Mixed martial arts fighter trains people with autism

Missouri– MMA fighter and UFC featherweight Alex White is participating in a new kickboxing program for children with autism. The 26-year-old was inspired to take part in Fighting For Autism’s kickboxing program in part because of his trainer Joe Worden, and because of his own experiences with bullying.

At an early age White accidentally drank gasoline that burned his vocal chords and left him with a speech impediment. When the bullying started his confidence took a huge hit that didn’t heal until he took up MMA fighting with Worden.

He told Fox Sports,

“You know how kids are — they try to find the weakest link to pick on. These kids on the spectrum, that’s who they bully, oftentimes. They don’t know how to take care of themselves, and they are an easy target. Alex knows what that’s like. He’s battled bullying and takes it to heart. He likes to take care of kids and they look up to him,”

The classes are free and pair the children, ages 7-12, with their parents who hold their mitts in place. This eases the challenge of dealing with the students sensory issues by having someone their comfortable with close by. According to White, these classes are working wonders.

For more information on Fighting for Autism click here.

Contributed by Audrey L. Hollingshead

Further Reading

Is Karate Helpful for Kids With Autism? – KidsHealth

I work at a karate school with my mom. We have a few kids with autism in some of our classes. How can we meet the needs of our kids with autism? – Andy*.

Kata techniques training consistently decreases stereotypy in …

Mar 22, 2012 … … decreases stereotypy in children with autism spectrum disorder. … Teaching martial arts techniques to children with ASD for a long period of …