Gabe Holden who is now 17 years old is a Great nephew to his Aunt Connie, and a cousin to Robin. Gabe came to live with us in 2016 after his grandma who was raising him passed from liver cancer. Gabe was born with Asperger's, a developmental disorder characterised by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication. Gabe has been in Taekwondo for a little over a year now.
Champions Martial Arts, Master Dillow, and all of the Instructors have been so good with Gabe. Gabe really looks up to them, being that he's never had any strong male role models in his life. When Gabe came to live with us he was very quiet, and didn't have a SELF. He had very low grades in school, he didn't like to be touched or have people in his space. Gabe didn't understand how to socially interact with others. Over the years since he came to live with us we have struggled to help him. It was new to us, as it was new for him. We slowly came about, and things started to change for the better.
We put Gabe into Taekwondo in order to open up his thinking, open him up to the world out there, to help him learn about himself, and others. Taekwondo has been a blessing to Gabe, and to us as a family. Since Gabe has been in Taekwondo his school grades have gone from C's and D's to mostly A's and B's. We are seeing his hard work in Taekwondo transfer to his school learning, and school work. He has found his inner voice and speaks up for himself, and also asks questions. Gabe has found his smile, and is learning wonderful social skills with Taekwondo. He has opened up and grown so much. His touching and space issues have become almost non-existent.
Joshua Kaufer - Autism Testimony
Posted: April 30, 2019
Our son Joshua Kaufer (8 years old) started taekwondo 15 months ago. At 3 years old Joshua was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and delayed speech. His biggest challenge has been verbal communication with peers and adults and judging social situations and interactions. He struggled in school to communicate basic needs to his teachers as well as understanding and being able to follow multiple step directions. He has always had a hard time making friends and playing with others his age. Joshua has a difficult time verbalizing his thoughts to others and will get frustrated and hit his head; most people don't understand that behavior and tend to keep their distance once they have seen it a few times.
We started Joshua in taekwondo because we were looking for something to help him be more social in a low pressure setting, as well as the physical attributes that taekwondo brings. Joshua having to face bullying as he grows up is something that we think about and want him to know how to defend himself and to know his worth. A friend of Joshua's from school invited Joshua to a buddy day class and we were hooked.
Since starting taekwondo, Joshua's overall attitude has improved. He has more coordination, he is more confident, his school work has improved, and most of all he is coming out of his shell. He still struggles with communication daily but he has come so far. Joshua was very limited in his speech until he was four years old, so to see him in class raising his hand to answer questions in front of everyone or at a tournament in center ring or bowing everyone in, it is like he is a completely different kid. Josh has done so well in all aspects of his life since starting taekwondo. He is better able to process and handle his emotions and has started to get comfortable with regulars at the studio.