“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. […] Diagnosing ASD can be difficult since there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorders. Doctors look at the child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis. […] There is currently no cure for ASD. However, research shows that early intervention treatment services can improve a child’s development.” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA (CDC)
Calinog et al. (2021) conducted a mixed-methods designed research with three children between 7 and 8 years of age, who met the ASD criteria and they participated in a 7-week Taekwondo program. For qualitative data, the children and their parents completed pre- and post-interviews. For quantitative data, the parents also completed the Autism Social Skills Profile-2 (ASSP-2).
The results showed that “Four themes emerged from the qualitative data: social interactions, physical abilities, community barriers and supports, and intervention feasibility. Overall, the qualitative data highlighted the children’s increased confidence with social interaction, interests in exploring activities, and program satisfaction. Although not statistically significant, the ASSP-2 scores increased for each child after participation in the program” and the study concluded that “taekwondo may promote self-confidence in social and physical abilities, leisure exploration, and participation in children with social interaction skills deficits.” (Calinog et al., 2021).
Every parent needs to support their child’s training as coordination and focus is gained by the child along with enhanced self-confidence, balanced weight loss, and improved academic performance. The advantages also extend to both women and men since it improves emotional health and brings empowerment.
Since 1976, Pacific International Taekwondo has been teaching the traditional art of Taekwondo in the Brisbane area of Australia. All its students, kids, teens, women and men have obtained several benefits.
– Kids have learnt how to cope with daily life
– Teens have learnt how discipline can shape their lives
– Women have abandoned fear and attained mental fitness and physical hardiness
– Men have learnt the connection between the mind and the body besides important life lessons
All this learning helps students to believe in themselves, develop good habits, manage stress effectively and change their lives so that they prosper in their chosen fields. Students of Pacific International Taekwondo have become standouts in their respective careers.
Nonetheless, it is disheartening to know that “In 2015, an estimated 164,000 people had autism, representing about 1 in 150 Australians.” – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)
The recent study of Calinog et al. (2021) mentioned above has concluded that Taekwondo may help children with autism, to gain self-confidence in physical activities and may improve their social interaction skills. In light of this study, enrolling a child with autism in a Taekwondo class may benefit the child. Perhaps, Taekwondo may help in developing the child’s abilities. Obviously, more research in this field is required; however, knowing that Taekwondo may help a child with autism is a good beginning.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Australian Government (2017). Autism in Australia, Web report. Available at: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/autism-in-australia/contents/autism [Accessed on 9 Nov 2021]
Calinog, M., Kugel, J. D., Krpalek, D., & Salamat, A. (2021). The Feasibility of Taekwondo for Addressing Social Interaction and Social Participation in Children. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 9(2), 1-13. Available at: https://doi.org/10.15453/2168-6408.1768 [Accessed on 9 Nov 2021]
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA. (n.d). What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html [Accessed on 9 Nov 2021]