I had one of those weird scenarios a couple of days ago where you read an article on a regularly frequented website and you realise that you have been investigating exactly the same thing they have! The topic I was looking in to for Jude was yoga and the article I happened upon was on the Special Needs Jungle website (click to see the article). They discuss how the inclusion of mindful activities can have a profound effect on all children, not just those with special needs and in particular they suggest that “yoga helps to rebalance and refine the child’s nervous system, which creates the foundation for positive improvement.”
I feel bad because this is yet another thing I haven’t done for Jude. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? I love yoga so why wouldn’t he?! It could be amazing for his physical development and as I’ve mentioned before, we aren’t worthy of physiotherapy according to Herts County Council so it’s down to me to find activities that can help him develop better coordination and gross motor skills.
I emailed the Special Yoga Foundation a couple of weeks ago but sadly they are based in London and it just isn’t feasible for the whole lot of us to schlep it up there for Jude to have a weekly yoga session. BUT the lovely lady I have been in communication with has promised she will endeavour to help find a practitioner nearer to us that can work with Jude. They suggest having one to one sessions to begin with as an assessment method to ascertain the child’s support needs and to allow them the chance to get to used to the notion of yoga in general. Then, they can move into group sessions which last for various durations dependent on the individuals involved.
It is widely appreciated that yoga has many benefits, physically, emotionally as well as spiritually. The Special Yoga Foundation detail the following on their website:
Specific benefits of yoga include:
- Reduction in stress and anxiety.
- Improved resilience
- Developing the ability to self-regulate across environments and demands
- Developing balance and the ability to relax and release tension, fear and frustration
- Improved self- awareness: both body and mind
- Improved motor planning and control
- Improved immune function
- Improved quality and quantity of sleep
- Enhanced respiratory ability and capacity
- Enhanced sense of well-being, calm and peace
- Creating emotional balance
And let’s be honest, Jude could do with an improvement in ALL of these areas!
But as with everything, I am anxious as to whether Jude will comprehend what we’re doing or whether he’d just be a pain in the butt for his teacher. I don’t know why I think this, these teachers are used to engaging with special needs children but I think my defensive mechanism is so instinctive now that I find it hard to let the guard down until proven safe territory. What is wrong with me?!
I’ll also be speaking to Jude’s school as this is definitely something that should be more widely accessible. As he is now in year 6 at school he will be participating in horse riding lessons however, I think something like yoga would benefit the children a lot more plus it’s something everyone can do regardless of demographics, income or level of ability. Once a few sequences have been remembered, the children can recite them at home with the skills involved being very much transferable.
Jude has absolutely zero confidence and I want him to change, I want him to be the person I know he’s capable of being. At the moment, he sticks with exactly what he knows and what he is able to do without any concerns. He stims. He gets what he needs to feel content from his repetitive actions.
Straight after school today, he went into the garden and floated around on his little go kart for a while, occasionally lining everything up!
He needs SOMETHING in his life and I really think that yoga could either be that thing or it could at least give him the tools he needs in order to find it.
Fingers crossed the Special Yoga Foundation can help us, I feel really excited about these prospects. Will keep you up to date…