By Small Talk Speech Pathology

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Yoga for Children with Special Needs

"I like yoga because it makes my body feel safe."  6 year old with autism
WellBeing Yoga for Children

Here on From The Heart Up we have spoken before about the benefits of yoga for normally developing children, however there is now growing research appearing detailing the benefits of yoga for children with special needs.

Mind Body Green recently published an article outlining 7 major benefits of yoga for children with Autism. Some of these included:

1. Yoga develops motor skills. Kids with autism frequently experience delayed motor development, which can be improved as yoga tones muscles, enhances balance and stability, and develops body awareness and coordination. As motor skills develop, children have a greater sense of their physical self in space and in relation to others, and can improve their gait and stability. 

2. Yoga improves confidence and social skills. Poor coordination often yields low self-esteem as kids may be singled out or teased for not moving or behaving like other children, or not excelling in sports and outdoor activities. By learning self-control and self-calming techniques through yoga, they are likely to grow confidence in interacting with other children and refine their social skills. Learning to work together in a yoga class and playing with partner poses can also increase confidence within group settings.
3. Yoga provides sensory integration. Children with autism often suffer from a highly sensitive nervous system and are easily over stimulated by bright lights, new textures, loud noises, strong tastes and smells. Yoga’s natural setting of dim lights, soft music, smooth mats, and “inside” voices creates a comforting environment largely protected from unknown or aggressive stimuli in which calming down becomes enjoyable. Yoga’s physical poses allow nervous energy to be released from the body in a controlled manner, also leading to a calming sensation. Less stimulation means less uncontrollable behavior, outbursts and repetitive nervous movements.
- Click HERE for the full article.

A growing number of yoga teachers, parents and carers alike are taking to YouTube to document their success stories using Yoga to help children with Autism and other developmental difficulties. 

HERE  a school in Florida has turned to yoga to help children with autism. The results are not only amazing but inspiring as well.

HERE yoga teacher Sonia Sumar is shown working with a young boy with Autism.

Yoga for the Special Child is a wonderful website filled with advice, information, articles and programs to assist children with an array of special needs from Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome, Autism and ADHD. 

The National Autism Resources website also offers many resources from DVD's to flashcards to assist the use of yoga with children with special needs. 

Interestingly, there is a growing trend to combine traditional therapeutic techniques for childhood development, such as Speech Pathology with Yoga.
HERE a Chicago based Speech Language Pathologist discusses the benefits she has achieved through the combination of Yoga and her Speech Pathology training. HERE you can watch a short clip outlining some tips for incorporating yogic techniques into speech therapy.

* Yoga Precautions for Children

Children tend to have looser joints and great enthusiasm. As a result, they may be unaware when they are stretching beyond what is safe. Parents without yoga backgrounds who are interested in incorporating yoga for their child with special needs should always seek proper guidance and instruction.

Read more here or click here for more 
safety tips.

With Love,
Lauren and Vanessa


1 comment:

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