Children with autism face difficulty with normal development of their communication, socially interactive and motor skills mainly. There are several types of methods and techniques used to develop these skills. However, Yoga has become one of the most popular ones today.
Yoga is an ancient Indian method for developing and maintaining a good physical and psychological state. Apart from keeping a healthy body Yoga also helps to improve the mental abilities of the practitioner.
In 1978, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized Yoga therapy as a wonderful approach to support the treatment of various medical and psychological conditions. Yoga therapy is extensively used to improve the basic skills in children affected by ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). As autism affects the child’s normal physiological and psychological developments in several ways, Yoga addresses these points individually and helps to improve the quality of life of such children.
Advantages of Yoga Therapy
These are the main benefits that Yoga Therapy offers to users, especially the small children who struggle with the effects of ASD:
Better Motor Skills
Slower development of basic motor skills is one of the main problems faced by children with autism. With expert and specialized Yoga therapy, such children can improve the muscle tone and enhance stability and balance. Apart from this, the Yoga therapy also helps to build better self-awareness and muscle coordination in the child.
With improved motor skills, the child has a better sense of awareness of his/her physical self, in relation to space and others.
Better Social Skills
As the child’s coordination abilities improve, the child is able to walk and run normally, without an abnormal gait. This, in turn, helps the children to improve self-confidence as they are able to participate in sports and outdoor activities.
Yoga therapy helps the children to learn better self-control and teaches them self-calming techniques. All these results in the children learning to have better social skills with improved interaction ability with their peers.
Better Sensory System
Children affected with autism often are sensitive to bright lights and loud noises. They are also prone to problems from strong smells and tastes due to the hyperactive sensory system.
Yoga for children with ASD is usually taught in the calming and peaceful environment, with soft music, dim lights, and smooth mats. This prevents the over-stimulation of the child’s sensory system. The various poses adopted in Yoga for children helps to dissipate the nervous energy effectively from the body. This leads to calming the child effectively.
Self-regulation is often difficult for children affected with ASD. Yoga teaches children to be more aware of their own bodies. It teaches the children to regulate their breathing process and control feelings of anxiety.
Specialized Yoga classes teach poses that are combined with effective breathing techniques. This combination helps the child to control with escalating emotions more efficiently. Such classes also combine Yoga with music, rhymes, dancing, etc. to incorporate the techniques better into the child’s mind.
Yoga is being increasingly used worldwide by ASD treatment centers to ensure that children affected by ASD are able to improve their quality of life easily and efficiently.