Is Karate in Your Child's IEP?

Is Karate in Your Child's IEP?

We spoke about afterschool enrichment programs last month and now I’d like to discuss curriculum based programs that may be included in a child’s IEP.

As previously discussed; enrichment programs are a great way to introduce your child to the martial arts while become more social with other children. We all know the key to a successful program is consistency and structure; therefore, having it during the school day is extremely beneficial.

I notice the children I teach in schools have a different outlook on training than those that attend my studio after school. The children in school love and look forward to the change during the school day, while those attending my studio after school dread leaving their comfortable couch, play dates or bowl of chips! So what’s the answer? Is there a better way? There is always a better way but it’s not always the best fit for your child. Then again, that’s why martial arts are really good -- we adapt to every situation and continue to do so. If you have an opportunity to attend a martial arts studio on a regular basis then that’s my initial suggestion. If you can’t then read the many benefits a strong program can bring to your child during their normal day.

So let’s see how children can benefit from a program included in their IEP!

  • Better regulation during the school day
  • Increased focus during school hours
  • Less transitioning to another program
  • Allows adaptations and challenges
  • Reduces the need to add another after school activity
  • Completed in school under a safe environment
  • Monitored by the educating staff of the school
  • School therapists are involved along the way
  • Exercise during the school day!

All children can benefit from an additional opportunity to exercise during their day, and it doesn’t have to be for a long duration. After a few months each child finds so much enjoyment from breathing exercises such as “kea hp” (yelling) that the low tone and endurance issues gradually disappear! This all comes from engaging and redirecting in consist exercise!  Stamina and strength increase as well when the combination of physical education and martial arts emerge into a fun therapeutic activity. Teachers are also noticing behavior changes in those students leaving their classrooms for 30 minutes while returning for an activity that requires extreme focus and concentration.

Not all schools understand the benefits of martial arts instruction and, therefore, won’t take the time to research a program of its kind. Ask your supervisor of instruction or principal if they would consider this opportunity for your school. All it takes is a sample class by an accredited instructor and the rest is history. Often times I have found Occupational and Physical Therapists within the school system having extensive martial arts backgrounds too! ASK!!

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. See you next month with another exciting article.

Photo by PMA

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Written by: Paul Del Sordo, Chief Instructor, Pediatric Martial Arts, Hwang Martial Arts & Wellness and Del Martial Arts LLC See other articles by Paul Del Sordo, Chief Instructor, Pediatric Martial Arts, Hwang Martial Arts & Wellness and Del Martial Arts LLC
About the Author:

Paul Del Sordo started training in the Korean discipline of Soo Bahk Do® Moo Duk Kwan®  in 1986. He earned his 4th degree black belt and Master Instructors Certification in 2003. He began instructing special needs children under the auspices of Saint Barnabas Medical Center’s Pediatric Occupational and Physical Therapy Department in 1995. He now consults special needs professionals and teaches both in schools as well as at his two studio locations.

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