A MOTHER who has struggled with her son's behaviour has found relief in a local martial arts gym.

Sharon Edwards, of Connah's Quay, has had difficulties with her son, Joel, aged six, who has been expelled from two schools due to his behaviour.

Video and images by Rick Matthews

Joel attended Abermorddu Primary School for two weeks, before moving to Northop Hall CP where he was expelled after four weeks.

But according to Miss Edwards, "keeping a child like Joel in the house" is impossible to due to his hyperactivity, short attention span, and inability to sit still as a result of his ADHD and other behavioural issues.

After being "let down" by social services and the school's decision to expel Joel, Miss Edwards thought she would try her hand at approaching local gyms known for aiding those with needs.

She approached Matt Inskip, of not-for-profit martial arts gym Toe 2 Toe in Holywell, who agreed to take the challenging Joel on board.

She said: "As soon as he started going to Matt, we saw a response. Matt is dealing with him amazingly. It doesn't seem like there is any other help out there. There's nothing else like this around."

Joel attends two one-on-one sessions with Matt and two martial arts classes a week. He has embarked on a "year plan" with the martial arts expert, and Miss Edwards said she is now able to gauge the cycle of Joel's behavioural act-outs which occur "every three to four days."

She said: "I can phone Matt at any time and say 'look I think Joel is about to start' and Matt responds instantly. I feel there is no other safe environment for him other than this.

"This is the only gym I could find that is able to take on a child with behavioural issues. That is why we have gone so far away from Connah's Quay.

"I never thought Toe 2 Toe would be this helpful. I was worried what Joel would do when he learnt how to punch someone, now I can say to him when he kicks off at home 'you do that with Matt, not with me.'"

Miss Edwards believes Matt needs more recognition for "what he does" and for being so open to challenge, educate, and work with a child like Joel.

Matt said: "It’s great working with Joel and others similar to him because it changes the way I normally teach and it helps challenge me as a coach. And it’s more rewarding when you start seeing improvement.

"It’s too easy to give up on someone if they're not getting what you're trying to teach. It doesn’t mean they can’t do it, it just takes a different approach."