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Some benefits of yoga for children with autism

December 12, 2018

Yoga is the ideal fitness mantra for physical and mental well-being. It helps to rejuvenate the body and makes you feel good. Yoga is great for adults and children. For a child with autism, yoga does wonders. Autism is a developmental condition where the child's social and motor skills are affected. Yoga helps to tone muscles, enhances balance and stability and also helps in developing body awareness.

Today, most schools for disabled children focus on yoga. They are conducting exclusive yoga sessions and workshops for children with autism. Needless to say, many children have benefitted from yoga in numerous ways. Even parents are thrilled that their children are able to do extremely well after regular yoga sessions.

Tejo Prasanna is the Academic Planner for ALFAA, a centre that reaches out to children and teenagers with autism. At ALFAA, students are introduced to regular yoga sessions.

Since most of the children at our centre are above 12 years of age, they are more or less teenagers only. Children with autism lack social and communication skills. But their physical needs are same just like a child without a disability. Like other children of their age, they are unable to go out or make new friends. This makes them more aggressive as well. I have noticed that yoga helps them to calm down a lot. Their emotional disturbances are controlled to a large extent through regular yoga sessions. Now, most of our children are calmer throughout the day. Their stimulating behaviour has also come down. They even started caring for others including their peers and teachers- Tejo Prasanna

Here are some benefits of yoga for children with autism

  • Increased body awareness- Most of the children with autism have limited awareness about their bodies. That is where yoga comes to the rescue. It helps them to become more conscious of their body through movements. When you do yoga, you become more aware of your body. For instance, when a child with autism is directed to follow left and right while doing yoga, it also gives them good practice about directions as well.
  • Helps in being consistent and orderly- For a child with autism, following a schedule is very important. Usually, yoga classes are held every day during the same time and at the same room. This element of order helps the child in being stable. It is always best when the class has an opening and closing routine. For example, yoga instructors can start the class with some music and end it with one particular yoga pose.
  • Enhances social skills and self-esteem- We all know that children with autism lack social skills. Lack of being able to be social can affect their self-esteem as well. Over the years, studies have proved that yoga helps to change this for the better. Children are able to interact with their peers in the yoga class. This makes them happier and confident. Yoga also teaches self-controlling and self-calming techniques. So for a child with autism who tends to get aggressive, this helps a lot. That way, they can become more social and build a great rapport with others.
  • Feeling positive- Needless to say, yoga makes you feel great. It does the same for a child with autism. It makes them feel fresh and positive. It enhances their confidence. When they balance poses and stands in certain positions, it thrills and excites them. Also, learning something new is always fun for children with autism.

"Yoga is undoubtedly one of the best therapies for children with autism. It helps them in calming down and concentrating as well. It also enhances the blood circulation", says Nithya Gopalakrishnan, Principal, Mridulasparsham special school

Children with autism tend to get stressed a lot. Yoga helps them to calm down. So if your child's school does not train them yoga, you can still introduce them to the basics of yoga like meditation. YouTube channels also have some great yoga trainers who can help you out.

ALSO READ: 5 yoga poses that are effective for children on the autism spectrum

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