Using Visual Supports in Yoga Groups for Kids & Teens – being inclusive of learning styles

Looking for ways to include kids & teens with different learning styles in your yoga groups? Want to use positive ways to support participation and reduce problematic behaviors? Then you might want to consider using “visual supports”.

Many of the kids I work with in OMazing Kids Yoga have difficulty understanding & following verbal instructions. This can be due to a difference in learning style (visual vs. auditory learner), difficulty maintaining attention (ex: ADD/ADHD), difficulty tuning out extra sensory input to be able to attend (ex: Sensory Processing Disorders), focusing in too much on an area of high interest to the point that the child has difficulty attending to other information (ex: Autism Spectrum Disorders), specific learning disabilities, etc…

Regardless of “why” the child is having difficulty understanding & following instructions, this will make it difficult for them to participate in a meaningful way in activities, including a kids yoga class.

Adding “visual supports” (ex: pictures of the poses, pictures to depict the sequence of activities that will occur in the group, pictures to show the “steps” within an activity, showing “first ____ / then _______”, etc…) can make a BIG difference for many kids.

Here are a few examples of visual supports I created to use in OMazing Kids Yoga:

Some kids do well with a “Social Story” describing the expected behavior and how that makes other feel:

Some kids do well with a left-to-right schedule showing what will happen in the group (other kids do better with a top-to-bottom type schedule):

(this file is saved out on Boardmaker Share at: http://www.boardmakerachieve.com/Activity/1865866)

Some kids need extra visual cues to help them understand concepts:

(Note: These are just a few examples of the many different visual supports I use. Every child is unique so I often modify things or make new visual supports to meet those unique needs. Some kids do better with photos, black & white symbols or just words.)

Looking for PDF printable versions of some visual supports?  Here are a few: yoga breathing visual support (flower and candle), Social Story “Good Behavior in Yoga Group” with picture symbols, Peace Tree – guided visualization.

 How Do I Make These Visual Supports?  I use a combination of Boardmaker, MS Word, MS Paint, Google Images and the “snipping tool” in Windows 7. Boardmaker is a software program commonly used by Special Education teachers, Speech-Language Pathologists and other therapists to make communication boards, educational materials & visual supports for kids with special needs. Mayer Johnson offers a 30-day free trial of the program (http://www.mayer-johnson.com/downloads/trials/) and free online trainings on how to use it (http://www.mayer-johnson.com/training/recorded/details/id/2189/).

More About Visual Supports

Visual supports help many children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other special needs understand their world better.

Just as many adults need calendars, to-do lists, shopping lists and planners to remind them of their activities for the day, many children need visual schedules and other visual supports.

Visual supports enhance understanding of what is going to happen and clarify expectations during that specific time period or activity.

In addition, visual supports often help the child move from one activity to the next with less frustration and reduced behavioral outbursts because the symbols turn the unknown into something the child understands.

The consistency provided by a visual support is crucial in establishing an atmosphere of trust and
security. Visual supports can also provide motivation for the child to work through a less preferred activity knowing a preferred/reinforcing activity is coming soon.

The type of symbols used, number of activities and amount of time shown on a visual schedule depend on the individual child’s needs.

If you want even more info about “visual supports”, check out these websites:

http://www.autism4teachers.com/autism4teachers_028.htm

http://www.autism4teachers.com/autism4teachers_020.htm

http://cdd.unm.edu/swan/autism_course/modules/environ/visualschedule/index.htm

http://card.ufl.edu/content/visual.html

http://www.polyxo.com/visualsupport/

http://autismpdc.fpg.unc.edu/content/visual-supports

http://www.usevisualstrategies.com/VisualStrategiesInformation.aspx

http://visualaidsforlearning.com/

http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/visual-supports.pdf 

NOTE:  Please ignore any ads that appear below the blue divider bar. This is a free blog site & I have no control over ads appearing here.

Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, IAYT, RCYP-2
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids Yoga, LLC – inclusive yoga for kids & teens of all abilities in Norman, Oklahoma
Radiant Child Yoga Certified – Levels 1 & 2
E-mail: amoorad1@juno.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1
Blog: https://omazingkidsyoga.wordpress.com

Advertisements

12 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks for sharing blog !! Great information i like this post

  2. Posted by Mukti on May 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Hi Angela,
    Where do I go to get copies of the pictures to make my own resources for my special little children? Is there a page that I can download copies? Thanks Mukti

  3. Hi Angela,
    Love your list of visual support web sites. I agree that this is a valuable tool for helping kids know what is coming next, the schedule of the class/activity, and the expectation from start to finish. I also use visual supports to help children with motor planning. For those children that have difficulty knowing where their body is in space and HOW TO get there body where it needs to be, I use photographs of them doing the poses, games, breath, or meditation. Seeing themselves, or their peers really helps with motivating them and making it REAL. Happy to share a short yoga warm up that I made using pictures for movements and directions that can be read by the student, a peer, or the teacher.
    http://zensationalkids.com/stressandobesity.html
    STRESSBUSTER MOVES are linked at the bottom of the page

    thanks for continually sharing YOUR great ideas and spreading the ideas of others
    🙂 allison@zensationalkids.com

    • Hi Allison – I LOVE your StressBuster Moves printable & shared it on my OMazing Kids Yoga Facebook page! Thanks for sharing it!

      Motor planning & auditory processing issues are significant issues for many of the kids I work with …… visual supports make a huge difference 🙂

  4. […] For more details about the importance of using visual supports to be inclusive of different learning styles, see my blog post: https://omazingkidsyoga.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/using-visual-supports-in-yoga-groups-for-kids-teens-… […]

  5. Posted by Gale Prol on November 14, 2011 at 5:02 am

    Hi, thanks for the reminder to keep things positive. There are no admonishments and only direct what TO do rather what NOT to do. First time I’ve seen the visuals for calming breathing in and out. They are very cool! I will want to use those right away! Thanks again.

  6. […] neat differentiation tip I am highlighting is how to use visual supports in the context of a yoga lesson. The examples are great and it is clear to see how these would help not only students with […]

    • Thanks Paula! I have all your books & LOVE them 🙂 My passion for working with kids with ASD is what originally lead me down the path of kids yoga about 18 months ago. I will be doing a presentation on therapeutic yoga for kids and teens at the Oklahoma Autism Conference this Saturday. Thanks for sharing my blog on your blog! I also share quite a few things over on my OMazing Kids Yoga Facebook page & YouTube Channel….

      Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, IAYT, RCYP-2
      Speech-Language Pathologist
      Founder of OMazing Kids Yoga, LLC – inclusive yoga for kids & teens of all abilities in Norman, Oklahoma
      Radiant Child Yoga Certified – Levels 1 & 2
      Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga
      YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1
      Blog: https://omazingkidsyoga.wordpress.com

  7. Excellent resources Angela! Thanks! ~Barbara@BodyLogique

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: