“Special Needs” is a broadly used term to describe a vast array of diagnoses and conditions. Barriers that inhibit a child’s ability to learn in any environment may include:
Yoga and mindfulness offer a holistic avenue to balance the nervous system. Many special needs students are constantly trying to manage themselves and their environment from a state of sympathetic nervous system arousal. This means, that they are frequently in heightened states of stress and anxiety. Statistically, 40% of children with autism suffer from an associated anxiety disorder. When “typical” nervous systems are stressed, they don’t function very well. Imagine feeling that heightened state of arousal ALL of the time.
In most schools, 60 % of classified students spend 80% of their day in general education classrooms. Imagine having tools that help these students integrate, participate and be part of that general community, socially and emotionally. There is often a great divide in the “inclusive” general education classroom. Teachers need more tools and strategies to support ALL students academically, behaviorally as well as socially and emotionally. Many of the techniques that have been implemented over the years are archaic. They no longer work for improving behavior or increasing attention because they focus on a system of reward and punishment. Our program builds behavioral regulation and focused attention from the inside out. We teach tools that develop self-awareness and “good” feeling states. From this vantage point, behavior is naturally calmer as children feel safer within themselves. This allows them to explore and approach challenges with greater self-confidence and success.
WE SUPPORT YOUR TEACHERS, THERAPISTS AND FAMILIES
Further research on yoga and mindfulness for children with special needs has noted these positive benefits:
- Improved imitation skills
- Enhanced social communication and overall quality of life
- Increased self- esteem
- Improved emotional bonding
- Increased tolerance to touch
- Carryover of positive emotional coping behaviors from yoga to school and home environments
- Increased compliance behaviors
- Decreased irritability, social withdrawal and hyperactivity
- Reduction of challenging negative behaviors
- Improved ability to focus and concentrate
- Ability to manage sensory input