Archive for the ‘visual supports’ Category

Five Count Breathing Visual Support

The kids I work with at the J.D McCarty Center needed a little more support to understand the steps in Five Count Breathing. So I made this visual support using a combination of Boardmaker & MS Word.

The free printable 1-page PDF is saved on my OMazing Kids blog at: https://omazingkidsyoga.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/five-count-breathing-visual-support.pdf.

It’s a wonderful self-calming activity for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders, anxiety, stuttering & other special needs.

Inspired by this handout I found online about “Worry Wars: An Anxiety Workbook for Kids and Their Helpful Adults!” by Paris Goodyear-Brown: http://bookwhen.s3.amazonaws.com/assets/documents/4140/original.pdf?1360464416.

#pranayama #breathing #anxiety #autism #kidsyoga #yogaforkids

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More ideas in these albums on the OMazing Kids Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.344029728981372.95741.174264525957894&type=3

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https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.343461705704841.95556.174264525957894&type=3

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, IAYT, RCYP-2

Speech-Language Pathologist

Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities

Radiant Child Yoga Certified – Levels 1 & 2

E-Mail: amoorad1@juno.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga

Contests & Giveaways on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsContestsandGiveaways

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amoorad

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/#omazing-kids-yoga

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110305433538768736741

Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Community/FriendsProfile/10916/Angela-Moorad

Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com

OMazing Kids LLC is an organization that promotes inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities. The blog and social media pages share information about books, DVD’s, CD’s, games and other products specifically designed for kids wellness, mindfulness and relaxation, product reviews & giveaways, lesson plan & activity ideas, research, kids wellness in the news and a connection corner with listings of individuals doing adapted yoga and those offering trainings.

NOTE: Please ignore any ads that appear below the crayons divider bar or any ads or unusual hyperlinks that may appear above. This is a free blog site & I have no control over ads appearing here. I have attempted to remove the CouponDropDown but no luck so far…. DO NOT click on any hyperlinks unless you hover above them first to insure they are valid. Ones I included should appear in blue font.

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Arrgh Matey…. Pirate-Themed Kids Yoga Lesson Plan Ideas & Adapted Yoga

Arrgh Matey…. looking for activities to keep the Monkey Mind Pirates off your ship this summer? Activities that can be adapted for a wide range of ages, needs & abilities? Follow this OMazing Kids treasure map to find the Isle of Calm and a summer filled with pirate-themed yoga, affirmations, relaxation, crafts & more!

Week 1 of Camp ClapHans at the JD McCarty Center primarily had kids with ADHD. After reading through the campers registration forms, I knew that my usual “storybook” approach to yoga would not be the best choice for the older group of boys at camp that week. So I jumped out of my comfort zone & planned some freestyle yoga storytelling with a little structure based on the Monkey Mind Pirates workbook & CD. As I was setting up, I overheard the boys commenting “yoga is for girls”, “I don’t like yoga”, “Do we have to?”. Fearing a mutiny, I calmed & centered myself with yoga breathing & listening to a few tunes from my playlist as I continued setting up. When I set out the Hoberman Sphere & the Vibratone, two of the boys were drawn like moths to a flame. {Ahhhh….. the magic of yoga props!}. Before I knew it, the rest of the boys were seated on mats intrigued by what we were going to do.

To set the stage for our yoga adventure, I played “Welcome Aboard” by Rockin’ Ron the Friendly Pirate and read this script from the Monkey Mind Pirates in my best “piratey” voice:

We went over the “rules of the ship” with this visual support….. we didn’t want anyone to fall out of the ship or have to walk the plank….. Arrgh!

I also used a visual support to show the kids that we would be breathing through our noses (like smelling a flower) and blowing our breath out through our mouth (like blowing out a candle).

We rolled up our treasure maps…… the key to making this a pleasant experience is to ALWAYS ask permission first. Ask who wants to be rolled up. Most kids love this & it is very calming to them. But some kids are fearful of trying it. In this class, I had two boys who were hesitant to try it. One ended up asking to do it after he saw the others enjoying it. One sat and watched. He kept a look out for Monkey Mind Pirates as the rest rolled up in the maps. By honoring his choice to not be “rolled”, it opened up the door for him to feel comfortable participating in most of the activities later in the class.

wrapped up like a map during yoga

The kids were in charge of how long they wanted to stay rolled up & if they wanted to repeat the activity.

wrapped up like a map for yoga and storytelling

Doing a breathing activity from Monkey Mind Pirates…..

