Yoga For Children With Pediatric Conditions

How Yoga benefits specific pediatric conditions

Time and time again, I have seen the implementation of SMILY children’s yoga program add significant value and enjoyment to the lives of children with specific medical conditions, disorders or disabilities. Disorder evaluated below are: SI Dysfunction, ADD/ADHD, Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, Spina Bifida, Autism, Spectrum Pervasive Development Disorder, PDD, Learning Disabilities, and Speech and Language Disorders.

To familiarize you with my experience, here is an overview of the issues and concerns that are successfully addressed by the SMILY children’s yoga program, helping children to manage and minimize their challenges.

Sensory Integrative (S.I.) Dysfunction

-Teaches self-regulation techniques, including breathing and relaxation
-Effectively decreases the distraction that comes with sensory overload by improving the child’s tolerance for sensory input
-Increases the child’s range of adaptive responses to the environment by building a repertoire of functional behaviors
-Multi-sensory, music and movement combination uses stronger sensory systems to compensate for and enhance the less functional systems

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders (ADD/ADHD)

-Provides effective movement strategies to calm the neurological system
-Breathing and relaxation techniques teach self-regulation skills
-Peer group interaction improves social skills and communication
-Yoga mat on floor gives physical boundary and sense of security

Down’s Syndrome

-Vestibular input improves muscle tone, balance and coordination
-Sequencing skills develop naturally through music and movement routines
-Self-care strategies increase independence, function, safety, confidence and motivation
-Fine motor activities build bilateral skills, strength, dexterity and eye-hand coordination
-Includes precautions for cervical instability and heart issues

Cerebral Palsy / Traumatic Brain Injury / Stroke

-Easily adaptable to meet specific physical needs including balance skills
-Facilitation of vestibular system helps to regulate muscle tone throughout the body (hemiplegia, mixed tone, etc.)
-Helps focus the mind to manage cognitive concerns
-Builds fine motor and literacy skills
-Includes special precautions for the head and eyes

Spina Bifida

-Standing poses help increase symmetry in the legs and hips
-Improves dynamic balance skills and bilateral coordination
-Breathing and relaxation very effective for pain management
-Builds confidence for social interactions and self-care tasks
-Includes precautions for the head such as shunts

Autism/Spectrum/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)

-Language rich program improves listening and communication skills
-Specific sequencing of yoga poses improves body awareness in space
-Peer group activities increases team work, sharing and turn taking
-Fine motor tasks following gross motor movement increases attention for table top activities

Learning Disabilities/Speech & Language Disorders

-Connecting stories, songs, movement and fine motor tasks increases range of functional communication skills
-Targets specific vocabulary and grammatical goals
-Multi-sensory approach makes the development of handwriting and reading skills much more fun!
-Components of the program can be separated to ensure successful auditory processing, comprehension and expression

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