Autism has been on the rise since the late 1980s and 1 in 100 children are diagnosed with being on the Autism Spectrum. Although there are very different displays of autism, there are common themes including difficulty communicating, especially verbally, lack of interest or understanding of social interactions with other people and trouble with changes to his or her routine. When I worked as a daycare teacher, we were usually the first people to approach parents with the possibility of getting their child assessed. It is devastating to learn that your child is on the Autism Spectrum and in some cases it is a relief to get the assessment and work towards getting your child the help he or she needs.
Many parents turn to things such as diet, physiotherapy, homeopathy and EFT to help their child. There have been some studies that have shown that yoga especially a form called Integrated Movement Therapy that may be of help to you and your child.
Here are 5 ways that Yoga Stories can help a child managing Autism:
1. Improved body awareness and spatial awareness
Some autistic children repeat physical behaviors over and over. By using imitation and stories, a child managing autism becomes more aware of their body and what is around them.
2. Experienced more spontaneous speech and communicates more
By using stories to communicate to children, yoga helps improve their listening skills. By integrating story telling meaning that the children repeat the stories and eventually create their own, they improve their language and communication skills.
3. Increased problem solving skills
Molly Lannon Kenny, founder of the Integrated Movement Therapy, has her yoga children who are managing autism draw cards and create a story based on those cards. This has shown to both increase verbal skills and teach them problem-solving skills.
4. Improved mood and self-soothing techniques
All children and adults too have shown improved moods and feeling of well-being and calmness by doing yoga. Movement, music and breathing exercises gives children the skills to calm themselves.
5. Sensory integration
Children managing autism have strong reactions to stimulus, by having a soothing, consistent environment, yoga may help take children out of their comfort zones while providing them the consistency that they need. There is a weekly routine, rituals such as laying on the mat and breathing routines, and a soft environment. Yet, each class is different.
Yoga, especially Integrated Movement Therapy and Yoga stories may be one way to help improve your child’s management of autism.
Lakshmi Gosyne is an author, illustrator, web designer and teacher. She worked as a preschool and primary school teacher for 16 years before writing two yoga story books: Jungle Walk: A Yoga Story for Kids and Waiting for Dad: A Yoga Story for Kids. You can find out more at www.lakshmigosyne.com