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    GregW

    Posts : 102
    Join date : 2013-01-22
    Location : Norman, Oklahoma

    Teaching students with autism

    Post by GregW on Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:51 am

    Hi guys,

    I have a seven year-old student who has given me some behavior problems in class. He has some very real attention deficit issues and his lack of attentiveness combined with aggressiveness poses a danger to his training partners. He whines, stomps, throws himself on the ground, attacks his opponents (not with judo), pouts, and sulks. He refuses to be uke and doesn't follow directions when he's tori. I communicated this to his father and the father informed me that the boy also has "mild autism."

    Does anyone have any suggestions about teaching autistic students? I hate to see him quit, but I don't want him to end up hurting someone because he doesn't listen to instructions. I've tried time outs, having him run laps around the mat, and having him do constructive things like uchikomi with the elastic bands, to keep him engaged and active. I've tried getting him to make conscious choices like, "You have two choices. You can follow instructions and practice or you can sit down on the edge of the mat. Which do you choose." Nothing works, at least not for long.

    I'm kind of at a loss. Do we have any experts with experience teaching ADHD or autistic students? I'd like to get some suggestions from you if you do.

    BillC

    Posts : 806
    Join date : 2012-12-28
    Location : Vista, California

    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by BillC on Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:06 am

    GregW wrote:Hi guys,

    I have a seven year-old student who has given me some behavior problems in class.  He has some very real attention deficit issues and his lack of attentiveness combined with aggressiveness poses a danger to his training partners.  He whines, stomps, throws himself on the ground, attacks his opponents (not with judo), pouts, and sulks.  He refuses to be uke and doesn't follow directions when he's tori.  I communicated this to his father and the father informed me that the boy also has "mild autism."  

    Does anyone have any suggestions about teaching autistic students?  I hate to see him quit, but I don't want him to end up hurting someone because he doesn't listen to instructions.  I've tried time outs, having him run laps around the mat, and having him do constructive things like uchikomi with the elastic bands, to keep him engaged and active.  I've tried getting him to make conscious choices like, "You have two choices.  You can follow instructions and practice or you can sit down on the edge of the mat.  Which do you choose."  Nothing works, at least not for long.

    I'm kind of at a loss.  Do we have any experts with experience teaching ADHD or autistic students?  I'd like to get some suggestions from you if you do.

    You got the right idea I think, Greg.  A real expert is probably a good first stop.  Did the parent happen to mention if the child was being seen regularly by a mental health professional?  Would he mind, maybe with him present, if you consulted with that person for advice?

    Yes, our club has had the occasional student with this type of challenge.  Some got better over time and went on to higher belts, jobs, etc. Some not ... and those eventually melted away so we don't know the outcome.

    Then ... and this is not an accusation ... there is the parent who has diagnosed their otherwise normal child with the help of Dr. Google.  Those are a source of endless frustration, and while it's not comfortable to quit on a poor kid with parents like that, they can be "a lawsuit waiting to happen."  Asking the parent for contact with a professional is one way to figure that out.

    "I am a good judo teacher, but this is not my area and I want to make sure I have good, personalized advice.  Would you mind it if we both called ... what is the doctor's name again?"


    _________________
    Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
    But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
    When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

    - Kipling

    Cichorei Kano

    Posts : 1948
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    Location : the Holy See

    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:20 pm

    GregW wrote:Hi guys,

    I have a seven year-old student who has given me some behavior problems in class.  He has some very real attention deficit issues and his lack of attentiveness combined with aggressiveness poses a danger to his training partners.  He whines, stomps, throws himself on the ground, attacks his opponents (not with judo), pouts, and sulks.  He refuses to be uke and doesn't follow directions when he's tori.  I communicated this to his father and the father informed me that the boy also has "mild autism."  

    Does anyone have any suggestions about teaching autistic students?  I hate to see him quit, but I don't want him to end up hurting someone because he doesn't listen to instructions.  I've tried time outs, having him run laps around the mat, and having him do constructive things like uchikomi with the elastic bands, to keep him engaged and active.  I've tried getting him to make conscious choices like, "You have two choices.  You can follow instructions and practice or you can sit down on the edge of the mat.  Which do you choose."  Nothing works, at least not for long.

    I'm kind of at a loss.  Do we have any experts with experience teaching ADHD or autistic students?  I'd like to get some suggestions from you if you do.

    I am not an expert in this area but we have special coaching and instructor certifications for teaching judo to various categories of disabled people and I obtained mine earlier this year. It's a serious program that contains both theory and practice and also involved having to do internships in jûdô clubs with groups that consider entirely of mentally, intellectually and several types of physical disabilities. We have extensive course materials and during the period I was doing the course I was also consulting the program and materials that some other countries have, as well as research the scholarly articles and theses that have been written on that. Particularly Germany and Holland have done some serious work in this area. In Germany several master's theses have been written on the topic.

    So, what I am trying to say is that even though I have some experience now in teaching these people and am certified in it, I am not an expert. I do not have my own judo club for disabled jûdôka, nor have I been teaching large groups of people with mental or intellectual disabilities or autism in judo for 10 or 20 years on a weekly basis. However, I do have one or two people with autism in my group, but it is sufficiently mild that they can function in a group of people who does not have that problem. I also have a mentally disabled person in my club among the adults who is training with nondisabled jûdôka. What I have learnt from the course, from my own, experience, and from discussing with people who do have this specific expertise, is that when it comes to disabilities it is important to know the individual and his disability really well, because different individuals with the same disability may have that disability to a different degree and may react in a totally different way.

    Attention to safety is important, attention to hygiene and discipline too; it needs to be clear that you are in charge and that when you say quiet that it is quiet then. At the same time you need to be ready for exaggerated reactions. Raising your voice, even if meant very well can trigger an exaggerated reaction and the person might serious feel you are now very angry on him and be shaken by it, when all you did was just drawing attention.

    Familiarity with the environment and routine are important, and external signals or distractions may have an exaggerated response.

    The major difference with the example you mention is that it is about a 7-old thus someone in the children's division. I teach our children's division on occasion if their sensei can't make it and the other one can't either. We have kids with behavioral problems and autism too, but because they are not my group I am not familiar with their exact condition. I also teach yearly clinics for children in other clubs, where there have regularly been children with such problems. One thing I do is to make clear to them that I do not and will not shout during my classes. I explain to them that when I speak they shut up and listen, and I tell them that if they do what I say they will have a pleasant time and if they don't then they won't.

    I perceive that many children who behave erratically seek attention. I try to make clear to them that I will devote attention to them if they simply do what they say. If they try to disturb the class by doing erratic thing I tend to completely ignore it. An attention seeker who fails to attract attention in most cases will cease his attempts since they don't work. Not always, as it depends on the degree of their disorder. What strikes me though is that in most cases these are not bad kids, and by showing them kindness and attention and talk to them like they matter before and after class, they tend to behave better.

    Something else that I want to mention, and that is probably controversial, but realize that I write this from an honest jûdô point of view and not to start a row. With a considerable time in jûdô I have learnt that there is a much, much nonsense in terms of history, training, etc, so I have always wanted to deepen my knowledge and dig as deep as possible to learn what jûdö is really about, what the history of jûdô really is, what techniques, kata, etc, really are, and that much of this information you won't find in federation where there often is a dislike for intellectual study. When researching jûdô for children, I was struck by the studies all showing results totally different from what jûdô federations tend to claim, and that jûdô had an outspoken negative effect on the socio-psychological development of children in terms of increased aggression, lower social skills, negative body image when having to deal with weightclasses and failing to make weight, etc. As studies were extended or expanded, and longitudinal studies were conducted, experiments were also done with adaptations of training programs, and to put it simply, it was not the jûdô per se that exerted this negative effect but the way jûdô was taught, more specifically, it was the competitive-oriented jûdô training that prompted increased negative effects in the development of children. When, however, type of training shifted towards traditional jûdô training with the term traditional meaning in the sense of Kanô with attention to values, including kata, avoiding shiai, and limit competitive oriented thing such as games, the effect of jûdô training in children in general and in children with behavioral problems specifically, the results became outspokenly negative. There was no need for poor self-image because not making weight for your competition weight class, no long a drive to divide children into winners and losers, etc.

    These lessons I conscientiously apply in working with problematic children, so attention is on jûdô, involving basic things, but also kata, in particular SZKT and techniques from kime-shiki. I avoid formation of cliques among children, I encourage inter-gender participation, which is not always evident among chldren, and I am very careful with games. Virtually all of the games that are typically used in jûdô make the mistake of being competition-geared and again dividing people up in winners and losers. I try to imagine how it is if one is not strong, not fast, overweight, not the smartest, etc, and what game can be used that won't further stigmatize the kid who is not the ubiquitous winner. Jûdôkata tend to make the big mistake of taking only themselves as an example. We are the ones who stayed, who made it, who are blackbelts, instructors, woohooshidan-holders; these are not the ones who concern me. Who concerns me is all those others I started jûdô with and who have long quit; all the others in whom I have put time but who quit, all the others who accompanied me to contests and who saw me and wanted to do the same but who lost one fight after another and lost all self-confidence and dropped out. Those are the ones that matter, and those are the ones who conveniently are absent in the statistics of judo federation, because they are of course no longer members.