This boy initially insisted he was NOT going to do yoga! He didn’t even want to sit on a mat……. but after a few minutes of watching from afar look who got on the pirate ship and ended up LOVING yoga. In fact, staff reported that later in the week he was one of the ones using the 3 strategies we learned to ward off Monkey Mind Pirates as a means to self-regulate. A great example of how yoga is so much more than just having fun in that moment…… it’s also about helping kids discover tools they can use to feel calm and empowered every day 🙂

Monkey Mind Pirates wanted posters

Activities & poses on our Monkey Mind Pirates adventure: rolled up treasure maps, Gyan Mudra spyglass, seated twist to look for Monkey Mind Pirates (Sir Winston, Ansel the Antsy & Lady Bronte. I made a “wanted” poster for each Monkey Mind Pirate so they would know what we were looking for. The Monkey Mind Pirates CD comes with some trading card sized pictures but these were too small to see in a group setting. One of the campers asked if the Monkey Mind Pirates were puppets….. gotta love a child with Aspergers Syndrome’s ability to immediately infer that from the wanted poster pictures! I explained that the real Monkey Mind Pirate puppets were sailing elsewhere but we never knew when they might appear. Fortunately he bought my story… or at least humored me and we kept going with our adventure), raise the sail (triangle pose), pirate flag waving in the ocean breeze (crescent moon), setting sail on our pirate ship in search of the treasure in the “Waters of Calm” (boat), sun shining down (breathing activity pictured above), laugher yoga (the tip for taming Winston), breathing (the tip for taming Ansel the Antsy. I added the Hoberman Sphere), 1-2-3 counting breath + mindful listening (the tip for taming Lady Bronte) {we practiced each of the 3 taming tips several times as we sailed. They knew to look out for a Monkey Mind Pirate when I sounded the Vibratone & held up one of the wanted posters. Made my heart smile to see how quickly they remembered & did the tip for each one}, X marks the spot (star), digging for treasure (woodchopper), treasure chest (seated forward fold), gyan mudra gold doubloons, guided relaxation (using the Relaxing on the Beach mp3 from Relax Kids). At first the boys were a little wiggly but they quickly calmed and a couple almost fell asleep. Remember, this was a group of boys with ADHD who rarely experience that level of “calm”. The calmness was so noticeable that the Camp ClapHans assistants asked if I could come do yoga with the boys every night! I reassured them that they had learned the 3 tips for taming Monkey Mind Pirates along with the boys and that they could use the strategies with them throughout the day & night 🙂 Ahhhh…. yes mateys that is the true treasure found in the “Waters of Calm”.

The girls group in Week 1 went on a beach-themed yoga adventure with “Ladybug Girl at the Beach”. I chose NOT to do a “pirate” class with this group since I knew one of the participants very well after having worked with her in outpatient speech-language therapy. This particular child has a VERY difficult time distinguishing between reality and imagination and would often assume alternate personalities. So I was pretty sure the pirate theme might trigger some swashbuckling aggressive behaviors in her. I also did NOT pass any props (Hoberman Sphere & Vibratone) in this class since this particular child has a history of damaging things. Of course the girls group had no idea that I had chosen a different theme for that reason and LOVED the adventures of Ladybug Girl. (I’ll be including yoga ideas for that book in a summer-themed post soon). The reason I share this is to remind folks that knowing info about kids before doing lesson planning will help guide you in making good choices in customizing a class to best match those kids’ needs.

Ladybug Girl looking out at the big waves in the ocean through the Gyan Mudra binoculars (FYI…. this is not the child I was describing above. She was one of the other campers. It made my heart smile to see how well she already knew how to do yoga! When she saw the seagull in the book she spontaneously went into Pigeon Pose….. one that I have a difficult time getting into myself.)

Week 2 of Camp ClapHans primarily had kids with physical disabilities. Because I had reviewed camp registration forms & knew several of the kids from seeing them as outpatients as JDMC, I chose a book that would lend itself well to these kids developmental levels, interests & physical needs. I played “The Porpoises and the Pirate Ship” by Brent Holmes & “Welcome Aboard” by Rockin’ Ron the Friendly Pirate as I set up for the group to set the scene. We still did a pirate theme. But this time it was all with seated poses with the book “There Was An Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish” by Jennifer Ward. The kids chose whether they wanted to stay in their wheelchair or get down on a mat with a camp assistant to support them.

