I have discussed Kalisha's lack of coordination in other posts, so when her Recreational Therapist suggested a RAD (rape, awareness, defense) class at IPFW (local college), I was, to say the least, hesitant. I thought a class in self-defense would be great for Kalisha, but really couldn't imagine how she would keep up with the instructions.
Many years ago, she tried a couple of classes in karate. One of the problems with anything that involves 'mirror image moves' is her inability to process left and right quickly. I have discovered that many normal people have difficulty looking at someone who is raising his left arm without wanting to raise their right one. Obviously most of our brains work with what we see and not what we hear. In those few classes, she simply couldn't keep up. It was frustrating for her.
Her sister and brother-in-law and their two children in TX, are very involved with Taikwan-Do. (Her sister, Kari, just received her 2nd degree black belt.) When we visited a few years ago, Kalisha wanted to participate in a class as a guest. It was sort of a repeat of the problems of the class when she was 10 years old, but she enjoyed trying.
Anyway, we explored the prospect of the class for a month or more. She was always interested. It was a 4 week class with the fifth week being the 'testing' week. Kalisha was excited and apprehensive, as she is with anything unfamiliar, but she actually left for the first class knowing she would miss a Colts Monday night game. Unbelievable!
She was excited when she returned because she (of course) knew several people when she got there. One was a leader and two were participants. Her rec. therapist did a very good job of preparing the leaders for Kalisha and they stayed with her to make sure she got the moves.
For the next classes, she was supposed to review her moves at home. I was impressed and decided I would not want to be the one who decided to grab her.
When she realized that the testing would be with 2 men in full body protection assimilating a real attack and trying to drag her off to a (pretend) car or somewhere, she was not so sure about all of this. I am not certain if she could not process that it would be pretend or what. Kalisha knows what pretend is, but she never pretends. Even when she was little, she couldn't pretend with her dolls or toys, etc. Things are just too concrete for an autistic person.
*These classes are given all over the country, are inexpensive, and I would encourage every female to take the class.