The Psychophysiological Value of Martial Arts for Youth with Autism

Jonathan Drummond

2:30 PM (EDT) October 13, 2024

Jonathan Drummond, Lt Col, USAF (Ret), M.S., M.A.

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Drummond, USAF (retired), is a PhD candidate in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion and a research assistant in the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky. Jon received his undergraduate degree in Behavioral Sciences (US Air Force Academy) and possesses master’s degrees in psychology from Kansas State University and Princeton University. 

Jon is a combat veteran and served in the US Air Force for 22.5 years, running such organizations as the Biobehavioral Systems Branch in the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Counter-Radicalization Branch in US Special Operations Command. In Afghanistan, Jon’s efforts directly supported both General McNeill (US Army) and Major General “Buster” Howes (UK Royal Marines). Following his military career, Jon was a defense contractor, psychologically profiled terrorists, spent several years structuring and improving Joint training and education across eleven information-related career fields, and built Joint Knowledge Online courses such as the “Influence Awareness” course. 

Over the years, Jon competed in college football, rugby, is a 6-time world champion powerlifter, and has studied multiple martial arts. Jon has coached youth and young adults in track & field, football, rugby, and powerlifting, and he has worked with youth in adaptive dance and martial arts. Jon Drummond’s research interests include high performance coaching for all, non-pharmacological therapies and training for those with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities (ND), the value of sequenced physical activities (such as martial arts, dance, and climbing) as therapeutic interventions for those with ND, and women competing in stereotypically non-feminine sports (powerlifting and mixed martial arts). The working title of Jon’s dissertation effort is 

“The Psychophysiological Impacts of Martial Arts for Youth with Autism: A Mixed Methods Study.”

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