{Note for SLP’s: The repeated & cumulative lines, big vivid illustrations & humorous descriptive vocabulary has made “There Was An Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish” a new “fave” to use in speech-language therapy! I scanned the pirate & cut out his lower teeth to make room to “feed” him & made story props for each item he swallows in the story. These are also great to use for receptive & expressive language, sequencing & story retelling. For kids yoga, I wrote pose ideas on the back of each one with a fine-tipped permanent marker after I laminated them. The prop on the far right is for the repeated line “Yo Ho Ho! Watch his belly grow!”. It’s great to attach to a BigMack or other single message voice output communication aide (VOCA) for kids with minimal verbal skills to be able to participate in “reading” the repeating line. Get the free printable story props in this PDF: There Was An Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish story props}

{Update: 7/4/13: The illustrator, Steve Gray, generously posted a couple of illustrations on my Facebook page to use as coloring sheets after the author contacted him: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151554767913845&set=o.174264525957894&type=1&theater & https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151554766543845&set=o.174264525957894&type=1&theater.

There Was An Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish – coloring sheets

Ok on to what we did in yoga…. This child is doing the pose for the pirate ship mast (a seated version of mountain pose with hands up and together for a tall, straight mast). It made my heart smile to see him using his iPad to tell his outpatient PT at JDMC that he wanted to go back to camp this week 🙂

It’s fine to take a rest on the pirate ship…….

Blimey but that fish was slimey!

Adapted activities & poses specifically chosen for this group of kids (all were done while kids were seated in whatever position was comfortable for them): ocean breath, gyan mudra spyglass, pirate (“Arrgh” breath + moving fist across midline on each side), fish (clasped hands together at midline & wiggled them in a modified sign for “fish”), blimey that fish was slimey (palming to wipe off the fish slime), “yo ho ho watch his belly grow” belly breathing w/ Hoberman Sphere (this is a repeated line at the end of each page), bird (stretch arms behind like wings), treasure map (roll arms around each other forwards & then back), gyan mudra gold doubloons, treasure chest (seated forward fold), plank (seated cross crawl, foot stomping or patting on legs as “footsteps” depending on that child’s ability to move their lower extremities), sail (seated side bends as a modified version of triangle), mast (a seated version of mountain pose with hands up and together for a tall, straight mast), pirate ship (boat with lots of support from that child’s camp assistant. The two boys in wheelchairs had a recline feature on their chair so they were able to participate). Because all the poses were done seated, they flowed easily as we repeated them through the cumulative story. I paused at key times to see what the kids would remember……. so fun the see their delight at remembering the word + pose. At the end of the book we sank to the bottom of the deep blue sea like the pirate in the book with a guided relaxation (using the Under the Sea story from the Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids book with the Pirate Ship sound from the Relaxing Sounds Of Nature Lite free app (gentle sounds of a pirate ship creaking, waves & seagulls) and a weighted fish toy to ride on the waves of each child’s breath). After relaxation we listened to the song “Seven C’s” by Rockin’ Ron the Friendly Pirate and talked about the “courage” it took for them to come to camp and try so many new things (if you haven’t heard this song yet you should….. a really cool way to incorporate some yamas/niyamas into a pirate themed class! “there’s COURTESY, COMPASSION and a bit of COURAGE too. With CLEANLINESS and CLEVENESS they’re good for me and you. Plus CHEERFULNESS and CHARITY now that makes Seven C’s.…”). We used a gold doubloon & treasure chest prop to talk about treasures inside each of us. As each child said or signed what they were good at or liked about themselves, they added a gold doubloon to the treasure chest. I left an “I’m more precious than gold coin affirmation” page with the camp assistants to offer to the kids during their journaling time later that day so they could write or draw additional things about themselves and their new camp friends.

