Sports and Leisure Industry Today

Partnership will benefit children with Asperger Syndrome and autism

Kent Karate Schools and The Marlowe Academy in Ramsgate, Kent have entered into a "partnership of excellence" to open an integrated karate club for local children and those with Asperger Syndrome and mild autism at the academy.
Published 12 October 2010

Kent Karate Schools and The Marlowe Academy in Ramsgate, Kent have entered into a "partnership of excellence" to open an integrated karate club for local children and those with Asperger Syndrome and mild autism at the academy.

A member of the National Autistic Society, Kent Karate Schools (KKS) uses specialist teaching methods to educate children with and without Asperger Syndrome and mild autism in karate. The tie-up with The Marlowe Academy, a rising star in education provision, further cements the links the academy has built with the community.

Joe Ellis, chief instructor of KKS, who himself has Asperger Syndrome, says:

"It is clear from the enthusiasm for the club from The Marlowe Academy that the new initiative will represent a partnership of excellence between the academy and KKS, offering specialist karate education to children from the local community who can gain a genuine benefit from the club.

"From my own experience, I know the benefits karate and other martial arts can have for anyone with Asperger Syndrome or autism.

"We are extremely encouraged that the academy is providing their perfectly-suited facilities and are embracing our karate classes."

Participants of the new club, which opens its doors on Tuesday 2 November 2010, will have the benefit of an exceptionally high level of expertise in teaching methods.

Alongside chief instructor Joe Ellis will be Sandra Beale-Ellis, assistant chief instructor. Not only has the club been teaching children karate from the age of five onwards since 1983, but over the past 21 years, Sandra has used educational teaching methods normally found in schools to teach karate, resulting in a broader and well-balanced method of coaching.

A qualified teacher, Sandra also has a MA in Education from the University of Kent. Her educational background has shaped the way KKS teaches. As if that wasn't enough, she is studying for a Doctorate in Education, specialising in autism in sport and recreation at the Sheffield Hallam University from where she has already gained a post graduate certificate in Asperger Syndrome.

Sandra and Joe also play prominent roles in the National Association of Karate and Martial Art Schools (NAKMAS), a national governing body, which itself is committed to a high standard of inclusion initiatives for children and adults alike. Joe is chair of NAKMAS while Sandra is National Director of Operations and Lead Equality and Quality Manager.

Sandra says: "A quarter of the children we teach have been medically diagnosed as having Asperger Syndrome or some level of autism on the spectrum. We have the experience and the know-how for the new karate club to teach in an integrated setting.

"Most importantly, karate and martial arts, as with many sports, are important in helping children with Asperger Syndrome or autism in overcoming the challenges they face. It also provides a good way for children with and without those challenges to participate in something they enjoy together.

"KKS is delighted that The Marlowe Academy is not only accommodating the new club, but also embracing an important initiative for the community it serves."

Ian Johnson, Principal of The Marlowe Academy says:

'We have any number of links with community groups making use of our excellent facilities. I'm particularly excited about this one.'

Dr Luke Beardon, Senior Lecturer, Autism Centre at the Sheffield Hallam University says:

''There are numerous reasons why this initiative should be applauded, amongst them the myriad of reasons why martial arts can suit so many people with a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome or autism. The highly structured style of the art, alongside clear routines and instruction, the onus on self discipline, and the opportunities to work alongside others as opposed to having to work directly with them can all be reasons for individuals on the spectrum to feel comfortable in the martial arts arena.

"Self confidence is often found lacking in children on the spectrum, and anything that aims to subjugate this is very welcome indeed. The combined expertise of Joe and Sandra will be a huge strength of the club, and I have no doubt that those accessing it will flourish under their tuition."


Notes to editors:
For further information contact:

Kent Karate Schools
Chief Instructor
Joe Ellis
PO Box 262
Herne Bay
Tel: 01227 370055 / 07976 736404
Fax: 01227 370056

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