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How Yoga Helps Children with Special Needs

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Children with special needs often receive care from an entire team of therapists and physicians, and many occupational therapists are beginning to incorporate yoga into their therapy sessions. While traditional therapies may address particular issues, yoga for special needs children addresses the entire child. Yoga includes meditation techniques, breathing exercises, and physical postures. It’s the combination of these tools that can prove so beneficial for children with special needs and abilities.

Therapists personalize yoga based on your child’s unique health concerns, strength, coordination, flexibility and attention span. One of the benefits of yoga for special needs kids is that it’s so easy to tailor movements to your child’s unique needs. Postures can be adapted to a child’s needs with manual assistance from a therapist or with props. Not only do many children enjoy yoga, but there are many benefits that back up the importance of yoga for children.

Physical Benefits of Yoga for Special Needs Kids

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Yoga offers several physical benefits to children with special needs. Regular practice promotes muscular endurance and physical strength since poses often involve using multiple muscles in the body at once. It also helps build flexibility, coordination, body awareness, and balance. Nearly every yoga pose requires the use of core muscles, promoting improved posture. The benefits of yoga for children are especially seen in situations where the child has low muscle tone.

Emotional Benefits of Yoga for Special Needs Children

Unlike many other types of physical activities such as organized sports, there’s no losing or winning when a child practices yoga. Children can be themselves, have fun, and feel great about what they accomplish. For children with special needs who feel left out of other physical activities, yoga may offer an activity where they feel they have a sense of belonging.

Motor Planning Benefits of Yoga for Children

Many children with special needs have difficulty building new motor skills, and yoga positions involve using the body across multiple planes of movement and in different ways. Yoga includes repetition as well, an essential key to developing new motor skills. Coming up with new ideas is a crucial part of motor planning, and yoga encourages imagination when children have the chance to pick poses to practice in different sequences.

Behavioral Benefits of Yoga for Special Needs Kids

It’s very common for children with special needs to have a tough time regulating their arousal level, which often results in the need for behavioral therapy. This often leads to perceived aggressive or hyperactive behaviors. The breathing techniques that come with yoga along with poses that require stillness and concentration can help children become more self-aware. They’ll learn to be aware of the connection between body and mind. Children will also learn what it feels like to be calm and still, which may improve self-regulation.

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Children with various conditions, including low muscle tone, joint stiffness, cerebral palsy, and even sensory processing disorders can benefit from yoga. Yoga for special needs children offers physical, emotional, motor planning, and behavioral benefits, making it an excellent option for many kids.

Takeaways:

  • Yoga offers physical benefits like improved strength, coordination, muscular endurance, flexibility, balance, and body awareness.
  • As a non-competitive form of physical activity, yoga children have the chance to feel proud of their accomplishments and a sense of belonging.
  • Yoga involves repetition and using the body across multiple planes of movement, which is beneficial in building new motor skills.
  • Breathing techniques, concentration, and stillness often help children become more self-aware and improve their self-regulation.

Learn more about the benefits of yoga for special needs kids and whether it’s a great addition to your child’s personalized therapy sessions by contacting Infinite Therapy Solutions today.