Benefits of Yoga for Children with Autism
March 22, 2018
March 22, 2018
If you have a child with autism spectrum disorder, he or she works hard every day to overcome life’s extra challenges. We know that caring for this kiddo is not a stress-free job for you either. So to give your bodies a little extra love and attention, Hopebridge offers free yoga classes for those with autism and other developmental delays, as well as their families.
As a complement to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Hopebridge’s other therapy options, this simple, structured program is designed to introduce children to yoga and teach them how to calm and de-stress themselves. By adding family members into the mix, they have the chance to partner in yoga poses and breathing exercises while learning effective de-escalation strategies to use at home. Parents also get a moment to focus on their own minds and bodies. 😉
We encourage everyone to give it a try to see if it’s right for your family. Still not convinced? Here are some of the benefits of yoga for children:
Yoga provides a calming atmosphere, allowing children to slow down. Breathing strategies help reduce irritability, regulate heart rates and release difficult emotions. Mindful breathwork also serves as a self-soothing tool and potential replacement behavior for other obsessive, aggressive or self-stimulatory behaviors.
Improves concentration and balance.
Along with breathwork, practicing yoga poses encourages children to focus on the task at hand. Guided imagery can also help within the class as the act of listening and mentally acting out scenes can help build cognitive skills and concentration overall.
Increases strength and flexibility.
It’s no secret that these are included in the physical benefits of yoga postures and stretching, but with these often come enhanced coordination, sensory tolerance and reduction of pain.
Improves gross and fine motor skills.
Yoga builds body awareness, bringing attention to different types of movement. This includes postural skills, which can even support children in learning to sit up straight in chairs.
Encourage peer and social interactions.
Following the lead of the yoga instructor, repetition and listening to one’s own body and mind can aid in developing emotional, language and communication skills, which can be translated to other social interactions.
Leads to better sleep.
Less stress often paves the way for better sleep, since relaxed minds and muscles are more open to rest.
Maybe best of all, yoga can create a positive sense of self. For kids with autism, the fun and powerful poses can make them feel successful. This is true for individuals of all abilities since there are modifications that can be built upon over time.
Hopebridge’s yoga classes are a safe space for families and take ASD into consideration when molding the session’s flow. The instructor, Oascha M. Cross, is not only certified in yoga, she is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) at Hopebridge who has dedicated years of experience to working with kids on the spectrum and varying abilities. Her passionate practice lets the children set the pace; including relaxation techniques, visuals, activities, repetition and modifications aimed at getting everyone comfortable and inspired.
To view and register for classes available in your area, visit Hopebridge’s events page.
Have you or your children tried yoga before? What was your experience like? Please share your stories and tips with us and other parents in the Hopebridge community on our Facebook page.