    Children with behavioral problems are almost per definition pushed in that direction, so we must do even more to prevent them from becoming forgotten numbers, people who only lose, drop out and who will not make it. We can make a difference in there and doing so is our moral duty.


    _________________


    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
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    ccwscott

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    Join date : 2013-01-31

    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by ccwscott on Thu May 15, 2014 10:17 am

    that sounds like things have just gone too far, I would have the kid take a break and maybe come back in a few years if his temper is more under control. I believe very strongly in the inclusiveness of Judo, but you also have to think about the safety of other students. If a kid wants to learn to drive a car, it doesn't matter what excuse he has, if he can't do so without running over pedestrians then he can't be allowed to drive, period. If you want to do Judo you have to not violently attack other students.

    There's a happy middle ground for these kinds of decisions for sure, but attacking other kids is over the line for me.

    Raj Venugopal

    Posts : 120
    Join date : 2013-01-21

    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Raj Venugopal on Thu May 15, 2014 11:42 pm

    [quote="Cichorei Kano"]Attention to safety is important, attention to hygiene and discipline too; it needs to be clear that you are in charge and that when you say quiet that it is quiet then. At the same time you need to be ready for exaggerated reactions. Raising your voice, even if meant very well can trigger an exaggerated reaction and the person might serious feel you are now very angry on him and be shaken by it, when all you did was just drawing attention.


    I have 3 kids in judo and help the instructors who run the kids class, which I have done for about 5 years. During nearly that entire time, there has been one child who is autistic whose attention is difficult to hold, and there are other aspects which I will not go into for brevity's sake. But the hygiene and discipline issues mentioned by CK caught my attention and prompts this post. This kid picks his nose and licks his fingers a lot. In getting this child to wash his hands afterwards I have had to engage his parent, who is usually off mat. He hides and runs away when he senses discipline coming, so I advise his peers to not partner with him sometimes for sanitary reasons. Over the past year this behaviour has subsided, for which I am happy. Otherwise, his judo has improved marginally but his personal development has certain improved. He's generally better, and we give him a bit of latitude (i.e. he drifts around from time to time). He is an affectionate fellow and of nice spirit. He is very competitive and we have to make sure he is doing what he is told, and in a safe manner. He fixates on certain techniques (seio-otoshi in particular) and it is hard to take him off this and play with other techniques. He does not like to be physically guided. He is keenly aware of whether he has scored a yuko, waza-ari or ippon, and always asks if he has scored or whether he has won a match. When he is digging in for a throw that is based more on strength than having captured the other's kuzushi (he's still young), he is 100% committed and works quite hard to get the throw in... one might say he becomes quite fixated. Last point- he does not like the hard physical work that his peer group are starting to do more of... burpees, foot speed drills, pushups, jumping jacks, box sits, etc... Sometimes we try to engage him, other times we let him be unless he is disturbing others. I think the general approach is to give him time on the mat in a positive or neutral way... we leave the discipline to the parents or only in cases regarding hygiene or some danger to other students. My thoughts are quite scattered on this... sorry... but hopefully it gives some perspective into working with an autistic kid in judo.

    Raj Venugopal

    Posts : 120
    Join date : 2013-01-21

    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Raj Venugopal on Thu May 15, 2014 11:47 pm

    PS-at one shiai this kid got a bloody mouth from a cut lip. He came over covered in blood (minor cut), as the ref wanted us to clean him up. As we did so, we asked "are you OK?" He says (with some of our senior sempai watching "yes... but... am I winning?" We say "yes, you're winning." He says, "can I keep fighting?" We say, "yes... go get him." It was great. And to the point about having a moral duty to help kids be their best, it was (and remains) very fulfilling to see this kid generally get better month after month. There is something in every kid, no matter how buried under such behavioural conditions, that is special and worth nurturing.

    BillC

    Posts : 806
    Join date : 2012-12-28
    Location : Vista, California

    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by BillC on Fri May 16, 2014 3:05 am

    Raj Venugopal wrote:...

    Thanks, Raj. I could have done without that story at breakfast ... moderator where is that pukey smiley when you need it?


