While Kieran certainly did not get as much out of karate as Liam, and did not do it for as long, we were open to anything that would help him with focus and attention.
He had great respect for the Sensei (who’s voice you can hear in the video below) and actually found someone to look up to in the young man who appears later in the video (to move one kid back into position).
This young, male instructor seemed to have struggled with some of the things Kieran did when he was younger. He usually smiled when Kieran was hopping around and off balance. If Kieran was not listening, he would talk quietly with him to help him understand what needed to get done. Kieran worked to please this instructor, as he got positive attention from him.
Karate helped Kieran practice compliance, which was one of the things he needed (and still needs) to learn. It didn’t keep him from being his own person or stifle his personality. It channeled it.
We consistently looked throughout this stage of his life for things that would help him learn these skills.
Things that worked: Swimming, karate, legos, K’nex, reading, positive reinforcement.
Things we learned to avoid: Soccer, t-ball, down time, yelling at Kieran, or sharing we were disappointed with him.
Now that he’s older and more sarcastic, we continue to find ways to channel his energy and help him to focus. We also work very hard to find positive ways to acknowledge his work and effort. This is the only way that works with him and keeps him feeling encouraged.