Sensory Yoga for Kids: Therapeutic Movement for Children of all Abilities by Britt Collins, MS, OTR/L

Sensory Yoga for Kids: Therapeutic Movement for Children of all Abilities by Britt Collins, MS, OTR/L

This post introduces our readers to Sensory Yoga for Kids: Therapeutic Movement for Children of all Abilities by Britt Collins, MS, OTR/L and illustrated by Carly Jo Hougen. Yoga has been around for thousands of years but lately the benefits of yoga for all ages and for folks regardless of their abilities or disabilities has been talked about more than ever! Yoga in schools is definitely a growing trend. One of our granddaughter has yoga as one of her courses in high school!

If you or your children have not had the opportunity to have yoga classes, this is a great resource book to get you started. Occupational therapist Britt Collins explains how to use yoga for kids to support their special needs, increase body awareness, fine tune coordination skills, bring calm, and the ability to focus and attend.

Britt Collins is certified to teach yoga for children with special needs ages 0-12. She is working to complete her full yoga certification and her children’s yoga certification. In her introduction, Ms. Collins says that practicing yoga on a regular basis can help you learn how to regulate your breathing, maintain a calm, happy and regulated nervous system; and, of course, helps build strength and flexibility. Sensory Yoga for Kids helps all children with the motor challenges and hurdles of childhood and it is especially beneficial for children with special needs or who are autistic.

Is the name Britt Collins familiar? Yes, she is known for her award-winning OT DVD series and Sensory Parenting Books we have already written about. Find the links at the end of this post.

Please Note: The author writes that people with both mental and physical disabilities can enjoy yoga, but parents should make sure that the instructor is familiar with their children’s specific needs. Make sure your child is being safe and their body is in good alignment and that you only push them as far as their body will allow. Also before a parent practices yoga with his child, he/she should have a basic understanding of yoga. Readers will find warnings throughout the book to make sure that no harm comes to a child doing these activities.

About Sensory Yoga for Kids: 

Page from Sensory Yoga for Kids: Therapeutic Movement for Children of all Abilities by Britt Collins, MS, OTR/L. and illustrated by Carly Jo Hougen

The first  chapter explains that sensory processing is the brain’s ability to take in external and internal information, process it effectively and produce an appropriate motor and behavioral response. Yoga is one of the ways to help a child calm down or rev up to find that “just-right” state for learning and functioning.

Chapter four presents 36 yoga poses in alphabetical order and 5 great strengthening activities. Each pose is described and summarizes its benefits. Each pose has a drawing to help you and the children understand how to do it.

In the other chapters these poses and strengthening activities are placed in sequences to help different needs of children. (See photo at left.) Ms. Collins suggests to try various sequences and to mix up the poses a little to see what works best for your child. In addition to the adorable sketches of each pose there are many black and white photos of children doing the yoga poses. These illustrations will surely motivate kids to try out the poses.

Woven in the book are interesting interviews with professionals like an Adapted Physical Education Teacher, Pediatric Occupational Therapists, School Psychologist, etc., who work with children with special needs and who use yoga with the children they work with. They share tips and suggestions on how one can incorporate yoga in a child’s routine in schools, clinics, practices, and in their home.

Why is yoga so popular? It could be because yoga does not require equipment, tools or a uniform, you do not need a certain number of “players” like team sports, it can be carried out in the home or in a classroom any time of the year, and it is all inclusive. Friends, classmates, and siblings can all join in. "Pose Sequence to Help You and Your Child Sleep Better" in Chapter 6.

Sections many parents will appreciate are the following:

  • “Pose Sequence to Help You and Your Child Sleep Better” in Chapter 6.
  • “Yoga Sequence to Help with Digestion”.
  • “Sequences Used for ADHD” – Children with ADHD can benefit from yoga also because it teaches focus and discipline.
  • “Yoga for Parents and Caregivers” – Britt reminds parents and caregivers to make sure they are caring for themselves too by taking a new perspective on life, engaging in positive thinking, practicing mindfulness and being aware of your present situation and making each day count.

The folks at Special Needs Book Review congratulates Britt Collins and the team behind this wonderful resource that helps all who are trying to make the lives of children better now and for life. It is said that yoga practice is a “practice for life”, a tool that a child can turn to on the playground, in the classroom or in any stressful situation.

Everyone who reads Sensory Yoga for Kids: Therapeutic Movement for Children of all Abilities can take away something they can immediately do with the children in their lives. It can be simple 3-5 minute movement breaks, sensory breaks or brain breaks that give the kids a chance to improve attention and focus, chair activities, therapeutic movements or the yoga sequences.  Check out the Table of Contents below and see the wealth of information in this 193 page gem of a book!