    _________________
    Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
    But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
    When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

    - Kipling

    Raj Venugopal

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    Join date : 2013-01-21

    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Raj Venugopal on Fri May 16, 2014 4:43 am

    Ha ha! Like that's even close to the grossest thing you've likely seen on a mat! ; )

    BillC

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    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by BillC on Fri May 16, 2014 4:46 am

    Raj Venugopal wrote:Ha ha! Like that's even close to the grossest thing you've likely seen on a mat! ; )

    You are right, but I won't elaborate ... Laughing 


    _________________
    Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
    But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
    When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

    - Kipling

    Steve Leadbeater

    Posts : 183
    Join date : 2013-02-26
    Age : 60
    Location : Sydney Australia

    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Steve Leadbeater on Fri May 16, 2014 10:40 am

    Last session at Traditional JuJitsu, a Mother brought a young chap along to watch....with the intention of possibly joining the classes, the Father had done the same thing with the Daughter the previous week, but the girl couldn't be bothered to put down her iPhone and take the buds out of her ears....turns out she was not really interested because there were no girls there to talk to.........."you ain't here to talk Honey, you are here to learn"!!

    We were informed that the boy (17yrs....turns 18 in a week or two) has a mild form of Autism....not certain how mild....Chief Instructor cannot remember the **Double barrelled/Hyphenated** name of the condition and I didn't ask.

    It seems that he has "studied Martial Arts in the past" and actually got graded to "Yellow Belt in Kung Fu" when he was much younger............(I tried not to raise my eyebrows upon hearing this)

    After discussions with the Mother, it was agreed that this chap may be better off attending my beginners Judo class just to see how he gets along with others in a less advanced situation than a TJJ class full of Dan grades and 1st Kyu students.

    He will not be the first student I have had with "Personal Issues" and will probably not be the last, what I have found in the past that works for me, is,......Be Firm....Be Clear with your instructions....Be close by to correct errors....Be Calm....and above all....BE READY FOR ANY ADVERSE REACTIONS.

    If this young bloke turns up, I'll get back to this page and inform you all of his progress.

    Steve Leadbeater

    Posts : 183
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    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Steve Leadbeater on Mon May 19, 2014 10:10 am

    OK...So Mum brought him along..................................

    Not an easy task........

    I left my Seniors to fend for themselves after explaining about our new friend, and took personal charge of introducing him to the fun and games that beginning Ukemi can be.

    After explaining very carefully why we perform Ukemi, we spent quite a bit of time slowly getting ready to do a forward roll, a backward roll, rear side breakfalls from the sitting position and backward breakfalls from a sitting position...............usually with a large explanation each time why that action was different from the previous action.

    Yes, there was a little dizziness on his part and a couple of complaints about the mats being hard......until he remembered to keep his chin tucked in !!

    As long as he keeps returning, I'll keep persevering............even if he never makes the cut as a Judoka, I'll try to ensure his physical fitness level increases, it's the least I can do, afterall..... HE selected me, I didn't pick him.

    Hanon

    Posts : 537
    Join date : 2012-12-31

    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Hanon on Mon May 19, 2014 10:23 am

    GregW wrote:Hi guys,


    I'm kind of at a loss.  Do we have any experts with experience teaching ADHD or autistic students?  I'd like to get some suggestions from you if you do.

    Yes. Are you prepared for the answers though? I have been thinking about writing an answer on this thread since the day you wrote it. I am VERY unsure if what I would have to write would be understood or welcome by many genuine kind teachers.

    This is not a simple question. The last thing I would desire would be to cause possible offence to our members here.

    Kind regards,

    Mike


    _________________
    WARNING. I write as a pupil of judo. what I write should be researched by the reader and not accepted as in any way factual or correct.

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge" S Hawking.

    Udon

    Posts : 113
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    Location : Minnesota

    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Udon on Mon May 19, 2014 12:21 pm

    Hanon Sensei, a number of forum members have had to interact with autistic children in the dojo and all opinions help.
    Your thoughts on this subject would be most welcome.

    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Mon May 19, 2014 12:45 pm

    Udon wrote:Hanon Sensei, a number of forum members have had to interact with autistic children in the dojo and all opinions help.
    Your thoughts on this subject would be most welcome.

    I agree. Even unpopular and dissenting and controversial view are encouraged as part of a good discourse that adheres to forum rules, and in which people should commit to remaining civil in the interest of increasing our learning. Go for it !


    _________________


    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."

    Steve Leadbeater

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    Age : 60
    Location : Sydney Australia

    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Steve Leadbeater on Tue May 20, 2014 9:43 am

    Please Mike Sensei, your contribution would be of enormous benefit.

    Hanon

    Posts : 537
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    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Hanon on Tue May 20, 2014 12:46 pm

    I have no idea where to start.

    I am NOT going to write on autism and other such syndromes, I think the reader can research such things themselves.

    Here is the hard line. We are judoka. Some of us are judo teachers. It is the 'done thing' to accept challenges as a teacher.
    It is kind and compassionate to help others especially those who are in some way challenged. It is the creed of bushido.

