As a parent of a special needs child, you will undoubtedly try anything that could relieve your child’s anxiety and improve their overall level of functioning.
While you have probably visited countless specialists, consulted with school guidance counsellors, and maybe have even tried medication, there is still yet another proven method of reducing your child’s symptoms.
Yoga and mindfulness have been found to be extremely effective at relieving anxiety and regulating emotions. Although yoga shouldn’t be used as a substitute for professional care, it can work wonders for helping your child.
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of yoga or parenting a special needs child, you should visit this page.
Benefits of Yoga and Mindfulness For Children
Anyone who has ever taken a yoga class would tell you that it’s a very relaxing activity, but that it also requires focus. Special needs children can benefit from both relaxation and improved concentration.
For instance, children on the autism spectrum often deal with high levels of anxiety. The focused breathing that is used in yoga and mindfulness can prevent hyperventilation and calm anxiety attacks.
Special needs children can also benefit from consistency, so regular yoga practice on a specific day or time can help them develop a routine. Ideally, yoga sequences should always be done in the same order to prevent meltdowns.
Additionally, yoga can improve gross motor coordination and increase body awareness, which can lead to more confidence in social settings.
Mindfulness has been shown to improve emotional regulation. The practice involves focusing on your breathing and what you are doing at that particular moment, which can potentially resolve an emotional crisis.
Why you should consider yoga and mindfulness for your child?
Yoga and mindfulness shouldn’t be used as a replacement for traditional treatments, such as speech therapy and occupational therapy.
However, they are both highly effective as adjunct therapies for children with special needs. Yoga is a more holistic approach that involves a lifestyle change rather than only addressing a single issue.
Special needs children are often teased in school over their disabilities, which forces them to deal with higher levels of stress in their lives.
Millions of adults have already recognized the stress-relieving benefits of yoga and mindfulness. And your child can reap these benefits as well.
Preliminary studies have found that children who regularly participate in yoga classes and practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Yoga and mindfulness classes also teach children self-awareness, honesty, empathy, kindness, moderation, and gratitude while discouraging violent behavior.
Children are taught to embrace who they are and accept their limitations without judging or comparing themselves to their peers. Yoga gives them the opportunity to relax, breathe, and refocus without the need for competition.
In a nutshell, there are many benefits of yoga and mindfulness for special needs children, but you’ll need to carefully choose an instructor who creates a warm and welcoming environment and who has prior experience with working with special needs children.