Social Skills

.....................................................................................................................................................................................

 

One of the most important elements emphasized in our program is the development of social skills. Having been involved in teaching this valuable skill to others since 1997, Sensei Wayne is not only adept in his understanding of its importance in everyday life and his ability to teach the skill, but the methods in which he employs to teach his students has produced remarkable results. With many years of refinement and practice, his ability to teach martial arts and social skills to his students has allowed them to grow into confident and mature individuals.

 

So why are social skills so important to him? Given our everyday experiences, we have learned to teach ourselves the proper ways to interact with others. So why is it important to facilitate this process at a clinic? The answer revolves around the difficulty in social interaction for certain people. Not everyone can learn and grasp concepts as easily as others. At Karate For All, almost all of our students have autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other developmental delays which makes it difficult for them to learn this skill. With emphasis on autism, one of the most significant problems lies within social interaction.

 

One of the difficulties, of course, falls under language and communication. But another issue entailed with autism seems to be the inability to read others--or in other words, the inability to predict or guess what another person may be thinking or feeling. For the average person without any developmental delays, reading someone or predicting their feelings is accomplished by observing their tone and body language--something that can be learned without formal training. As for people with autism, this is comparatively much more difficult.

 

For people with autism, not being able to take note of the way others act and behave may cause social problems. Without understanding why, people with autism may accidentally hurt feelings, find it difficult to maintain relationships, ask inappropriate questions, and may be subjected to teasing and bullying. Given these observations, this is why Sensei Wayne has taken the initiative to instill these important skills into all of his students regardless of whether or not they have a developmental delay.

 

So how does Sensei Wayne accomplish this? Certainly it is difficult given that teaching social skills is achieved entirely by communicating with him and other students. The answer lies within the numerous methods he has developed and refined over the years. The key is the group recreational setting that fosters natural peer interactions. His students are often paired up or grouped together in team activities in which the students are encouraged to speak to each other, cheer for each other, and help one another when needed. The one notable factor that puts his program far in front of other programs is that his methods are coupled with martial arts. Through the practice of the traditional Japanese martial art known as Karate, he utilizes all the formalities and traditions from the martial art as well as the culture. Respect, tradition, acknowledgement of your peers, eye contact, manners, and more are all important. Lastly, all of these aspects are emphasized and incorporated into his activities which is why he has excelled in helping all of his students learn social skills.