    Hell. So much to write. There are degrees of autism, there is a spectrum and again this spectrum is best researched by the reader. My point is there are degrees of autism ranging from 24-24 hour supervision to the less severe end of the spectrum.

    Autism is not well understood by any of us health professionals. The autistic patient is part of a complete heath team consisting of Neurologists, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers and numerous other medical staff as each individual case warrants. This team of highly trained and skilled professionals meet regularly in case conferences to monitor each individuals progress.

    I am not going to make a blanket statement and write that no child with autism should be taught judo. IF, and its a major if, the judo teacher is a health care specialist who can form part of a team that monitors the individual then MAYBE some help and support MAYBE appropriate. This is on very much an individual case by case scenario.

    Good intentioned people can and do do more harm than good. I mean no ill will at all when I write that. The child who is challenged with autism needs very special care and considerations. It is always a large team approach.

    Who has a dojo where one to one teaching is possible? What sensei is going to make the time to become part of a team that can meaningfully support such a pupil? With all the good will in the world more harm can be done teaching a full contact martial activity to one who is challenged in this way.

    Like it or not, accept it or not time and intense supervision is needed when supporting such cases. How many hours a week do most teachers teach there class? How much supervision is needed to ensure a safe environment for all pupils.

    Insurance................ Accident............court case......Our peer, the OP, has mentioned control problems and even violence toward other pupils. Is it wise to teach such a full combat activity to a person who has such control problems? Autism cannot be cured. There will be more lucid times and times when crisis occur.

    Other members in clubs have also to be considered. They also need support, they also pay mat fees. Wow this is sounding as if I am material and uncaring when in reality it is the total opposite.

    Look, IF a parent brings a child who is challenged in this way then I suggest the sensei requests to speak with a professional from the team who are supporting the child. To do otherwise is placing the individual at risk, the other pupils also the teacher. I am so sorry to be the one who writes this post.

    I have dedicated my entire professional life to professionally treating others. Some times a judo club can be a major part in the role of supporting some pupils who are faced with challenges. Autism.....mmmm, each individual is different as we all are without this exceptional added challenge.

    I think the bottom line is if one has the infrastructure and club to offer some support then the sensei could join the team of carers. Only the sensei will know how this can work. IN the OPs case I would NOT under any circumstances allow that child on my tatami. Not because I don't care but because I do!

    So sorry to be so blunt and generalise so much. Very few autistic children will be able to take benefit from a general judo dojo. The risk V the possible benefits are just too high and in this time of litigation a judo club teacher, most unfortunately, simply has to protect himself as best he or she can. Selfish? No. Its just reality and we have to live with it or be prepared to accept responsibility if things do not go to plan.
    We have to know our own limitations and that of our dojo or we can add to the burden of those we teach and care about. Please also remember a club is a membership so all concerned have to work together as a team or the club will lose members.

    Most difficult post I have ever had to write.

    Mike


    _________________
    WARNING. I write as a pupil of judo. what I write should be researched by the reader and not accepted as in any way factual or correct.

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge" S Hawking.

    Steve Leadbeater

    Posts : 183
    Join date : 2013-02-26
    Age : 60
    Location : Sydney Australia

    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Steve Leadbeater on Tue May 20, 2014 12:59 pm

    Thankyou Mike Sensei...

    I understand your concerns and your position on this subject.


    **REI**

    Raj Venugopal

    Posts : 120
    Join date : 2013-01-21

    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Raj Venugopal on Wed May 21, 2014 4:41 am

    There's actually a lot to Hanon's post that perhaps we should think more about moving forward. Thoughtful stuff. The large team related points got me thinking about how and whether we are a part of the larger effort to maximize this child's development, or if we are doing things in a way that hinders. I think Judo Canada should think about this in the context of the national coaching certification process. Perhaps they already do... I'm still on a steep learning curve and a kids class mat helper... with lots to learn myself...
    Very educational thread.

    tafftaz

    Posts : 330
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    Age : 51
    Location : Wales, UK

    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by tafftaz on Wed May 21, 2014 9:18 am

