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What is The SuperFly Club?

The SuperFly Club at San Diego Circus Center is a youth circus program; specially created to meet the needs of children on the Autism Spectrum. Our coaches have partnered with pediatric neurologist, Dr. Suzanne Goh to develop a curriculum designed to address proprioceptive and vestibular deficits, increase self-regulatory behavior and boost the students’ confidence and sense of self efficacy within a fun, supportive environment built to draw upon children’s’ natural motivation to play. With this program we hope to share our passion for circus arts with a population who otherwise would not have access and yet has so much to gain.

Why Circus?

From trapeze to tumbling, circus disciplines offer the ability create a vast range of sensory opportunities including the ability to play with and manipulate: height, speed, swinging, spinning, pressure and body orientation. Research shows that, for children with Autism, increasing incidents of such experiences can help develop sensory processing skills that are considered essential for optimal occupational functioning, including the ability to learn, modulate attention and regulate behavior. Beyond traditional sensory integration therapies however, circus also requires full body exercise, stretching and postural work, which studies show, not only improve body awareness, coordination and balance but also decrease anxiety, promote emotional regulation and increase subjective well being. But mostly importantly circus is fun! Students are willing and eager to participate and we build on this intrinsic motivation to play by contriving therapeutic activities from these natural impulses.

Why San Diego Circus Center?

Circus arts have seen a huge rise in popularity over several years but of all the circus education institutes SDCC is one very few currently offering instruction for special needs populations. We believe that we are uniquely capable of creating and executing such a program because of the involvement of Dr. Goh and our Youth Director, Kelsey Saake. Dr. Suzanne Goh is a board-certified pediatric neurologist with expertise in the evaluation and treatment of children with Autism. She recently published a book that outlines a powerful, in-home, behavior management program for children with Autism, grounded in the latest research in neuroscience, linguistics and the psychology of parent-child interactions.  Our head coach, Kelsey Saake is a professional performer who has been involved with circus for many years. As Youth Director at SDCC she has developed summer camps, launched an after school program, and created circus curriculum for students aged 2 – 65. Beyond her interests in circus however, she holds her undergraduate degree in cognitive psychology with a focus on the relationship between exercise and mental health and has extensive background working with special needs populations. In addition to our highly qualified staff, SDCC has a strong commitment to enriching the lives of all members of our community through teaching circus disciplines, arts and culture.

The Future of SuperFly

Through our current fundraising campaign we hope to create a budget large enough to expand participation, fund further program development and research, and eventually to create a replicable program that can be instituted in schools around the world, bringing the great benefits of circus arts to as many special needs students as possible.


Dr. Suzanne Goh

Pediatric Neurologist

Dr. Goh’s is a practicioner, researcher, and author focusing on mitochondrial and other metabolic disturbances in autism. She has been affiliated as an author or reviewer with several leading neuroscience journals, including Neurology, Annals of Neurology, Pediatric Neurology, & Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. She has taught at Harvard University, Columbia University, and the University of California San Francisco.

In 2013, she published the book Spectacular Bond: Reaching the Child with Autism with co-authors Dr. Marion Blank (developmental psychologist) and Susan Deland (parent of a child with autism). The book outlines a powerful and proven program for children with autism that is implemented at home by a parent. The program is grounded in the latest research in neuroscience, linguistics, and the psychology of parent child interactions. When this behavior program is combined with optimal biomedical treatment, meaningful progress is possible in all aspects of development.

Jean-Luc Martin

Executive Director and Founder of the SDCC

Jean-Luc performed three tours with the world famous Cirque du Soleil, where he specialized in Hand Balancing, Hand-to-Hand Adagio, Russian bar & Columns. He has trained with many masters in the circus industry. Jean-Luc began his own teaching career very early on but formally began teaching circus arts in San Diego four years ago. He teaches a variety of circus disciplines but focuses largely on handstands, hand-to-hand, and Russian bar. Jean-Luc opened SDCC in early 2013 to provide enrichment for the youth in our community by utilizing circus disciplines, art and culture and to continue to share his passion. He excited for the opportunity to expand the accessibility of classes at SDCC to reach out to special needs populations.

Kelsey Saake

Director of Youth Programing of the SDCC

Kelsey Saake is a professional circus artist who has been highly involved in both performing and teaching for the last six years. As Youth Director at SDCC she has developed circus summer camps, launched an after school circus program, and created curriculum for students aged 2 – 65. Beyond her interests in circus however, she holds her undergraduate degree in cognitive psychology with a focus on the relationship between exercise and mental health. Kelsey also has an extensive background working with special needs populations. She has taught classes in elementary schools, neuro-therapy centers, swim schools, and with after school extra curricular programs.


Feel free to visit us at the San Diego Circus Center or call us for scheduling, comments, or inquires.

9340 Dowdy Drive
San Diego, CA 92126

MON to SAT 9am – 10pm

p. (858) 635-9522