Tag Archives: karate

The Strength for Surgery

Jack group

The goals of our adapted karate program (as are all our free playgroups that are open to children in The Caroline School, Children’s Therapy, Infant Program etc) are physical, cognitive, and social-emotional. In addition to the strength, balance, and coordination that are necessary to complete the movements in adapted karate, children develop friendships, work on following directions, participate in and work as a group, understand others’ differences, and build self-confidence. The culmination of all the students’ hard work is the belt test ceremony. Students who are prepared are invited to show off their skills for their families and a panel of black belts from the community.

Jackson is a star pupil, and has consistently attended our classes for the past several years. He has a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, but not even the braces on his legs can slow him down. While preparing for the upcoming belt test, we learned that Jackson would be unable to attend because he would be undergoing major surgery. Instead of waiting for months of recovery and rehabilitation, the black belt panel agreed to host a special belt test for Jackson before his surgery. Our Sensei, Master Luis Garcia, has always told our clients that if you could earn a belt, you could do anything; that in comparison to the discipline, hard work, and commitment it takes to earn a belt, everything else is easy. Jack beltJackson had shown us already that he had earned his belt, and we wanted him to take that belt, and the strength it represents, with him as he went in for this surgery.

When we asked his mother, she was so excited. She told us that Jackson loves karate and even has his older earned belt and certificate up in his room.

Jackson had his entire support squad with him on the day of his test! His parents, grandparents, friends, therapists, and aunt all came to support this very special young man on his big day. He showed off his improved flexibility and balance with his kicks. He impressed us all with his fast reflexes and good control during blocks and partner self-defense. The highlight of the night, everyone’s favorite part: board breaking. Jackson completed an advanced board break—on a real board, he would tell you—as if it were nothing. He did so well, and he knew it! Jackson was so proud of himself. His family was elated, beaming with pride.

Jack breakIt is through community support that we are able to offer our playgroups which also include dance, music, yoga, art and teen night for free so that all children with disabilities can attend, learn  to socialize, improve the skills they are already working on in therapy and build their self-confidence.   What a gift.

Daryn Ofczarak, M.A., CCC-SLP, Easter Seals Greater Houston, Speech Language Pathologist

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More Blessings!

My name is Liliana and I would like to tell you about my family. My husband and I have been married for fifteen years. We have three beautiful kids, 14, 12 and 5. My oldest daughter, Haley, is what most people call a “special child” and to us, she really is special. Haley was born with cerebral palsy and she is also deaf. Even though it has been a struggle having to spend many hours at hospitals, different doctor’s offices and therapy places, we simply would not be the same without her. We have learned so much from her; she is very persistent, she has never once complained about having to go to a doctors’ appointment. She wouldn’t even complain about a surgery, she would be walking the same day, trying to do things for herself.Astros Velasquez 4

She is very strong and we are so very proud of her. This year Haley started her first year of high school, and even though she is in mainstream classes, she has always struggled to make friends. Because her speech is not very clear, most kids usually don’t take the time to try and make friends with her. For this reason we started looking around to find a place where she could socialize with other kids like her and this is when we found Easter Seals Greater Houston!IMG_7362

Talking to a social worker, she told me about the agency and ALL the services they offer. We started going to the yoga classes and they have been very helpful. Not only because there are other kids she can talk to but, also, because the exercises have been relaxing and it’s she looks forward to it. Her siblings also attend the classes with Haley and they love it too. We are also very thankful because through Easter Seals, we have had the opportunity to attend different events, like Disney on Ice, Dynamo games and our favorite Astros’ games. We always jump to the chance of getting tickets because my kids love going to the games. We are very grateful for these opportunities because it’s not something we could do on our own with a family of five. I’ m so glad we found Easter Seals and also I’m very glad that there are people out there who are willing to share their blessings with kids like my daughter and I would like to say to them that they have put a smile on my daughter’s face and for that, I’m very grateful.  Nest stop Family Day Out, Camp and maybe even Karate!
Happy Holidays!
– Liliana

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