    I have 2 children on the mat. One with aspergers syndrome and one at the low end of the autistic spectrum. I also have a 20 yr old on the mat whose autism is not quite at the lower end and also has mild learning difficulties. All 3 participate in their respective classes with no extra treatment.
    All 3 get on with the classes and other students just fine.
    I have a reputation as being a strict,disciplined coach. Whether people like it or not I do not really care. That is the way I was brought up in judo. We as a club have a large membership. We also have 7 level 1 coaches who assist me.
    However not one of us is especially trained to coach judo to anyone with disability. Mild cases like the ones above can fit into a "normal" class without too much bother. The students are treated exactly the same as anyone else. They misbehave, they get a bollocking. They excel, they get praise.
    I have turned kids and adults away with more severe disabilities as I am in no position to teach them. We cannot give too much preferential treatment too any one individual due to time restraints and class sizes.
    There are some wonderful judo coaches in the UK who specialize in coaching judoka with various disabilities with fantastic results. These guys have the training for it. I do not.
    As for governing bodies funding coaches and clubs to take on judoka with more severe cases, well I for one would not do it. Time restraints and class sizes have been mentioned above, but I would not be able to free up any extra time in my life to attend specialist courses,extra first aid courses,and whatever seminars would be required for me to coach such conditions.
    It might not be the Budo way but I have to be honest with myself and my club. Mild cases are ok. More severe cases I would and have personally said no.
    As for ADHD, while it might be a genuine condition for some, most parents seem to use it as an excuse for their lack of parental skills.

    That is my own personal experience and opinion. People will not agree with it I know but that is the way it is.

    Humbly yours

    Tafftaz
    (Phil Craven)

    Stacey

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    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Stacey on Wed May 21, 2014 2:18 pm

    I'm wondering where the healthcare provider waiver comes in in all of this. I usually require the healthcare provider to sign off when a prospective student has a particular issue ranging from epilepsy to autism to heart conditions to mental health conditions. If their healthcare providers are fine with the activity, then I'll start teaching. The moment I think there's a problem with safety that can't be worked around, then I may lower the boom and not teach a student. But first, I want that medical waiver.

    Ryvai

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    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Ryvai on Wed May 21, 2014 6:02 pm

    GregW wrote:Hi guys,

    I have a seven year-old student who has given me some behavior problems in class.  He has some very real attention deficit issues and his lack of attentiveness combined with aggressiveness poses a danger to his training partners.  He whines, stomps, throws himself on the ground, attacks his opponents (not with judo), pouts, and sulks.  He refuses to be uke and doesn't follow directions when he's tori.  I communicated this to his father and the father informed me that the boy also has "mild autism."  

    Does anyone have any suggestions about teaching autistic students?  I hate to see him quit, but I don't want him to end up hurting someone because he doesn't listen to instructions.  I've tried time outs, having him run laps around the mat, and having him do constructive things like uchikomi with the elastic bands, to keep him engaged and active.  I've tried getting him to make conscious choices like, "You have two choices.  You can follow instructions and practice or you can sit down on the edge of the mat.  Which do you choose."  Nothing works, at least not for long.

    I'm kind of at a loss.  Do we have any experts with experience teaching ADHD or autistic students?  I'd like to get some suggestions from you if you do.

    It sounds to me like this kid could have Aspberger's syndrome, which is a mild form of autism. My brother has it, and was basicly showing all of the above mentioned behaviours. Many doctors give this diagnosis way too late. It might be clever to check it out.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome

    Have you tried finding out what motivates this kid? I've heard success stories of sensei teaching kuzushi by imagining a skateboard under their feet and telling them their center of gravity should not exceed the edge of the skateboard etc. If this kid loves something, try explaining what Judo can do to improve that particular interest. Like improving your skateboard balance, etc.

    NBK

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    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by NBK on Wed May 21, 2014 6:22 pm

    A lot of food for thought in these posts on a serious topic.

    We had a large kid at a Japanese dojo - peaceful as a lamb for weeks, then almost uncontrollable, and big enough to really hurt the other kids and even some adults. The senior sensei, a former cop, tried everything, far beyond what I'd have put up with, reasoned with him, scolded him, talked to his parents, talked to the facility management etc etc. Finally told the parents not to bring him back - I think they hoped we'd discipline him some but even in Japan very few want to risk that.

    I always wonder what I'd do if someone I thought I was doing a favor hurt themselves or others seriously.

    Serious info on a serious question. Stacy and Hanon really bring home some hard facts - if you ignore these factors (and doubtlessly others) in this day and age you could risk the dojo and yourself, as well as others.

    Leave it to the pros is probably where I come down.

    NBK

    Hanon

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    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Hanon on Wed May 21, 2014 10:37 pm

    So long as all is going well in a dojo parents will be fine, some may well even be genuinely gratfull for the help we offer in our teaching. after all judo does instil self esteem, self discipline and respect for others. Then one day a child gets hurt and those nice parents who we have sat and had a coffee with will turn and can make the life the dojo and teachers hell. This is speaking about the average dojo with average pupils.

