2 Benefits of Martial Arts for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

For many parents, signing kids up for extracurricular activities like martial arts lessons can be a rite of passage. However, if your child is on the autism spectrum, you might wonder if things like that are really a good idea. Before you dismiss the idea of lessons, you should understand how these types of lessons could help your child. Here are a few of the reasons why martial arts lessons are a great choice for your autistic child.

Improved Strength, Tone & Motor Skills

Many children on the autism spectrum struggle with motor skills and muscle tone. The physical effort of the training helps to improve muscle tone and core strength because it gets kids active and works those muscle groups that many children with autism struggle with. This may help him or her feel more physically confident.

It also helps to enhance motor skills. Graduating from one belt to the next or from one weapon to the next requires showing a certain level of mastery of specific movements. To show that mastery, kids must focus on precision of their movements, which helps them to improve their motor skills. Kids can visibly see the difference in what happens with their movements during these sessions, so it helps them focus on those motor skills more clearly.

Understanding of Respect, Discipline & Rule-Following

Kids on the autism spectrum often thrive in more controlled, clearly defined environments. When studying martial arts, some of the most important messages delivered in the dojo include those of respect for those in authority, discipline in the study of the art, and appreciation for following the rules. Since those things are prioritized on the mat, they will become a focus of his or her training. In addition, for many kids this also translates to the same respect, discipline, and rule-following in other areas, including school and home.

As the parent of a child on the spectrum, you have many things to address on a daily basis. If you want to help your child become more active, physically healthier, and more focused, consider the benefits of martial arts lessons. Places like Tanaka's Martial Arts Academy can be a great place to start to get the answers you may need for your child. Visit a class or two to see the environment, and bring your child along so he or she can see what to expect before the first lesson.