Yoga & Autism | 5 Benefits
Autistic minds can be a noisy place.
Children in the spectrum can have trouble concentrating due to sensory issues, and overloads that can lead them to anxiety and stress.
Sports are highly recommended to ease stress and improve focus, however, due to motor skills and physical coordination challenges, it can be hard for children to practice.
For these reasons, yoga has become a topic of interest when it comes to supplementary support for children with autism. There are limited studies on yoga and the effects on children with autism, however, the studies that have been done suggest that yoga can be of significant benefit to children with ASD.
Today we will analyze the benefits of yoga for autism as well as suitable online programs to look for it!
5 Benefits of Yoga For Autism
In addition to benefits typically associated with yoga such as increased strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility, the following 5 benefits have been presented in autistic children:
Better Communicational Skills
The International Journal of Yoga Therapy found that yoga may offer benefits as an effective tool to increase imitation, cognitive skills, and social-communicative behaviors in children with ASD. In addition, children exhibited increased skills in eye contact, sitting tolerance, non-verbal communication, and receptive communication skills (Radhakrishna, S., 2010).
Breathing exercises are proven to help ASD children to regulate their emotions in a better way than those who don´t practice any mindful activity. Breathing strategies can be taught to children with ASD in order to release difficult or uncomfortable emotions such as anger, frustration, or anxiety in more healthy and constructive manners.
Yoga helps children practice many different specific breathing techniques. The practice of mindful breathing and guided poses helps to calm and regulate the nervous system, supporting children in developing coping skills, self-regulation skills, and more effective responses to stress, both emotionally and physically.
Since many autistic children present communicational challenges, meltdowns are used as a way to communicate sensory overload, stress, etc. Since yoga can improve children´s communicational behaviors and reduce anxiety, meltdowns were considerably reduced.
A study about yoga and improving behavior was recently published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. Assessment of challenging behaviors was recorded before and after the yoga intervention and a significant impact on behaviors among children with ASD was noted.
The results of the study showed improvement of behaviors in the children with autism who practiced yoga consistently over a 16-week period.
Increased Body Awareness
Many children with autism present a limited sense of body awareness. Yoga can be a great tool to provide them with proprioceptive and vestibular input to support body awareness.
How Can I Implement Yoga into my Childs Schedule?
You don’t need to become a yoga guru to help your child reap the benefits of it. A simple 10-minute yoga session can do wonders for your child.
The following YouTube channels offer suitable, and free yoga resources that can be practiced at home:
- Cosmic Kids Yoga (they even have one featuring Minecraft…)
- Bari Koral
- Karma Kids
- Kidding Around Yoga
- Stacey Nelson Yoga (also focuses on teens)
- Go Go Yoga for Kids
Remember that as with any other intervention, patience is key.
Stem Cell Therapy For Proprioceptive and Vestibular Input
Stem Cell Therapy is an incredible way to improve motor skills coordination, for stem cells re-connect specific clusters of neurons, increasing brain plasticity. This reunion, in addition to improved muscle tone and increased strength, can be translated into better coordination, increased fine motor skill implementation, and overall decreased autistic behaviors along with many other benefits.
At WSCC, we offer support for autistic families and their children with Stem Cell Therapy treatments that can transform autistic conditions by healing the gut, decreasing inflammation, and improving brain function. We also created an autistic community on Facebook that is destined to offer support and companionship for ASD parents and their families on their journey.
Remember, you are not alone!