Martial Arts School Helps Students With Autism

Martial Arts School Helps Students With Autism

After motivating dozens of autistic youths in Hialeah to improve their focus, discipline and socialization, a karate instructor recently launched a training program for autistic youths in Doral, at the Legacy Park coliseum.

Venezuela-born sensei Francisco Santander, 50, a former banker, heads the Exceptional Wellness dojo.

Santander said that one of the key successes of his program is helping his karate students to concentrate for a couple of minutes. When they began, they could barely do it for a few seconds.

“It’s fantastic to see how the kids find a mental oasis through karate,” Santander said. “The kids go from meditating for five or 10 seconds to a couple of minutes. Karate catches their attention, without upsetting them.”

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