Author Topic: Questions about differently abled students  (Read 3092 times)

Offline kfarny

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Questions about differently abled students
« on: January 07, 2013, 11:29:30 AM »
I am new as an instructor. I am now in charge of the basic students.
I really want to get started on the right foot, and have some questions as how best to deal with differently abled students.
I have two in particular that I am having trouble with.  The first student is almost totally deaf. Verbally, he communicates very well. That threw me off at first because I didn't realize that he couldn't understand me unless I was talking right at him. I have a total of eight students on some evenings, so it is hard just to talk to him. I was wondering if anyone has any experience in this area.
The second gentleman is mid fifties, and really unsure of himself. He also has trouble with the difference between right and left.
It is very important to me that these gentlemen succeed.
And I don't really want to treat them different from the other students.
Other than extra one on one time,  does anyone have any suggestions?

Thank you,
Kirk Farnsworth   3rd Degree,  East/West Method Tum Pai
East West Martial Arts, Master Doug Bertrand
Vancouver, Wa.

Offline sifutimg

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Re: Questions about differently abled students
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 12:21:05 PM »
Hey Kirk,

Congrats on being put in charge of the basic students.  Shows your instructor trusts you.

Yes don't treat them any differently as other students for sure.  As for your deaf student, during your instruction place him in a position where he can see you speak or maybe arrange him in a predetermined place on the floor to get to see they can see you speak.  Also you might want to give Sifu Robert Butler a call.  He actually signs.  If you learned a few basic signs like "do you understand", "do you have any questions", "give me some pushup (Hee)", what is the sign for right vs. left hand/foot, etc..  You may know Sifu Robert if not I can help you contact him.

As for you older student repetition is going to be key.  I have had several older students with similar issues over the years and found that muscle memory oriented drills exercises were the most effective for learning the different between right and left hand/foot as well as techniques in general.  This is the only way I know of (maybe other folks have some other ideas) to carve the neural pathways into the brain.  I remember one student in particular who was a roady for many bands and of course did a lot of partying who struggled with remembering anything as well as having confusion with right and left hand/foot.  We drilled and drilled and made some games identifying right/left sides and techniques.  I would ask him to watch others then ask him to identify the parts of a given technique/s and which side things were executed on.  This was using observation to try and help him.  I would make him shut his eyes and have students circle around him then call out left or right where he would open his eyes and students would attack on that side.  By placing some pressure on him know that if he didn't identify the correct side to defend then he would get hit.  Also I would purposely watch the circle when he was in the attacking position where he would have to know he was the person supposed to attack (hope that makes sense). 

The other thing about this for you is it’s a test of patience and creativity in your teaching.  I challenge you to think outside the box in what you can come up with creatively as you move forward in your teaching.  Watch for any frustration, annoyance or the like within you.  Maybe after some time share your experience here on this thread as I am sure it will help others.

Good luck Kirk and hope this helps.

Prof Tim
Grandmaster Tim Gagnier
Student of Great Grandmaster Charles Gaylord & Grandmaster Sid Lopez
Chief Instructor Pacific Wind Kajukenbo
Student Forever
Yamhill, Oregon

Offline Nuno Nunes

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Re: Questions about differently abled students
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2013, 07:56:06 AM »

This will be a good challange for you and has Prof. Tim said, congratulations, since this shows the trust your Instructor have on you.

On the other hand, these are the kind of students that will teach us more, and even if you don’t suceed (assuming that its not 100% in your hands), you will always learn during the process.

Sharing my personal experience, I think you should not treat them the same. You should give them the same opportunity to suceed, but that is diferente. If you have a student that have special needs, if you treat then as you treat the ones that don´t have any special needs, you are giving less to the first ones. You should give all the same opportunity to suceed. Treating all the studendts the same, in our school means to give the students the tools they need to achive the same goals, and not give them all the same attention.

If I have a talented student that only needs one explanation and he understands what I want, I will focus more of my time the ones that don’t have that same ability. The fear the Instructores have is always if the other students will complain because of the amount of attention you are giving to one student and not to them (and this fear gets bigger if we are talking about kids and their parents). This is a problem, not the students complaining, but you as their Instructor allow them to complain. You are the Instructor and you should decide what is best for all of them...

Coming back to the special needs students, I belive and have experience that you should arrange a time, during the training, were you should give special care to the ones that need. In my case, I pick an older student/assistent (diferent every class) to par up with the ones I know need to work more. I belive that the students will apreciate more the fact that we care about their learning process rather then if we are teaching them diferente or treating them diferent. If you decided to use any of this, of course you need to do all of this in a low profile maner, meaning, you should not expose the student need in front of the entire class...but you should make the diference!

Hope I help...

Aloha & Mahalo,
Prof. Nuno Nunes
Prof. Nuno Nunes

Hawaii Kenpo Karate
GM George Lim & Sr. Prof. Patrice Lim
Emperado - Tiwanak - Abad Lineage
Portugal | Europe