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Family shares how taekwondo helped child with scoliosis

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Posted at 5:37 PM, Dec 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-11 18:37:55-05

During her martial arts class, you could see Kaitlynn Marland smiling and practicing her techniques just like the other kids, but it hadn't always been this way. 

"She was diagnosed with scoliosis," said Andrew Marland, Kaitlynn's dad.

"So basically scoliosis is the curvature of the spine," said Emily Bechdol, doctor of physical therapy at Select Physical Therapy.  

"It would really mostly throb, and sometimes it feels like it's just poking my neck," said Kaitlynn. 

Kaitlynn is also autistic.

"And so she has a lot of social issues," said Andrew. 

Kaitlynn said scoliosis and autism can make life difficult

"Get a little too mad, I'd cry. Somebody would hurt my feelings, I'd cry. I just was really sensitive," said Kaitlynn. 

"She would have fits. Like, throw down, knockout fits. And she just couldn't control herself," said Andrew. 

When therapy couldn't help, her parents said their next option was martial arts. 

"My wife was in taekwondo when she was young, and she kind of saw that it would help her," said Andrew

Her family said it has changed everything for her.

"When she started the class, she could barely walk without tripping over her own feet, losing her balance," said Andrew. 

"Taekwondo has benefited her very well. I think the benefits for her have been the balance. She has balance, a lot more balance than she did before. She can stand, and her legs are getting stronger," said Larry Weeden Jr. from Weeden Taekwondo University. 

Experts agreed techniques like these can go a long way for scoliosis patients.

"So with taekwondo and karate, judo a lot of times we'll send our patients to yoga after we're done you know with the pain management side just because the flexibility, the core strengthening," said Bechdol.

After just two and a half months of practice, Kaitlynn has earned her yellow belt, and she said she has also gained a family.

"Just helped, because I had a bunch of kids who were nice around me, and then with my scoliosis, it just worked on my back," said Kaitlynn.

"It is life changing. The household is a lot happier now that she's not in pain as much as what she was," said Andrew.

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