    One cannot expect a person challenged with Autism to understand the world as we see it this is what makes the autistic person autistic, their perception of reality is often-generally 'different' to reality. You simply cannot and should not even try to hold the same expectations of a child with autism as a child without this challenge.

    One of THE core elements in teaching a full combat activity is to instil in the pupils the value of discipline and respect for others this generally develops though the child's growth in empathy.

    Autism needs very careful and highly specialised diagnosis and by the way it is a highly contentious point to write that Asperger's syndrome is a mild form of autism. This could get highly complex and I am not going to start to offer lectures on this subject.

    I deeply respect the work Tafftaz does in his dojo, no question. I would have to question the wisdom of treating an autistic child in the same light as a child who is not challenged this way. I am not being unkind, I am very well aware that it is the decent educated thing to treat all people in the same way. Reality is a different concept though and to place a person with Autism into a judo club and not monitor them in a very carful way could be disastrous for all concerned.  This is why I have suggested from the start that team work is vital to the support of a person so challenged. I have NOT written that autistic children or adults should never be taught judo.

    Taffy you cannot place your self in to the mind of a person with autism. The world is not the same place so what you will see as average concepts like discipline etc will not always be interpreted in the same way by the autistic child. Add to that the behaviour swings that can accompany this syndrome and its a mine field. If you continue to teach a class that involves autistic children you must accept you need to become part of a complete support team and be supported yourself.
    You have no idea how that child performs when not in your dojo, how can you? I would further question the wisdom of any parent bringing an autistic child to a dojo without first involving the teacher fully in the ongoing process of support for that child. So long as things go well you will be fine. Come the day when there is a problem are you qualified to stand in a court of law and testify you knew what you where doing with that child on your mat? Sorry to hit so hard Taff but you deserve my total honesty and care. I have seen so often professionals taken to disciplinary hearings charged with neglect or worse when all they where doing was there job. Who cares for the cares? Bless you for the sterling work you do in your dojo and thank you for caring about those who need special care. Be prepared because the state will not pay your mortgage nor even give you a simple thank you (not that you are looking for one).

    Stacey. Hi. I cant speak for the USA but in Europe such waivers are not worth the paper they may be written on as the child in such cases cannot have their legal responsibility waivered by any adult be that adult parent, guardian not even ward of court.
    professional health care workers face the daily possibility of legal action this is WHY team work and frequent case conferences are held to ensure ALL involved are supported and the burden of responsibility is shared and not placed on one persons shoulders.

    I said from the start that my professional opinions would not be understood nor well received.

    I truly respect and admire those who care about their pupils and teach all who enter their dojo. Please do so BUT with the appropriate support, awareness, protection, supervision and education. Special needs cases are just that. Special needs.

    It has become a very sad hard world we live in where those who actually care and help can end up in serious difficulties themselves.

    Most kind regards,

    Mike


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    WARNING. I write as a pupil of judo. what I write should be researched by the reader and not accepted as in any way factual or correct.

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge" S Hawking.

    tafftaz

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    Location : Wales, UK

    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by tafftaz on Wed May 21, 2014 11:42 pm

    Hanon sensei.
    Your input is very welcome. I agree with all you say and I am certainly not qualified to stand up in court on any issue.
    You are also correct when you say that I have no idea how these students behave when not in the dojo.
    These particular students of mine are at the base level of the spectrum and can take instruction well. The older one with minor learning difficulties did have a more experienced judoka with him every time he used to train. He is no longer doing judo.
    I will defend the way I run my dojo with my dying breath and will always give instruction to those who I think I am able to teach. However you are right in saying that I cannot know how their minds work as I have no specific training in this field, but who has??? Only a small minority that I know of in UK.
    We have coaches, child welfare officers and first aid officers on the mat at any one time. I could not do any more if I tried as I run a business by day and run classes at evenings and weekends. Any support from outside sources would be non existent outside of their family circles. That is the sad state of judo I am afraid.
    I will say however that since these students have started their knowledge retention is better than some of our other judoka. Their behaviour has always been good and they enjoy judo.
    I stated that I have turned people away from our club due to the nature of their disability. I have advised them on a club that I know of that has experience of these matters. The cases that I have allowed on our mat are not difficult to teach. If they were they also would have been referred to the club mentioned above.


    Mike, I love your honesty and I knew that this is a controversial issue when I posted. I am not perfect. Never have been but I try. No matter what you do on a judo mat, there will always be pitfalls. It is how you navigate them that is important.
    I just wanted too share my own experience with the OP to show him that it is not all plain sailing and how support networks are just not there for the average judo class.


