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dana

Yoga for children on the ASD

9 posts in this topic

Hi,

does anyone have experience ? Does yoga help children on ASD ? I would like my son to have Yoga lessons but I don't know wheather they really help.

 

Danaxxx

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I don't know anything specific to yoga maybe someone else will post who does. But I do know that physical movement does have an effect on brain development. That is why alot of schools, especially special schools do something like 'brain gym'. These are exercises that help to connect and develop the brain.

Movement is also indicator of a developmental problem eg. many children with an ASD do not crawl, and again the crawling movement is known to effect brain communication between the two hemispheres. And by doing the physical movements children can develop cognitive skills that they didn't previously have or which were very poor.

Children with ASDs can also enjoy doing exercise where they repeat the movements eg. martial arts and I presume that yoga would be similar.

I also think that physical activity is very good for general wellbeing and can have really positive benefits about how physical activity makes you feel. Some children with an ASD can also be very passive and therefore any physical activity should be encouraged.

I have also used physical activities as a way of improving other skills. For example listening and following instructions, learning how to ask for help, behaving appropriately in a group etc.

If you are interested in trying it, I would say go ahead and have a go and let us know the results. Even if it does not work well, that in itself will give you some clues as to your child's difficulties which you could discuss with professionals.

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My son has been doing movement or 'brain gym' at school for three years. Has it helped ? Difficult to say. He likes it but then he likes being active. They do the movements on ABBA music so it is not quiet like yoga.

For stress we have started paying for massage, only half an hour because DS has trouble sleeping at the moment. That works wonders, when he comes out he is floating on a little cloud.

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If I thought G would actually do any thing he was told to do in the class, I'd certainly send him. It works for me! I think it depends on the personality of the child wether it would help. G's not a 'joiner', so he wouldn't like to be with all the other children, and I think he would be afraid of 'doing it wrong'.

He does, however , go horse riding every month. He has a lesson on his own, and although he tries to refuse to do some things (like rising trot! OW!), he can hardly run away, can he, he's captive on that 'oss till the half hour's up :devil: , and I get a lovely peaceful half-hour feeding carrots to ponies and enjoying the fresh air! :D

 

If you wanted to see if he'd like yoga without going to the expense of a class, you could get hold of a DVD from the library/ebay/amazon, try it and see if it suits. :)

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Speaking from personal experience, I think you may have trouble teaching an ASD child yoga. Yoga is all relaxation and is as much about training the mind as the body, you may have more luck with pilates (similar but not the same). I would agree with "mum of 3", borrow a dvd and try it out before spending money on classes, that way you will be able to tell if it might work. Most classes for yoga/pilates have to be block booked and are not cheap.

 

But some sort of training program is deffinately beneficial, you just have to find what suits him.

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Hi I work in the early years and have done children's yoga, brain gym and write dance with children including some with ASD. Firstly the child has to want to do it or be interested. I do the yoga through a story-so the movements may be a snake hissing or stretching to be a tree or birthday candle etc. Most children enjoy it but some children with ASD may need extra support or not be interested at all. It depends, but it's worth trying. Relaxing after or massage really helps destress as well. Hope this helps. X

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Remember that you can always speak to group/class leaders and go along and see what they do. Most clubs let a child try it before they have to pay. And if it doesn't work remember that is also useful information that you can pass onto other professionals eg. SALT/EP. For example if he cannot follow verbal instructions at Yoga there is a good chance he cannot do it in school either.

I have tried a number of things with my son. All of them he said he wanted to do. Some of them he did very well, others he could not do and had to stop. Like everyone it is trial and error. But in general I think it is better to avoid team type things and aim for things like yoga, trampoline, wall climbing, horse riding etc.

And remember that children do grow and develop. At age 6 my son wanted to join a football club. What a disaster! He could not follow the coaches instructions. He frequently appeared deaf. He could not tolerate any physical contact. He had no concept of team playing or even what the aim of playing football was. To this day I have no idea why he insisted on joining. He spent most of the time following the lines on the pitch and pulling up the astro turf! Now, 2 years later he is playing football in school. I never thought he would attempt it again. So even if something doesn't work now, you can always try it again at a later date. Never say never!

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Hi,

thank you all for your replies.

My son did do martial arts when he was younger and he had difficulties following instructions due to bad focusing but he had a very good and understanding teacher who helped him get even to the exam (which he didn't take because we moved home).It seems to me that martial arts helped him very much in being more aware of the world around him. I enrolled him in karate classes where we live now and we are about to start doing them. Yoga is very different and ,although it requires body movements, it is much more 'static' and more inward oriantated, also developing concentration. I had some videos and even did yoga myself in the past and tried to teach my son but I did not feel qualified so I stopped. Yoga is a very powerful tool and can be even demaging if not done properly but can also have a very positive affect on people and children. My question is more like if the children with ASD tend to live in their own world would yoga make them even more withdrown ? My son has a big problem with focusing so I have been thinking that yoga might help him in that but not sure.

 

Danaxxx

Edited by dana

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Hi Ben, regarding your concern, allow me to give some input. I have experienced teaching yoga to children and I would suggest that you have to choose the type of yoga that is not directed to meditative type. I would recommend that just let him do some Hatha Yoga which is the active type. Avoid the Kundalini or Bikram as the practice may be intense. The classes must not be too long. make it 20 to 30 minutes only.The best is if you can do yoga with him! If you have time read my article at > http://matchless101.blogspot.com/2011/06/7-yoga-postures-for-kids.html and maybe it may be of some help.

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