Autism and Self Defense

Discussion in 'Disabled Martial Artists' started by Hazzard, May 21, 2017.

  1. Hazzard

    Hazzard New Member

    Hello all.

    I've been asked to teach some basic Self Defense to a young man on the autism spectrum. Are there any wise tips from this forum before I begin?
  2. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    I'd be teaching him how to recognise a safe place, always carry a phone card or have an emergency shortcut number on his phone.

    Not to walk with headphones on and so forth.

    I'd want to know how literally he takes things, as it's easy to scare someone.

    My boss has a son on the autistic spectrum and if a light is flickering in the house and he say it could blow any minute his son ducks each time he walks under it.
  3. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    I think you need more info about the individual, as autism is a huge spectrum.

    As Simon said, the big wins are actually situational and awareness based, but the fun stuff can be the physical, depending on the nature of this chap.

  4. Hazzard

    Hazzard New Member

    Not incredibly deep into the spectrum, looks and acts .. I don't know what word to use here... non-spectrum?

    My thought is to start with a conversation about what Self Defense means to him. In my mind, its situational awareness, threat recognition, and simple principles he can practice.
    Last edited: May 22, 2017
  5. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    Every person on the spectrum has a unique cognitive profile. There is no "one size fits all" approach. You are definitely making the right start by talking and listing to the student.

    Try contacting National Autistic Society. The link bellow is has guidelines for college/ university support but many of the principles / practices are transferable.

    You should be able to get the contact details for a tutor who would be willing to have a 5 minute chat on the phone to give you some more specific advice.

    you also need to think about the tone of language you use to describe self defence situations. Self defence classes can put a heavy sell on how dangerous the world is. This is not the way to go with a person with Asperger's.

    My personal opinion would be to liken self defence and assertiveness to crossing the road, there is a potential risk, but there are simple steps we can take so that managing that risk becomes something we all do without worrying about it.
  6. kandi

    kandi Valued Member

    I think the term you are looking for is neuro-typical.

    I agree you shouldn't over emphasise risk as this person is likely to take things literally. You may also need to be aware of how much stimulation is in the dojo / wherever you train him. If there are lots of new people, noise, flashing lights etc, it might be too much. Really depends on how far along the spectrum he is.

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