These were just 30-minute classes so we didn’t have time to do a pirate-themed craft. But I found several online that would be fun to do. See this printable for the coins & treasure chest we used plus more fun ideas: Pirate coin affirmation printables, crafts, activities & coloring pages

Piratey Playlist:

  • Rockin’ Ron the Friendly Pirate CD
  • Monkey Mind Pirates CD
  • Sea Tunes for Kids CD by Brent Holmes
  • Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Swashbuckling Sea Songs CD
  • Disney’s Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me) Instrumental by George Bruns
  • Rockin’ & Rollin’ On the Ocean by John Archambault & David Plummer
  • A Yogi Went to Sea by Kidding Around Yoga
  • Reiki Whale Song CD by Kamal (lots of great songs featuring whale sounds for relaxation)
  • Pirate Ship sound from the Relaxing Sounds Of Nature Lite free app
  • Plus I have lots of songs about individual ocean animals to use if needed

Please remember to keep kids individual sensory needs, developmental level, interests, etc… in mind when choosing particular music to use in a class.

I purposefully did not bring any pirate swords or hooks since those would naturally lead to kids wanting to have swashbuckling sword fights.

I’d love to hear your ideas for more “pirate yoga”! Feel free to leave a comment below or on the OMazing Kids Facebook page 🙂

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, IAYT, RCYP-2

Speech-Language Pathologist

Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities

Radiant Child Yoga Certified – Levels 1 & 2

E-Mail: amoorad1@juno.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga

Contests & Giveaways on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsContestsandGiveaways

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amoorad

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/#omazing-kids-yoga

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110305433538768736741

Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Community/FriendsProfile/10916/Angela-Moorad

Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com

OMazing Kids LLC is an organization that promotes inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities. The blog and social media pages share information about books, DVD’s, CD’s, games and other products specifically designed for kids wellness, mindfulness and relaxation, product reviews & giveaways, lesson plan & activity ideas, research, kids wellness in the news and a connection corner with listings of individuals doing adapted yoga and those offering trainings.

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

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Kids Yoga Class Tips: helping kids create class rules for a positive experience

Kids Yoga Class Rules

One of the most frequent requests I get via e-mail and Facebook messaging is for tips on handling behavior & setting rules/boundaries in a kids yoga class. I’m by no means the biggest expert among us in kids yoga but I have had quite a bit of experience in dealing with a wide variety of behaviors in my work at the JD McCarty Center. Because every situation is unique, I always respond by asking a few questions…..

  • How old are the kids in the class?
  • How many kids are in the class?
  • Do you have any adult helpers?
  • Do any of the kids have diagnosed special needs (ADHD, Autism, SPD, anxiety, etc…) that might be a contributing factor to the behavior?
  • How long is your class? How long is each activity within your class?
  • Where are you teaching the class? Does that setting have any rules that the kids should already be following?
  • What time of day is the class?

I primarily work with kids with special needs….. even the inclusive class I did last summer/fall had a few kids with special needs in it. There is a big difference developmentally between the ability of a 4 year old & an 8 year old to understand & follow rules. Many 4 year olds may have limited experience in a structured setting and may just be beginning to learn the concept of following rules. Most kids over the age of 6 or 7 probably understand the concept of following rules if they have been in a school setting.

Why Go To All This Effort?

Helping kids learn positive ways to treat themselves & others is something that will help them well beyond the particular class they are in with you at that moment in time. Think of it as an investment in “planting seeds” in that child’s life. Not all kids grow up in environments that are nurturing & provide positive structure….. so you may have a golden opportunity to help provide a positive influence and learning opportunity.

Yoga is so much more than just “poses” (asanas). It also includes Pranayama (breathing), Mantras (positive affirmations), Mindfulness (focused attention), Relaxation (includes guided imagery) & Yamas/Niyamas (character education).

A Balanced Approach to Yoga

yamas niyamas

10 Things I Do:

  1. I have kids help me write the yoga rules for their yoga class. What rules are important to them? This gives them ownership in the rules since they helped create them. Often they needed a few examples of rules & a simple explanation on “why” that rule was important to get the discussion started. Even for kids who are not at a developmental level to be able to “create” the rules, they could still help choose them out of a field of a few choices. As a fun craft activity, the kids can make a poster of the rules they helped create & then you will have the poster up as a reminder in the class. See an example of a simple 3-rule poster from my friends at Kid Partners (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=273290582744866&set=pb.148298625244063.-220752 0000.1367070208.&type=3&theater)
  2. I use visual supports and a “social story” (https://omazingkidsllc.com/2012/02/23/3-simple-yoga-class-rules-visual-support/, https://omazingkidsllc.com/2011/11/22/printable-visual-supports-for-kids-yoga/) to help kids understand the rules. More posts about visual supports on my blog: https://omazingkidsllc.com/category/visual-supports/.   I tend to keep my “yoga rules” really simple. The main three rules I typically have are:
    1. Stay on your mat
    2. Mats stay on the floor. I also make it fun by having the kids pretend to “glue” down the corners of their mat with an imaginary glue stick (learned this tip from a post from Mira at Global Family Yoga)
    3. And something along the lines of “Use “kind” words” or “We’re always nice to our friends”.

