The Irish boxing coach says he is proud of his new academy for children with special needs

Boxing coach Pat Dingle found a new purpose at the High Five Boxing Academy, which he created specifically for children with special needs

They are a place where we or our children can socialize, exercise and let off some steam.

But for children with additional needs, it is not so easy to find a class that adequately combines comfort and sporting success.

This is where the High Five Boxing Academy enters the ring.

The boxing class, currently offered in five gyms across the country, is a dedicated area for children with special needs.

The trainers receive comprehensive and targeted training, the parents assist as SNAs and the children are given a space that is entirely theirs.

It’s the brainchild of Pat Dingle, a former boxing coach from Drimnagh.

“I boxed since I was 12 years old, then I became an international coach for a school team until my daughter came along,” he says.

Before High Five: “I had lost interest in boxing and wasn’t doing what I used to do, I was just working.

“But Patricia rekindled the light in me,” he recalls, referring to Patricia Ryan, a friend and business partner who encouraged Pat to enroll in a course run by Sport Ireland for those with children with special needs would teach needs.

All of the academy’s trainers are specifically trained to support the diverse needs of students

“I feel like things were meant to happen. The Special Olympics were happening at the time and I went to see them.

“I said I would go to Drimnagh Boxing Club with Michael Carruth and Crumlin Boxing Club with Phil Sutcliffe and ask them if they would set up a program for children with special needs at the boxing club.

“When people were winning medals, they were giving each other high fives and I was like…high five,” he smiles. It worked and the boxing club became a reality.

“I think some clubs were a bit scared at the beginning.

“None of us have ever dealt with children with special needs. By creating the High Five (Club), we gave these kids a name, an identity.”

“Many parents were afraid that their children would even go to a boxing club.

“They think, ‘Our kid can’t…’ but now they come to a boxing academy with additional needs – when they go in, it’s their club. It’s for her,” he says.

It’s this commitment that Catherine Kelly values ​​when it comes to her nine-year-old son Billy, who is on the autism spectrum and suffers from ADHD.

“They get their time and if they were with a normal group of kids they would be lost.

“They wouldn’t come in, it wouldn’t be fair to them. But in the club it’s just them and they get priority,” says Catherine.

Jude Coffey gets some practice

Catherine was nervous when Billy started as he doesn’t often get along well with other children.

“But once he gets the gist of it and sees all the other kids, now he literally runs in. He gets up at seven in the morning and boxing doesn’t start until 11:30,” she laughs.

“Now he knows the names of all the children, has made lots of friends and will have his little conversations.

“It also helped him with his confidence. He can say ‘I can do this’ – usually it’s ‘Why can’t I do this?'” she adds.

Oksana Konyk’s two children, Leo and Leah, ages 11 and 10 respectively, are both on the autism spectrum.

Oksana first heard about the club in her community. She is originally from Ukraine, but her children grew up in Dublin.

“We have a group in Dublin 12 that campaigns for help for autistic children. “It’s a parents’ group,” she says, and that’s where the news would first break.

“The children were very excited. We went to the park and there is a boxing club next to the park, and sometimes they would run into the ring and say, ‘We want to do boxing,'” Oksana remembers.

They were among the first members of the High Five Crumlin Club.

“What impressed me most is the friendliness and approachability of all the trainers.

“Especially for parents, it is very important that the individual needs of our children are taken into account, regardless of their fitness level,” she adds.

Coach Clayton Johnston puts Darragh Kane to work

Catherine agrees. “There is no judgment. If he is a little wobbly, there will be no stares or anger from the children or parents. The coaches are well trained and the children don’t feel out of place. That’s why the children go to them, boys and girls,” she says.

There is even a sensory room for any children who might be overwhelmed in the middle class.

It is this care and attention that is at the core of High Five. “Every trainer involved is qualified, everyone has to complete a course at CARA.

“The children are all on different levels of the spectrum, so you have to deal with different types of children. Some kids come in with headphones on because they don’t like noise. Some children don’t like being touched,” Pat explains.

“Some parents say the children they find have much better sleep habits. Her behavior is much better.

“Your fears are much better. And when they go to school, they are like other children,” he adds.

“My children’s contained anger and fear seem to subside and disappear. They hit the pocket and drive away tension, anger and tiredness. When they come home I can see the peace and relief.

“There is a really nice atmosphere in the house on Saturday afternoons!” She laughs.

The boxing academy has benefited not only from a loyal group of members, but also from tremendous community support, with business owners and locals alike pitching in to support the club, providing resources or even candy for a party.

The courses cost €5, but according to Pat this is usually put into a fund for Christmas and Halloween mixers. The trainers are all volunteers.

And Pat is grateful to each and every one. “I’m very proud of it. I still pinch myself sometimes and say, ‘There was a reason for that,'” he says.

And what does he like best about the whole thing? “Seeing the children, seeing their progress and seeing the smiles on the faces of the children and their families. That’s what it’s about, that’s what it was all about.”

Skyred is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button