My class consists of 13 wonderful students with varying degrees of autism. Some struggle with communication skills, others have processing skills, and all of them have social skills deficits. One thing that all of my students need is the ability to manage their emotions in a socially appropriate manner. These emotions can range from frustrations, to anxiety to sensory seeking behaviors. A common concern for families with autism is the ability to manage emotions and find peace.
Yoga for children is growing in popularity as a complementary therapy for children with autism.
Yoga use is increasing in schools, and parents are participating encouraging their children to participate in innovative yoga programs. Just this past summer when I was at the T.E.A.C.C.H Autism Camp, yoga was utilized by all students in the program. In addition to benefits typically associated with yoga—improved strength and flexibility, and an increasing sense of peace— children with autism also experience a reduction of pain, anxiety, aggression, obsessive behaviors, and self-stimulatory activities. It's also been demonstrated that children are also having greater success making new friends and regulating emotions.
By assisting our room in obtaining these yoga mats, you are providing our students with a "safe space" both physically and emotionally, to learn how to manage their emotions. A safe and pleasant space will encourage student participation and individual growth. All of which assist with developing the ability to manage one's emotions.
Children with autism have very different sensory experiences from other people.
These sensory difference ranging from anxiety to frustration can be managed by learning how to practice the calming movement of yoga. This activity promotes positive digestion, reduced heart rate, and calmer breathing—all of which reduce anxiety.
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