Modern neurological research has shown that physical activity is an effective way to help promote the formation of healthy pathways in the brain. Through the stimulation of the parts of the brain that deal with body awareness, muscle coordination, balance, working memory, and strength, overall brain growth is promoted and connectivity is improved. Physical activity is especially useful for children on the spectrum, as the creation and usage of these brain pathways is imperative for their development and lasting health. Since children on the spectrum often exhibit a wide range of symptoms, effective treatment through therapeutic martial arts should ideally involve a whole body and whole brain approach. This can be accomplished through a unique one-on-one therapy program that incorporates all of the child’s active senses during each session. Auditory stimulation arises during these sessions when music that is specifically designed to stimulate the left and right brain functions is played, while visual stimulation occurs while the child attempts to emulate the instructor. The vestibular system, which controls balance, is stimulated in various ways throughout the session, and this goes hand-in-hand with the proprioceptive system, which senses the positions of different body parts. The sense of touch is frequently employed in the sessions, as the children interact with climbing walls and other objects. As all of these senses are regularly stimulated, used, and familiarized in the child’s mind and body, a therapeutic effect is achieved in the growth and reinforcement of crucial pathways in the brain.
Many people experience difficulty with maintaining attention, controlling their impulses and modifying their behaviors in certain settings. However, the lack of ability to engage in any or all of these actions is a defining characteristic for many children who live with attention deficit disorder, autism, and other similar mental disorders. Cultivating focus, learning to behave appropriately in certain settings and gaining control over impulses are three very important outcomes that children with mental disorders can realize for themselves through the sessions offered at Sensory Taekwon-Do. The mental and physical stimulation offered by our engaging, playful, colorful and active sessions stimulate the parts of the brain that in part dictate how behaviors may be modified and how impulses may be controlled. These same sessions also help children develop prolonged focus that can prove beneficial in many facets of life. By repeatedly participating in our courses and engaging in stimulating activities that involve all of the relevant senses needed to obtain and maintain personal control, students can begin to develop and maintain the important neural pathways involved in improving focus, overall behavior and self-control. Working to cultivate all three of these mental functions can culminate in an overall happier, healthier student who can be better prepared to engage positively with their family and peers. As students learn to follow instructions, interact with their bodies and surroundings, and maintain attention on specific tasks, physical changes are happening within the brain that can result in a much more focused, behaved, and less impulsive personality.
Sensory stimulation is a crucial aspect involved in all of the activities offered by Sensory Taekwon-Do. Children living with all kind of mental disorders can find great benefit in engaging in different types of sensory stimulation, as these kinds of activities are known to help contribute to the development of important brain structures and pathways that play vital roles in fostering health, happiness, and self control. Groundbreaking studies in the neurological sciences have proven that by stimulating the different sensory systems within the body, the brain itself will grow in such a way that many of the symptoms associated with many different mental disorders in children can become mitigated or generally improved upon. The primary sensory systems that are stimulated through our sessions include the sense of vision, the sense of touch, the sense of sound, and both the vestibular and proprioceptive systems. Visual stimulation arises when students attempt to emulate our instructors, while the sense of touch is stimulated through engagement with our climbing wall and other pieces of equipment used during our group sessions. The vestibular system, which is responsible for our sense of balance, is developed extensively through our activities, and the proprioceptive system, which makes us aware of where our body parts are positioned, receives equal attention and stimulation. Our martial arts motor planning/auditory processing therapeutic intervention, the first of its kind, offers a unique and cutting edge approach to sensory stimulation that can work to stimulate all of these sensory systems practically simultaneously. Given that our programs are all highly conducive to these different forms of sensory stimulation, it follows that our sessions are inherently constructive activities for the minds and bodies of our students.
The enriched dojo environment at Sensory Taekwon-Do offers many different activities and programs, both for groups of children and for individual students alike. All of our groups are lead by black belt instructors who have proven experience in working closely and effectively with children who are on the spectrum. Like all true dojos everywhere, we work to teach our students positive methods for enhancing their way of life and spirit by training the body and mind using the physical dynamics involved in the sport of Taekwon-Do. Young children living with disabilities often feel isolated from their peers and hesitant to engage in the kinds of social interactions that would help them form new friendships. The atmosphere of our dojo is designed to encourage children from different parts of the spectrum to engage in positive social interactions that can have a lasting positive effect on their overall development. Our enhanced environment encourages the removal of different kinds of barriers; whether they are physical, communicative, or related to personal confidence, our dojo offers fun opportunities for students to engage and conquer these obstacles. After school classes are available in our safe, fun, and stimulating environment on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4pm to 4:50pm, and we will soon be holding Saturday and Sunday morning courses as well. Our combination of state of the art techniques, technology, and research behind our sessions helps create the ideal dojo environment for children to grow and learn to live positively with themselves.
Taekwon-Do is an activity that naturally promotes the student’s sense of balance and coordination while also offering opportunities for strength training and muscle growth. Coordination is further developed as children become more familiar with their own vestibular and proprioceptive sensory systems, which respectively function as the control centers for balance and body positioning. In the act of developing the use of these systems and a sense of familiarity with the body, the student’s limbs are used in a way that fosters muscle activity and therefore muscle growth. While the practice of Taekwon-Do does not demand high levels of physical strength by any means, an increasing sense of strength within a student’s body can help lead to increased confidence and functionality in the everyday world. Children who are on the spectrum or living with various kinds of mental disabilities can benefit immensely from improved senses of coordination and strength; by becoming more attuned with the way their bodies move and interact with the world around them, a stronger sense of identity is developed as the brain itself develops important pathways. Building up strength and coordination can help create habits that are geared around sustained physical activity, which can result in a generally more immersive and stimulating way of living in the world. The instructors at Sensory Taekwon-Do are all experienced in working with children on the spectrum, and have earned black belts themselves, so they are more than ready to help create a unique coordination and strength training regimen for your child.