If you’ve kept up with my blogs, you already know the incredible benefits that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu provides for children. As they progress through their training they are acquiring life skills and feelings of accomplishment. There are so many children that thrive in the sport of BJJ but some of the most impacted are those with Autism.
Autism, by definition, is a developmental disorder that impacts one’s communication and social skills. For children diagnosed, they often find themselves challenged in group settings. Team sports are often something that autistic children struggle to partake in. Fortunately, Jiu Jitsu provides a team atmosphere but at somewhat of an individual level. Depending on the severity of Autism in the child, BJJ is a great way to integrate them into more social environments. The team can help support and celebrate their victories but do not need to rely on them for communication as you would in other team sports.
For anyone learning self-defense one of the greatest aspects the art provides is confidence. Most people that I’ve come across in BJJ have expressed their appreciation for how much better they feel about themselves due to their training. Confidence, for Autistic children, is hard to come by. They are often very aware of the fact that they are different from other children and it can hinder the way that they feel about themselves. Through BJJ training, they can gain back a great deal of confidence that they may lose in a classroom or other team sports setting.
Jiu Jitsu is one of the few martial arts that allows for and encourages individuality. Due to the informal and casual environment, children with autism are not as limited to their communication mechanisms as those who practice other forms of MMA. While the disciplinary aspect of other mixed martial arts is beneficial to children, it can pose a challenge for those with autism.
All forms of martial arts can assist special needs kids in their development. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu does a particularly good job at helping autistic students get into social settings and build confidence. It is important that instructors are aware of the impact that they could be making on the life of a student. When people describe those whom the train with, the word family often comes into play. This being said, everyone is accepted with open arms and can expect life lessons to come from the experience.