     3 Simple Yoga Class Rules - click on pic to open 1-page PDFYoga Group Social Story

  3. I have adult “helpers” to help the kids that have more extreme behaviors. This is especially important if you work with kids with special needs. I recently had a child with Autism & schizophrenia in my class and she had very unpredictable & explosive behavior. With the loving support of adult helpers, she ended up having fun participating in our therapeutic kids yoga class at JDMC.  See this post: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2012/04/30/tips-for-working-with-kids-with-autism-spectrum-disorders/
  4. I’ve learned not to be too quick to judge whether or not a particular child is “enjoying” yoga or any other activities. I have seen many kids initially be resistant or ambivalent to yoga and other activities end up loving it when given the opportunity to experience it on their own terms & at their own pace within safe boundaries.
  5. I tend to ignore behaviors unless they are at risk of hurting themselves or others and keep moving with the class. If the class is fun and you are the most interesting thing in the room, most kids will be engaged with what you are doing. As a general rule of thumb, behaviors that get the most attention are “reinforced” and are more likely to occur again. So I intentionally focus more attention on what kids are doing “right” and give specific praise regarding the on-task & positive behaviors I see kids doing.
  6. I have also strategically assigned yoga mats so certain kids can’t sit next to each other & the most disruptive kids were right by me. I then assigned them special jobs to be my “helpers”.
  7. Sometimes it also helps to change up the pace of the class when kids start exhibiting behaviors. I have had kids lose interest if I stayed too long on a particular pose or activity, it was too hard/too easy or it was too overstimulating. I put alot of thought into choosing props & music for classes for this reason…… and depending on how a class is going I will often modify as I go to meet what the kids are needing at that moment.
  8. I almost always base my classes around a kids picture book. It gives the kids something to pay attention to, they get to “be” part of the story & a book gives structure of having a beginning & an end.
  9. When I am doing an after-school class, I keep in mind that kids have had to sit all day, may have lots of energy and need to move. One idea is to start out the class with a really upbeat activity to give the kids a chance to get the sillies out. Yoga Freeze Dance is always fave. Then gradually reduce the activity level to calm.
  10. I keep kids attention spans, developmental levels & special needs in mind when determining the length of my class or any activities I am doing within a class.

Want More Info?

Lisa Flynn’s new book “Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children” is full of great tips!

lisa's book

As of the date of this post, Amazon has it on sale for 39% off (http://www.amazon.com/Yoga-Children-Breathing-Exercises-Meditations/dp/1440554633). There are also some tips on this post on her ChildLight Yoga blog: http://www.thekidsyogaresource.com/2010/11/how-do-i-manage-challenging-behavior-in-a-kids- yoga-class.html.

See these posts for more great ideas:

http://rainbowkidsyoga.net/articles/alternative_education.html

http://rainbowkidsyoga.net/articles/alternative_education_part2.html

http://bodylogique.blogspot.com/2013/04/15-ways-to-be-more-effective-yoga.html

http://bodylogique.blogspot.com/2012/05/keep-it-simple-keep-it-real.html

http://littleyogastars.blogspot.com/2012/03/yoga-for-27-first-graders.html

http://www.teachasana.com/2012/08/notes-from-a-newbie-teaching-yoga-to-children/

http://imaginationyoga.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/kind-hearts-kind-words-kind-thoughts/

http://yogainmyschool.com/2010/11/18/5-ways-to-eliminate-disruptive-behavior-in-kids-yoga-class/

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/11/is-your-yoga-class-out-of-control/

 

 

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Feel free to share your tips & “tag” your page in the comments in this album on the OMazing Kids Facebook page. I love to connect & learn from others in the amazing kids yoga community: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.545732352144441.1073741837.174264525957894&type=1&uploaded=1

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, IAYT, RCYP-2

Speech-Language Pathologist at the JD McCarty Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities (http://www.jdmc.org/)

Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities

Radiant Child Yoga Certified – Levels 1 & 2

E-Mail: amoorad1@juno.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga

Contests & Giveaways on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsContestsandGiveaways

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amoorad

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/#omazing-kids-yoga

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110305433538768736741

Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Community/FriendsProfile/10916/Angela-Moorad

Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com

OMazing Kids LLC is an organization that promotes inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities. The blog and social media pages share information about books, DVD’s, CD’s, games and other products specifically designed for kids wellness, mindfulness and relaxation, product reviews & giveaways, lesson plan & activity ideas, research, kids wellness in the news and a connection corner with listings of individuals doing adapted yoga and those offering trainings.

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

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{Review & Thanks} Therapeutic uses for Bumpidoodle cushions

bumpidoodle thank you

Huge “thanks” to bumpidoodle for their generous donation of 11 of their floor cushions to the Jd McCarty Center for Children With Developmental Disabilities! They sent two of each of the following: Dillon Dog, Ellie Elephant, Leonard Lion, Mason Monkey & Parker Pig plus one Olive Owl. The JD McCarty Center, where I work full time as a SLP, is a non-profit pediatric rehab hospital for kids ages 0-21 years with developmental disabilities. Budgets are usually tight so we really appreciate donations of items that can help our kids!

We look forward to using these in our adapted Storytime Group, OMazing Kids yoga, OT/PT/SLP therapy sessions, as a special “thinking” spot for kids to take a break, etc…. I will be adding more pics to this album on Facebook:

click pic to go to bumpidoodle album on the OMazing Kids Facebook page

Here’s how I have used my Bumpidoodle cushion along with an  “I am feeling…. I will…..” visual support to assist kids in telling how they are feeling and to help them learn self-calming strategies:

Many of the kids I work with have severe behavioral and self-regulation issues and having a Bumpidoodle cushion recently worked wonders with one of my 6 year old inpatients who has a TBI as a result of severe physical abuse. He learned how to take a break & choose a self-calming activity (his faves are deep breaths/blow away the “grumpies”, squeezing a sensory ball & hugging a pillow). A huge breakthrough was when he was able to also show me where he was on a behavior thermometer & let me know when he was ready continue working. The smile on his face was priceless & it made my heart smile to see him experience the power of self-regulation. ♥

  • A large Bumpidoodle Olive Owl floor cushion (Owl’s Thinking Spot) was placed in the corner of the room along with the “I am feeling…. I will…..” visual support, squeeze balls & a pillow. The feeling cards and self-calming choices were customized to fit this child’s interests, developmental level & needs.

visual support + bumpidoodle

I love the Olive Owl Bumpidoodle for the following reasons:

  • calming blue color
  • soft cozy texture
  • the tie-in with the concept of owls thinking and making wise choices
  • Since it is unlike any cushion or beanbag chair a child has seen before, it is novel and doesn’t come with any previous feelings or experiences attached to it.
  • It also has a removeable cover that is machine-washable and is easier to get in/out of than a beanbag chair.
  • Since the cover is removeable, you could also add extra “fluff” or even beanbag filling if you wanted to change how much support it gives as a seating option.

I got a great deal on mine in the clearance section at Target (only $14.98) but have also seen them on Amazon.com.

  • I introduce the visual support & the Owl’s Thinking Spot during sessions where they are exhibiting a good mood & positive behavior. This “pre-teaching is critical”. None of us learn something new very well in the middle of stress or a behavior meltdown.
  • During the “pre-teaching” sessions, this child verbalized interest in these items (“cool”, “I like that”).
  • During subsequent sessions, the child said “I need a break”, sat down on “Owl’s Thinking Spot” and looked through the emotion pictures. He usually chose “mad” or “frustrated” and then on his own chose what he wanted to do about it (usually chose “squeeze a ball”, “hug a pillow” and/or “take deep breaths”). After a brief break he usually said “I’m ready” or “I’m ok now” and returned to the therapy table to continue working.
  • This special “thinking spot” should be talked about in a positive manner and never used as a punishment or as “time out”. The child should be praised for successfully taking a break & using self-calming strategies. Refrain from asking the child “why” they are feeling a particular emotion (“why” questions are really difficult & during a meltdown is not the time to ask this). Instead, allow them time to express how they are feeling and to pick what they would like to “do” as a self-calming activity.

