Sunderland children diagnosed with autism benefit from special yoga sessions to help control emotions

Children at Columbia Grange School have been taking part in yoga sessions to help them control their emotions including anxiety, nervousness and stress.

The Washington school caters for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), with a particular focus on children diagnosed with autism.

The sessions are being run by Higher Level Teaching Assistant, Carmela Temple, who has completed a course in special yoga for children with autism and ADHD, offering sessions that focus on “supporting children’s emotional and sensory regulation”.

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Mrs Temple said: “For many children with autism, it is extremely challenging to relax their mind and body, often resulting in poor sleep patterns, anxiety and frustration. Special Yoga is a wonderful way to support the children to find that moment of calm and feel what it is like to relax and let go.

“This special yoga method has been especially adapted to be able to teach children with autism, and those that work with them, to relax and enjoy quiet time during their busy daily schedule.

"It has proven to enhance the connection between the adults and the children, supporting the development of healthy supportive relationships, which in turn promotes emotional wellbeing for the children as well as those that work with them."

The sessions, which have also included staff participation, include humming and gentle movement along with grounding exercises such as coherent breathing, stretching, and rolling side to side.

Children at Columbia Grange School have been taking part in special yoga sessions to help them control their emotions.

Staff at the school are already starting to see the benefits.

Mrs Temple added: “The children respond especially well to the gentle movements and relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, stretching and massage. By supporting the children in their ability to relax through massage and guided by relaxing music, they are learning to reduce their levels of stress and to regulate their emotions in a healthy way.

“By supporting emotional and sensory regulation through new methods such as yoga we are able to teach the children new skills they can use at any time in their lives to regulate their body and mind.

Children diagnosed with autism have been learning breathing techniques to help control their emotions.

"Children can be seen taking in big breaths to regulate when they’re upset, even when not in sessions, and we are also seeing improvements in some of the children’s posture and body awareness.”