    Last edited by tafftaz on Thu May 22, 2014 2:34 am; edited 1 time in total

    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Teaching students with autism

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Thu May 22, 2014 12:39 am

    Earlier this year I completed our special instructor's course for teaching judo to disabled people. Among the dozen or so judo teaching, instructing and coaching credentials, this was the only one I did not yet possess because it did not yet exist in the days I did my other certifications. Instructing and coaching awards are delivered by government in collaboration with the judo federation. By law here the judo federations themselves are not allowed to deliver such courses, which is a great thing that avoids all the typical stuff which judo federations do such as grandfathering in incompetent people who are friends of the president and who ten act as supposed experts to pull nasty stuff on those they don't like or who are more competent then them. No such worry here. The course consisted of two modules. The first module was a general sports for disabled people and consisted of theory courses on the medical, physical, pyschological, social and genetic foundations. This was followed by practical courses in which we were equipped with variety of devices to mimick a number of physical disabilities such as different degrees of blindness and vision anomalies, missing limbs, paralysis, etc. We then had to practice different tasks such as manoeuvering through the building and play a variety of sports, adapted and others. I think I managed to turn over only twice while performing wheel chair basketball, and I was absolutely pathetic during the sprint for wheelchair athletes. This module is identical for everyone who wants to obtain a special instructor's certification for teaching a specific sport.

    Later we attended the courses for the second module, which is specific for each sport, and whicn in my case obviously was judo. We then were taught the theoretical background, limitations, pointers of working with judo with physical, mental, intellectual and social disabilities. This was taught by both people with a background in psychology, and judo instructors who had been working with these people sometimes for more than 20 years. I thought that there was a bit of an emphasis on the competitive aspects of things, so we were extensively taught the different categories of disabled judo athetes and the contest rules depending on the organization, and everything else that dealt with competitive judo for disabled. We were told that the relatively large aspect of the competitive part was due to some of the more advanced concepts or educational aspects of judo not always being in reach for certain groups of disabled judoka, so the practical and fun aspect became more important. For example, in the case of intellectually disabled jûdôka you couldn't just devote time to deep discussions or lengthy lectures about the true meaning of advanced kata. We then had practical work on the tatami with groups of disabled jûdôka (mental, intellectual, visual, physical, also including jûdôka with autism), and this under supervision of jûdô instructors who sometimes excusively worked with these people; the disabled jûdôka oftentimes were their own students.

    After conclusion of these classes we had to do a number of internships. These were divided into two parts: observational internships and practice internships. I think the observations internships are pretty clear. It wasn't just passive watching; we also had questions to complete and had to interact with the teachers and devote special attention to some jûdôka. For the pracical internships we had to develope our own lessons and both assist and lead several work-outs with groups of disabled people (all categories). The jûdô teacher where I did my internships was an occupational therapist who had been working with these jûdôka for over 20 years and he was also the occupational therapist responsible for these jûdôka outside of jûdô so in the mental institution the people were residing at.

    I found the whole experience very humbling, also quite exhaustive due to the attention and concentration it required of us. I am really glad I did this, and this for various reasons. I was glad to be able to focus on jûdô in the through sense of Kanô, that is to contribute to the prosperity of others. You realize that there does exist a jûdô that is different from the jûdô which is preoccupied with "when can I get my next dan-rank" or "how can I make the life of the people I dislike into a living misery".

    I would, of course, not pretend that due to this course or any other certification for that matter one suddenly achieves the ailities of someone who has done a complete university study with years of internships and years of independent responsibility caring for such people, but that being said, I certanly did not learn less by doing the course. But to be fair, one probably should not take me as a typical example either. Most people in the course had only basic judo teaching and instructor's credentials, and did not have extensive medical backgrounds although there was one who was a physical therapist. Most people had quite varied backgrounds though.

    I mention this not to counter anything that Hanon-sensei said, but mostly to see if people have any specific comments, questions or want to share further experiences. The one thing perhaps that is also worth mentioning is that I think in terms of liability I can't really imagine that apart from gros negligence or criminal behavior (e.g. inappropriate touching of disabled people) there would be much legal liability if one has successfully completed such a course; at the same time I want to emphasize that I too would echo that the responsibility of any serious jûdô instructor goes a lot further than simply assuring he is not liable. He or she should in the first place be driven by the well-being of such student.

    In any case, at least people now know that in some countries there exist some relatively extensive jûdô instructors course that target such practice groups. There is, of course, the same caveat as with any jûdô instructor's course. If you have two left feet, you will afterwards likely still have two left feet, and completing any coaching or instructor's award does not suddenly make you a superb technical jûdôka. However, the opposite applies too and being a superbly technical jûdôka or champion does not make you a good or even reasonable instructor, coach or human being.


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