Have Boardmaker? Get a copy of the visual support on my page on Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Activity/1817562/Behavior-Thermometer-I-am-feeling-I-will-with-f. Then you will be able to customize it to meet your kids individual needs. This is a visual support I made many years ago for a Social Skills summer camp we did at JDMC. Many of the kids at that camp had Asperger’s and liked very detailed & specific language. So that’s why there are so many feeling choices. But that many choices was too many for the 6 year old I described above. After a few sessions of getting to know him, we started with 10 feeling choices. Some kids may need to start with even less than that. You can always add more as you teach them.

Don’t have Boardmaker? Here is a PDF of the simplified version of this visual support: Behavior Thermometer, I am feeling…. I will…… with feelings and self-calming choices (with kids yoga & Bumpidoodle cushion)

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, IAYT, RCYP-2

Speech-Language Pathologist at the JD McCarty Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities (http://www.jdmc.org/)

Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities

Radiant Child Yoga Certified – Levels 1 & 2

E-Mail: amoorad1@juno.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga

Contests & Giveaways on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsContestsandGiveaways

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amoorad

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/#omazing-kids-yoga

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110305433538768736741

Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Community/FriendsProfile/10916/Angela-Moorad

Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com

OMazing Kids LLC is an organization that promotes inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities. The blog and social media pages share information about books, DVD’s, CD’s, games and other products specifically designed for kids wellness, mindfulness and relaxation, product reviews & giveaways, lesson plan & activity ideas, research, kids wellness in the news and a connection corner with listings of individuals doing adapted yoga and those offering trainings.

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Tips for Working with Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Working with kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders is my passion & area of expertise as a Speech-Language Pathologist. I have had several folks contact me recently via Facebook and e-mail asking for a few tips.

The most important thing when working with kids, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorders or any other special needs, is to get info about the kids and get to know them as individuals. I have been a SLP for 22 years and have worked with hundreds of kids with ASD ranging from infants (pre-diagnosis) to 21 years of age….. and the saying is definitely true “when you have met one person with Autism, you have met ONE person with Autism”. Every child is a unique individual….. like each of us is a unique individual. But there are also some general things that are helpful to know if you are considering working with kids with ASD so here are a few general tips:

* use visual supports (see several posts: https://omazingkidsllc.com/?s=visual+supports).

* have a predictable routine.

* be mindful of the sensory issues of each individual child (many are easily overstimulated by smells, lights, extra props, music, noises, etc…). Be mindful of this when picking yoga mats to use. Avoid ones with a strong odor, over-stimulating colors and/or distracting designs or patterns. Kids with ASD can take things very literally so if you have a yoga mat with a certain animal or pose on it they may think that is the only pose they can do on that mat. Non-toxic, eco-friendly yoga mats in solid, calming shades of blues & greens are my typical recommendation. There is actually some research about kids with special needs reactions to certain colors and many individuals with ASD were drawn to blues & greens and I have found this to be true in my personal practice as well.

* be aware that many individuals with ASD have difficulty making and maintaining eye contact. Many teens and adults with ASD have described eye contact as an overwhelming and sometimes painful sensory experience. Many have also described that eye contact can be so overwhelming that to look and listen at the same time is too much sensory information. In my work as a SLP, I have found it helpful to teach kids how to “approximate” eye contact by periodically looking at something in the facial region (ex: eyebrows, nose, chin, rim of eye glasses) of the conversational partner as a way to be socially engaging while still respecting their own sensory needs. I have seen way too many kids with ASD in my career where direct, unatural eye contact was overemphasized and the results are not usually good.

* don’t be too quick to judge whether or not a child with ASD is “enjoying” yoga or any other activity….. I have seen many kids initially be resistant or ambivalent to yoga and other activities end up loving it when given the opportunity to experience it on their own terms & at their own pace.

* be mindful of group dynamics & group size… many kids with ASD are overwhelmed in large groups.

* be mindful of the sensory aspects of the poses and breathing activities. Kids with ASD often have very significant Sensory Processing problems and can be very sensitive to poses that require balance or inversion. In general, poses that provide “flexion” tend to be calming, poses that provide “extension” tend to be alerting & energizing and poses that use both sides of the body and/or cross midline tend to promote focusing.

* many kids with ASD have “high interest” areas….. with some kids these make good theme choices to get them interested.

