Meet the karate kids

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - YOUR TELEGRAPH - By Joel Lamy [email protected]­me­ Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy

Chil­dren and adults with autism and ad­di­tional needs who strug­gle to fit in with nor­mal group ac­tiv­i­ties are thriv­ing at a new mar­tial arts club which tai­lors ses­sions to their needs.

JoleneParker-White,hus­band Neal White and Jo­lene’s un­cle Master Ian Parker set up the weekly ses­sion around six week­sagoan­darenowl­ook­ing to ex­pand thanks to the rapid take-up of places.

Jo­lene and Neal from Hamp­ton Har­gate are op­er­at­ing at MPSK in Mal­lard Road, Bret­ton, which is run by Ian.

The trio com­bine to put on 30 minute ses­sions on Tues­days from 5.30pm, but due to their in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity the club may need to open more of­ten ev­ery week.

Jo­lene (38) and Neal have four chil­dren with autism and ad­di­tional needs - Char­nella (19), Tay­lor (17), Jake (12) and Ted (8) - and daugh­ter Shantelle (18),

Jo­lene said: “There are no places where chil­dren with ad­di­tional needs, autism and other dis­abil­i­ties can go to be them­selves and let off steam.

“When­ever we go to other groups with chil­dren that do not have spe­cial needs they feel there are not able to fit in.

“Chil­dren with autism tend to have a lot of anx­i­ety, and tend to find it hard to go into places and fit in.

“We wanted to cre­ate an at­mos­phere where peo­ple can do what they want to do, and can be them­selves.

“It helps a lot be­ing with other chil­dren with a sim­i­lar con­di­tion.

“I love the club - it re­ally is re­ward­ing. Chil­dren were so over the moon when they first started. Their lit­tle faces were a pic­ture.

“Par­ents are over­joyed they can fit in.”

The 30 minute ses­sions in­clude pad work and bag work, as well as fun on a tram­po­line and a cool down ses­sion as chil­dren with autism are very hy­per­ac­tive.

One child with spina bi­fida who at­tends is even able to kick while sit­ting on her bot­tom.

Ian opens up the club on his day off, with num­bers grow- ing thanks to the word be­ing spread on Face­book.

Jo­lene added: “The chil­dren and adults with ad­di­tional needs come in, they do pad work and bag work and are just able to be them­selves. The par­ents highly ap­prove and it has been a great suc­cess.

“The mes­sage box is now over­flow­ing, and the class is ex­pand­ing.

“I had an­other 10 start­ing on Tues­day.

“I’m look­ing to get some fund­ing for it. It’s a free class and even­tu­ally we will be ask­ing for small do­na­tions to cover the cost of run­ning the club.

“The chil­dren love it - they ask when they are com­ing back.

“One mum comes from Deep­ing for the class.

“I’ll have to speak to my un­cle to see if he can open on Sun­days for an hour. We would not be where we are now with­out him.”

Some of Ian’s club mem­bers have also do­nated £80 which have helped buy items in­clud­ing bean bags and tram­pettes (mini tram­po­lines).

Jo­lene is tak­ing book­ings for fu­ture ses­sions.

She can be con­tacted on 07469842722.

Staff, par­ents and chil­dren at­tend­ing the ses­sion at MPSK

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