Yoga for children with Autism and other additional needs

Yoga for children with Autism and other additional needs

Next week I am delighted to be speaking to trainee children’s Yoga teachers in the lovely elbow room .

The elbowroom- Dublin

Yoga is such a wonderful activity for adults and children and there are lots of useful websites (such as the one below) on the benefits of yoga for neurotypical children and those with additional needs such a DCD, ADHD and Autism.

However, I was also thinking about the benefits to the sensory system – here’s what i came up with…

  1.  Precious proprioception!– or body awareness as it’s otherwise known. We get information from on where our body is, from receptors in our muscles and joints . As yoga involves stretches and putting weight through through the hands in inverted positions such as downward dog it provides lots of propriocetive input  which is essential in maintaining a calm and alert state.
  2. Vestibular vitality (or movement ). The sense of movement is in the inner ear and is triggered when the head moves. Yoga involves moving the head in many positions . Being upside down provides intense vestibular input perfect for sensory seekers.
  3. Awesome auditory– Yoga focuses on listening to your breathing , which due to it’s rhythmical and predictable nature is very calming. Also creating some quiet time in our busy lives gives our ‘modulators’ a rest which helps with sensory processing overall.
  4. Eye spy– When we move our head and eyes together to look up or down, both the visual and vestibular systems need to work together in order to give the brain a clear message about which position our body is in . This skill is needed to focus on a page or catch a ball. By moving through different position in yoga, this practises this function in order to promote better integration of these 2 senses.
  5. Terrific tactile(or touch). Receptors for the tactile system are in the skin. Deep pressure to the skin has a calming effect. By working on the floor in Yoga, especially when lying flat (like in corpse pose), more of the skin is receiving deep pressure which adds to the calming effect.

     Yoga for kids

    So overall, I think yoga is a multi-sensory experience that enhances sensory processing (not sure about taste and smell- unless you consider being in bare feet!). Below are lots of other benefits too!

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