* many kids with ASD have poor motor planning skills and auditory processing problems so you may need to modify/simplify poses and use very simple instructions (one step at a time). You may need to wait a few seconds to allow the child to process verbal information. It is also helpful to provide a consistent cue before giving instructions and pairing verbal instructions with simple sign language/gestures and visual supports.

* always ask the child’s permission before touching or offering help with a pose & get info ahead of time about how that child reacts to touch. As a general rule of thumb more of them tolerate deep/firm pressure better than light touch…. but this can vary greatly from child to child.

Here is a link to a presentation I did at the Oklahoma Autism Conference: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2011/11/20/omazing-kids-yoga-therapeutic-yoga-for-kids-and-teens-with-autism-handouts-links-for-presentation-at-the-oklahoma-autism-conference-11-19-11/. It includes links to lots of great resources, video clips and research articles.

And a post I did about inclusion: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2012/01/16/universal-design-for-inclusive-kids-yoga-inclusion-is-belonging/

There are lots of great folks out there doing adapted yoga for kids with ASD. Here are links to a few of my faves:

 

Bodylogique: http://www.bodylogique.com/http://www.facebook.com/BodyLogique, blog: http://bodylogique.blogspot.com/. Check out the interview Barbara did last April: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yoga-in-my-school/2011/04/06/yoga-for-autism-with-barbara-gini. She also did a webinar “Yoga for Children with Autism” earlier this month with Donna Freeman at Yoga In My School (available for purchase: http://yogainmyschool.com/store/webinars/).

 

ZensationalKids:  http://zensationalkids.com/http://www.facebook.com/pages/Zensational-Kids-LLC/201943263172877Allison  is a licensed occupational therapist, a Registered Yoga Teacher and is a trainer with Radiant Child Yoga. She co-teaches their specialty course “Yoga for Differently-Abled Children: Working With ADHD, Autism and Sensory Processing Issues”. 

 

S.T.O.P. and Relax:  http://www.stopandrelax.net/http://www.facebook.com/stopandrelax.net

 

A great post on the Spirit of Autism blog: http://spiritofautism.org/2011/11/10/7-benefits-of-yoga-for-autism/

 

A great book isYoga Therapy for Every Special Child – Meeting Needs in a Natural Setting” by Nancy Williams. It’s a “must-have” for anyone doing adapted or therapeutic yoga. Nancy is a Speech-Language Pathologist &  Registered Yoga Teacher. http://yogatherapy4children.com/index.htmlhttp://www.facebook.com/pages/Yoga-Therapy-4-Every-Special-Child/151568364912636.

Hope this helps!

You can also reach me at amoorad1@juno.com if you ever want to chat via e-mail 🙂

Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, IAYT, RCYP-2

Speech-Language Pathologist

Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities

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

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/

Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com

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3 Simple Yoga Class Rules – visual support

Here is a new visual support I made to help kids understand 3 simple rules for yoga class….. inspired by a picture I saw on the Kid Partners, Inc. Facebook page 🙂  I always love seeing Melissa’s posts since she is a fellow Speech-Language Pathologist.

Click on pic to open 1-page PDF

Printable Visual Supports for Kids Yoga

Looking for Printable Visual Supports for Kids Yoga?

Several folks have sent e-mails requesting printable versions of some of the visual supports I have made to use in OMazing Kids Yoga so I have uploaded several to this blog in PDF format:

 

I used a combination of Boardmaker, MS Word, MS Paint, Google Images and the “snipping tool” in Windows 7 to make these visual supports. 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/).

 

I would LOVE to see examples of visual supports that other folks have made & use in yoga groups with kids and teens! Feel free to post them here on my blog, on my Facebook page or send them to me via e-mail so I can share them 🙂 

 

The “4 B’s of Self Control” is a wonderful support created by Barbara Gini at BodyLogique in collaboration with Lisa Auerbach Baum, OT & owner of KidsPlayWork – Pediatric Occupational TherapyHere is the PDF version I shared at my presentation at the Oklahoma Autism Conference: 4 B’s of Self Control – A 4-step method for relaxing tension, refocusing & calming.

Together we can create supports that kids with different learning styles or disabilities will need in order to be successfully included in yoga groups….. inclusion of ALL kids should be our goal 🙂   (as you can tell, this is an area that I am passionate about!)

 

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-being-inclusive-of-learning-styles/

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

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.