Sensory Yoga for Kids: Therapeutic Movement for Children of All Abilities
by Britt Collins MS, OTR/L
If you are unsure about yoga, or find all those pretzel poses intimidating, this book is for you. Yoga has been around for 5000 years, so while no yoga book necessarily has new information, I found the bits of yoga practice provided to be a perfect, digestible amount, along with the combined special needs and sensory tools necessary for my individual requirements.
Why bring yoga into schools, clinics, practices? It’s amazingly helpful and free! No equipment or tools for the schools to purchase. Everyone can participate, so it’s inclusive. But HOW do you start? It’s all included in Sensory Yoga for Kids.
As a parent of a special needs child, and I run a Special Needs After School Center, I love this resource to have on hand for my parents and therapists. Teachers and Caregivers will benefit as well.
So, what’s inside the book?
First, it’s written by a pediatric occupational therapist who is certified in teaching yoga to special needs children 0-12, outlines a basic understanding of SPD (sensory processing disorder) and yoga (and that it’s not a religion for hesitant parents). Britt Collins MS, OTR/L explains why yoga is practiced, how it helps parents and therapists to include the practice in their own lives, and most importantly how to incorporate into their classrooms, clinics, and homes.
I learned some benefits of sensory yoga for special needs kids include:
- helps individuals to focus and alert
- reduces stress and depression
- helps build relationships
- calms and strengthens body and mind
- helps balance
- improves body awareness
Inside Sensory Yoga for Kids
The book covers children with autism, add/adhd, medically fragile, cerebral palsy, developmental delays and sensory challenged. Sequences are provided for each as well as tips and suggestions by professionals who have worked with these children for decades.
The best part for me are the adorable illustrations of the yoga poses. They make the poses inviting and appear fun and doable. Certainly showing children these illustrations invokes a desire to do what the illustrations are displaying. They also help me as a parent see what my child should be doing. Some black and white photos are also provided.
***There are sequences for digestion, anxiety, for calming and particular to a child’s diagnosis. And they are doable and easy to follow. Each child is expected to work at their own pace and ability.
Interviews with other yoga practicing therapists are peppered throughout, sharing tried and tested tips and invaluable guidelines throughout. Noteworthy examples include:
- Molly Grove, who has worked in orphanages in India, shares “I witnessed children who were deemed unresponsive and who had no hope learn to recognize my voice, clap along to songs, and lengthen and relax muscles with hypertonia.”
- Roxanne Naseem Rashesi explains how a child with autism that has difficulty with transitions can “benefit greatly from practicing just one or two new asanas…These subtle changes can help build new networks and patterns of behavior.”
Overall, the book is 181 pages of useful yoga info. I read it in its entirely in two sittings, so it’s not overwhelming or dense (doesn’t feel like hard work to sludge through). It’s concise and applicable immediately. I plan on getting it on my kindle to highlight my favorite sequences.