Karate as treatment for kids with ADD/ADHD

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Several recent reports show that more kids are being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

A study out of Northwest University shows in 2010 that 10 million U.S. kids were diagnosed with ADHD. That's up from 6.2 million in 2000.

Medication is the most common treatment.

However, there is a place in the Valley that's taking a different approach to helping kids with the disorder.

Peaceful Warrior Martial Arts & Healing Center in Scottsdale is trying to help kids with ADD/ADHD through karate.

Recently, the center launched a pilot program called "Mental and Martial Enrichment," aka MME.

While the karate taught is the same as a regular class, the way it's taught is differently. In a regular class, the kids are taught a series of moves. With MME, they're broken down.

"One step at a time ... because their brains can't retain all of the information," instructor and co-owner of Peaceful Warrior Tiffany Richard said.

Richards said the program was created after she noticed a need -- parents wanting something other than medicine. The 90-day pilot karate class was developed with the help of a clinical psychologist who's been analyzing the data. The program requires a lot of parent involvement outside of class.

Dianne Thomas' 8-year-old step-son, Joel, attended the program. She's seen big changes in him.

"He's capable of managing himself outside of the the house," she said. "When he's in the class, he's able to sit. This is going to sound very simple, but this is reality for these children. An example of bad days ... he was crawling under all of the desks."

The program is accepting applications for the next 90-day course which starts in August. Space is limited.

For more information, visit PeacefulWarriorPhx.com.