We teach programs children with special needs (such as severe ADHD, ADD, Autism, etc.) due to interest shown by the White Plains community and a basic motivation to help. The intent is to use yogic techniques to benefit children with special needs. We have sought input from the fields of psychology, education, medicine, neurobiology, etc, seeking advice from individuals with crossover expertise in such fields along with meditation to more precisely target benefits for children in this population.
The main focus is to evoke a balanced mental state, through games/activities, either quiet or energetic, which substantially reduces stress. Some children may need to let off excess energy while others may need to do an activity that quiets the mind. We keep class sizes small so that we can target the needs of the children and address them in a creative and appropriate manner. Children in such a balanced state are better able to face challenges and overcome obstacles. The ability to build new neural pathways is then enhanced.
Once a foundation of balance is set for practice, we focus on the development of skills. For example, various games are used and yoga asana is practiced. Some of the benefits are increased sensory awareness and integration, increased muscle tone and coordination, impulse control, ability to follow a sequence of instructions, and many more. We believe that children receive profound benefit from the practice of yoga. Ultimately, self confidence is significantly improved as children find they are better able to accomplish more than they thought possible. The increased confidence can lead to lower stress in a learning environment, which then increase capacity further, resulting in a virtuous cycle. Children are supported and encouraged, and given plenty of praise and positive reinforcement.
Social development is often limited for children with certain conditions, such as autism, but to the degree possible it is promoted through interaction with other children in class.
We also make an effort to provide visual supports to aid children in learning: pictures of yoga poses and story books can often help children who benefit from a visual learning approach. Music is also used in the class. The modalities of Yoga and Aikido are both available and can complement each other, depending upon the interests and abilities of the child.
Currently kids classes will be scheduled when we have 4-5 children sign up. If you are interested in leaving your name on a wait list, please use the contact page.