely donít talk to them like a little kid. Show positive and happy emotion, but definitely donít over do it. When theyíre going into a fit (the more you know the kid, the easier itíll be to tell when itís starting), be very matter of fact and show no emotion. I have one kid with autism in particular in my science class from 3rd-5th grade (presently), who has severe anxiety over what he perceives as failure; if he gets a question wrong, verbally in class, a test, homework, etc., heíll immediately start with ďIím a failure. Iím so stupid. Iím going to end up washing dishes in a restaurant my whole life.Ē I just look at him with zero emotion on my face and in my voice and say ďJohn, you know youíre smart. You know getting one question wrong isnít going to change your whole life. Take a few deep breaths and relax. When youíre ready, you can rejoin class.Ē It works. Other teachers have coddled him, gotten upset with him, ignored him, etc. None of it worked. The key is to know when theyíre on the verge of a meltdown and use logic and show no emotion before it goes too far. Once itís gone past a certain point, thereís pretty much o coming back for quite some time. The more they trust you, the easier it is to get them back to where they need to be.

Another example, the same student refused to leave the room during a fire drill one day. He ran around the room screaming he wasnít going to leave because he didnít finish the question he was working on. I looked him right in the eyes and said ďJohn, thereís no way youíre staying in this room. You can walk out like everyone else, or I can carry you out, kicking and screaming like a baby. Which one is it going to be?Ē He looked at me, and I said ďwhich one, John, Iím not going to ask you again.Ē It was so hard for me to do, but I showed zero emotion, and didnít raise my voice beyond a level he could hear it over the fire alarm. He walked out like he was supposed to. Had I coddled him or showed him I was upset, I definitely wouldíve had to chase him down and drag him out. For the record, I wouldíve had to carry him out if he didnít leave willingly.

Just some things to think about. The best thing you can do is speak with the parents and ask them what typically works and what doesnít. Focus more on what doesnít work and avoid that stuff at first. As you gain trust, youíll be walking on eggshells less and less often.

Just going back through old threads looking for inspiration and came back to this.

Have to say JR, point number 4 here has really mirrored my experience to date with one of the students I spoke about in my original post. "N" is a high functioning autistic child and over the last year or say I'd say I've gotten pretty good at determining when his meltdowns are going to happen. He gets really frustrated when he thinks he can't do something or he gets something wrong. Unfortunately he is constantly comparing himself to the blackbelts and not his own peers (both in age and belt level), always thinking he should do better.

The no emotion, matter of fact route tends to work with him if I catch him early enough but I have to be careful how I phrase things as he can latch on to the smallest of things and focus. We are getting to the point now though that I can ask him to do challenging things. I try to sandwich the difficult skill between two easier skills to leave him on a high rather than focused on the bad stuff.

Apart from that he's a dream to teach and just does exactly what you tell him to do.
"Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it." ~ Confucius
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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 30214
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's awesome, Danielle. Just awesome!
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