Table of Contents

Introduction
Chapter 1: What is Sensory Processing? How does that affect our bodies?
Chapter 2: Background on Yoga
Chapter 3: Before Practicing Yoga with a Child
Chapter 4: Yoga Poses and Their Benefits
Chapter 5: Yoga for Children with Sensory Challenges
Chapter 6: Yoga for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Chapter 7: Yoga for Children with ADD/ADHD
Chapter 8: Yoga for Children Who Are Medically Fragile and/or with Physical Challenges
Chapter 9: Yoga for Children with Developmental Delays
Chapter 10: Yoga for Parents and Caregivers
Chapter 11: Yoga in Schools
Chapter 12: Practicing Yoga with Your Child/Therapists Using Yoga as a Therapeutic Tool
Endnotes
References
Resources

Excerpt from Sensory Yoga for Kids

Chapter 12: Practicing Yoga with Your Child/Therapists Using Yoga as a Therapeutic Tool

page 168

For those of us out there who are already occupational, physical or motor therapists, these ideas are familiar to us. You can take the yoga sequences, the mindfulness and the movement breaks and incorporate them into your already developed practice. …

For those of you who are yoga teachers and have a yoga background but are trying to learn more about children with special needs, hopefully this book has helped provide you some information, but mostly it will take time, experience and more knowledge to figure to what types of yoga poses, sequences, etc., will work for that specific kiddo. You may have a whole list of different ideas for a child you see because you know him or her better; that’s great. …

Parents and caregivers, I hope this book has offered you some ideas on how to incorporate yoga, therapeutic movement, mindfulness and more methods into your child’s daily routine. The amount of therapies some children receive can be overwhelming, and parents have a lot on their plate. I encourage you to try out these methods and see what works best for your child. … Again, do not forget that you are supposed to also be taking care of you and your needs, so you have the emotional availability and energy to care for your child. Good luck, and I wish you all the best!

About the Author

Britt Collins, MS, OTR/L Author of Sensory Yoga for Kids: Therapeutic Movement for Children of all AbilitiesBritt Collins, MS, OTR/L – Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Britt Collins, graduated from Colorado State University over 10 years ago and since then has worked tirelessly on OT and Sensory Integration awareness, research and application. Britt has worked in a variety of settings including pediatric hospital inpatient, ICU, rehabilitation, outpatient clinics, homes, schools and skilled nursing facilities. With her award-winning OT DVD series and two books, “Sensory Parenting: Newborns to Toddlers and Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years,” she’s among the cutting-edge leaders in the field. Her book has received enthusiastic reviews from Dr. Lucy Jane Miller and Lindsey Biel, M.A., OTR/L, and she presents nationwide alongside experts Temple Grandin, Paula Aquilla, Diane Bahr and Carol Kranowitz.

Britt’s professional specialties include: working with children with sensory processing disorder, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, Down syndrome, feeding disorders and more. Britt is also certified to teach yoga for children with special needs ages 0-12. She is working to complete her full yoga certification and her children’s yoga certification. Currently, Britt is practicing in Denver, Colorado in the Cherry Creek School District as well as providing in home early intervention for children ages birth to three for Results Matter Therapy.

For more information on Britt Collins:

About the Illustrator: Carly Jo Hougen is an artist, yogi, and adaptive ski instructor from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She graduated from University of Wisconsin LaCrosse with a major in Biology and minor in Art. She has been drawing, painting, and photographing since she was a little girl. She has spent the last seven winters bouncing back and forth from Vail, Colorado to Minneapolis, MN to ski and snowboard with adults and children with special needs. Carly’s studio is in St. Paul, MN and she is honored with every opportunity to photograph, draw, create, and ski coach with Special Olympics. Learn more on her web site www.carlyjostudio.com  and Facebook page.Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years:  School Years Are Easier when Your Child’s Senses Are Happy! by Britt Collins MS, OTR and Jackie Linder Olson - Oct 5 2012

Read Also:

Buy:

  • Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years:  School Years Are Easier when Your Child’s Senses Are Happy! by Britt Collins MS, OTR and Jackie Linder Olson – Oct 5 2012  Amazon.com   Amazon.ca
  • Sensory Parenting, From Newborns to Toddlers: Everything is Easier When Your Child’s Senses are Happy!  – Oct 1 2010 by Britt Collins, Jackie Linder Olson  Amazon.com  Amazon.ca

This post was written by Lorna
Lorna d’Entremont: Co-owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. the company behind KidCompanions Chewelry (2007) and SentioCHEWS (2013), mother of three, grandma of 5 and wife. She is a retired teacher and special needs advocate. Throughout she has taught all levels from grade 2 to grade 9. Lorna loved teaching and enjoyed seeing the students progress in the school system. During her 30 year career she took a few years off to raise her three children.
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