Martial arts classes help autistic kids gain confidence, strength

Author: Posted on: Sunday, 18 January 2015 22:22 1118 Category: Latest News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. —Martial arts classes aren't for everyone -- the classes are loud, energetic and filled to capacity. But there's a new program being offered for children with autism, and other learning differences aimed at making them confident and strong.



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Arwen Buchanan, 10, can hit the target every time, which is a big change from just six months ago. Arwen is autistic and so is her brother, 13-year-old Logan Buchanan.

More information: Hwang's Facebook page | Hwang's website

Logan started at Hwang’s Martial Arts in 2013, so their mom, Sabine Buchanan, stepped in and began researching adaptive martial arts.

“The beginning was a little rough, so Mr. Buchanan joined in to help and practice and everything. After a few months we saw the benefits and we wanted the same for Arwen, but she has more severe issues physically,” said Sabine Buchanan.

The pilot program Warriors started in August with eight students. Most of the students are on the autism spectrum.

“It was a trial and we told the parents, ‘If you think this is working, let us know and we'll continue,' and there wasn't even a question,” Sabine Buchanan said.

Now there are two sessions every Saturday morning at the studio's Okolono location and there's a wait list.

They hope to open the program to more children with learning differences.

Each class is capped at 10 students, and the setting is quiet and calm, with more one-on-one attention than a typical class.

Sabine Buchanan believes the need for these types of programs is huge and is hoping more parents will feel comfortable giving it a chance.

“There's nothing to worry about, there are no mistakes, no one can fail. We're all just trying, there's nothing to worry about,” said Sabine Buchanan.

Hwang's offers the first four classes for free and donates the uniform to every student.

They're hoping to train more instructors and need funding in order to expand the program.

  • Marnie Sunday, 24 May 2015 10:27

    Whoa, things just got a whole lot easeri.

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