In Rhode Island, a karate class was created to help young adults on the spectrum learn social skills to help connect with their peers in the community.

Every Saturday morning participants go to Legacy Dojo to take a karate lesson and engage in storytelling after. A mother of a student told WPRI that her son “is with kids his own age, number one, and Sensei Mike is so great with him, all of them,” Christine Nigri said, “It’s teamwork and patience and they’re learning everything. They’re learning to count in a different language and the culture, and they laugh. They laugh and have a great time.”

The sessions are an hour long and focus on therapeutic recreation through martial arts, according to Caren Skurka, the Autism Project’s Social Skills Groups Coordinator.

Parents from the community are happy about the unique programs and what they provide for their growing children.

The Autism Project started because they saw many children and adults on the spectrum need help in learning how to act in different types of social situations. They often have the desire to interact with others but may not know how to engage with people, or they may be overwhelmed by the idea of new experiences.

For more information on how therapeutic recreational programs impact people with developmental needs follow this link. The American Autism Association provides different therapeutic recreational programs such as Ballet for All Kids and Saddle Up for Autism. We also are able to look for programs in different places just call our Autism Help Hotline.

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