Lucas the Karate Kid

By Tessa Harding

Brand Engagement Manager

9-year-old Lucas Hillbeck is taking on school with newfound confidence after receiving a Therapy Focus GIVE grant to fund his karate lessons.

Lucas has Dyspraxia which causes him difficulty in coordination and movement, as well as intellectual disability and severe speech delay, which can make concentrating and communicating in a classroom environment challenging.

Lucas first started karate when his mother, Stephanie thought it would be a good accompaniment to his physiotherapy.

“A few years ago when Lucas was really struggling with gross motor skills and core strength we enrolled him in karate, swimming and dancing,” said Stephanie.

Boy kicking leg in air with karate instructor

Pictured: Instructor Glen Philips (L) and Lucas (R)

“We found that as well as helping him physically, karate helped him with discipline and his ability to be confident in his communication with others.”

“His progress has been fantastic so we’ve applied to the GIVE program a few times to keep him coming to lessons. I was so excited to find out that our application was successful this time.”

School of Freestyle Martial Arts Instructor Glen Philips explained how the school had been working with Lucas to assist him in his physical and intellectual development.

“Something we instil in all our students, regardless of ability, is to be confident to communicate verbal commands to those around them when they don’t feel safe, comfortable, or just need more space. The physical practice follows on from there,” said Glen.

“As Lucas learns longer sequences and more complex moves he is learning to increase his concentration and memory, as well as gaining more physical strength. Just like all the other kids here, Lucas is expected to be focusing and showing respect to the best of his ability, at all times.”

With school going back for term one, Lucas is back in the dojo and enjoying karate more than ever.

“Even just from the break over the school holidays we saw a big difference in Lucas’ coordination and behaviour,” said Stephanie.

“Now that school is back we’re hoping karate will continue to develop the skills he’s been working hard on.”

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