The joint Chief Instructor to the Kent Karate Schools, Shihan Dr Sandra Beale-Ellis 6th Dan (EdD - Doctorate in Education - Autism via the Sheffield Hallam University), MAEd PGCertAS CertEd holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Asperger Syndrome (PGCertAS) via the Sheffield Hallam University in-conjunction with The National Autistic Society and via her special interest in this field, encourages children and adults who have AS to attend our classes. Those with AS will find karate within our Schools highly beneficial and all instructors have been trained by Sandra for AS awareness.What is Asperger's Syndrome?
Asperger's Syndrome (AS) is a form of autism. Like other forms of autism, it is a life long neurological condition which affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people. Individuals with AS are usually considered to have fewer problems with speaking and often are of average, or above average intelligence. They do not usually have accompanying forms of learning disabilities that are usual with other forms of autism. There may be specific learning disabilities associated with the AS such as dyslexia or dyspraxia, or other conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), epilepsy or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Asperger's syndrome is often called a 'hidden disability'. That is, you can not usually tell from appearances that the person has the condition. Characteristics of AS vary from one person to another, but usually include some form of:
Difficulty with social communication: difficulties understanding gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice; have difficulty knowing when and how to enter and leave a conversation and what to say; use complex words and phrases without always knowing the full meaning; be very literal in speech and understanding others' speech.
Difficulty with social interaction: struggles to make and maintain friendships; lack of understanding of social rules, eg, standing too close to another, inappropriate conversation; becoming withdrawn and uninterested in other people, appearing almost aloof; behave in what seems to be inappropriate manner.
Difficulty with social imagination:imagining alternative situations and predicting situations; understanding or interpreting other people's thoughts, feelings and actions, facial expressions or body language; having a limited range of activities and developing passions for collecting or organising things.
Love of Routines:rules and rituals which they insist upon. Changes to the expected may cause anxiety or upset.
Special Interests:may develop an intense, sometimes obsessive, interest in a hobby or collection. Some are lifelong, others short term, usually replaced by a new special interest. These special interests can be utilised and become the focus for study or work.
Sensory Difficulties:These may occur in some or all the senses. The degree of difficulty will depend upon the person. Most commonly, the person is over sensitive or under sensitive. Eg, bright lights, strong smells, loud noises, particular food and fabric textures can cause discomfort, anxiety or pain. Body awareness can also be impaired and therefore bumping into furniture, and obstructions is common, as are fine motor skills, eg, tying shoelaces. Some people with AS rock or spin to help balance and posture, and to alleviate stress.
There is currently no cure or specific treatment for AS. Children who have AS become adults with AS.
Karate & Asperger's:
Karate can be repetitive and this suits the way those with Asperger Syndrome like to learn and process information. It is also fact based and routine is important within the classes. Again this is well suited to AS.
The potential student may wish to visit a class a couple of times before enrolling – to see and get used to a particular environment and become confident with the instructor. This is absolutely fine and we welcome the visit. It gives us a chance to have a chat with student, and parents or guardians beforehand to see how we can help and make the training enjoyable and of benefit.
More about Autism visit the official website of Dr Sandra Beale-Ellis