“Any child (person) can benefit from yoga, with yoga you are speaking to a child’s soul, so whatever their mental or physical capacity they can still benefit” –Jyoti Jo Manuel
How does Yoga support Speech, Language and Communication?
Speech, language and communication requires input from all of the sensory systems and movement activates these systems; it is widely accepted within child development research that movement increases language learning. Pairing movement with language learning strategies appears to enhance recall abilities and stimulate novel, appropriate, spontaneous language.
This new approach to communication support has a growing body of evidence, some of which can be found below:
- Integrated Movement TherapyTM: Yoga-Based Therapy as a Viable and Effective Intervention for Autism Spectrum and Related Disorders
- Integrated approach to yoga therapy and autism spectrum disorders
- A Calming Influence
- 25 Reasons Why Yoga, Speech and Language Go Together
Yoga at The Therapy Tree
Special Yoga is aimed at supporting children and people with ‘Special Needs’ or developmental disability. The sessions are more than yoga poses; rather the therapy is a holistic practice to support the person to feel safe, grounded, comfortable in their own body, calm and connected. The practice supports the development of the physical body, communication, cognition, emotional and sensory regulation as well a coping skills. Scroll down for more information!
Ashleigh as the first UK certified Talk Yoga practitioner is excited to share this new approach to Speech & Language Enrichment!
Talk Yoga integrates yoga movements with speech and language developmental milestones. Scroll down for more information!
Coming soon in 2020…..Adult Yoga classes and Adult 1:1 private Yoga support.
Special Yoga Therapy
For many people living with a developmental disability or special need their nervous system can live in a state of alert (fight/flight/freeze) meaning they are unable to remain in a calm and organised state necessary for positive wellbeing and learning. The sessions are not about how many yoga poses or how complex the poses are; the therapy is a holistic practice to support the person to feel relaxed, safe, grounded, comfortable in their own body, calm and connected. By facilitating this calm and organised state we can support development of the physical body, cognition, emotional and sensory regulation as well a coping skills.
Within sessions a range of techniques can be used:
- Breath work (Pranayama). By regulating the respiratory system the fight/flight/freeze response of the nervous system is calmed and regulated. This helps communication, general health & well-being, mood, quality of sleep and ability to relax.
- Movement & breath – The yoga postures (Asanas). When working on the asanas we are working towards body alignment; by moving with the breath our body relaxes and we can move further, without pain, releasing tension and limitations whilst increasing strength and flexibility.
- Deep pressure touch/massage. Massage and nourishing touch stimulates the release of happy hormones, organ function and calms the nervous system. Deep pressure also helps to regulate the proprioceptive sensory system.
- Singing & chanting. By using vocalisation we are encouraging sustained exhalation which links to breath work and can support speech sound development. Singing can also release both physical and emotional tension as well as developing motor planning when used with movement.
- Meditation, mindfulness & relaxation. Deep relaxation, like sleep, allows the body and mind space to process, repair and restore. Within a relaxed mindful state the person can assimilate all they have experienced and learnt to feel peace, develop coping skills, self awareness and concentration.
The benefits of Special Yoga Therapy include:
- Improving motor control and motor planning skills
- Developing physical strength, muscle tone and balance
- Promoting flexibility and correcting postural misalignment
- Increasing self-awareness
- Establishing calm, organised mental states
- Improve concentration
- Reduce hyperactivity
- Relieve respiratory ailments
- Develop the ability to relax
- Release tension
- Reduce fear, frustration and stress
- Enrich the quality and quantity of sleep
Links are now being identified within scientific studies between Yoga Therapy and benefits for communication such as:
- Increased skills in eye contact
- Improved attention
- Increased non-verbal communication
- Increased receptive skills to verbal commands related to spatial relationships
Ashleigh is happy to discuss the benefits of Yoga Therapy for communication and links between Special Yoga and other specific Speech & Language Therapy interventions.
Designed by Speech & Language Therapists and Yoga Teachers, Amy & Kim in the USA, Talk Yoga integrates Yoga practices with Speech & Language developmental milestones. Talk Yoga uses familiar and newly designed poses known as the articulation poses; these whole body poses mirror the movements of our articulators and encourage accurate tongue position needed for clear speech sounds.
Talk Yoga develops through 3 levels:
Establishing – For our Yogis at an early level of language development, we will be working with simple 1 key word directions, naming words, imitation and early sounds.
Boosting – As our Yogis become more confident with language use we begin to expand skills through use descriptive words, morphemes, longer phrases and questions.
Enriching – We have introduced the basics and now we can’t be stopped! We become more spontaneous, begin to use more complex language and directions, sequencing, story telling through movement and phonemic awareness.
- Improved expressive language
- Enhanced ability to recall information and follow directions
- Improvement of articulation abilities
- Growth in social skills
- Use of modulated movement to sustain attention and participation
- Use of self-calming and relaxation strategies
- Stimulation of sensory systems and motor learning/planning
- Added happiness and self-confidence
Talk Yoga Enrichment Classes
These general classes are accessible with benefits for all children not only those with speech, language & communication needs. Those at risk of SLCN or those with delayed skills ,will particularly benefit from this targeted level of Speech and Language support. These language enrichment groups provide an environment to move, have fun and play whilst learning about language.
These small group classes may be in addition to specialist level support as a complementing therapy or to enhance universal level services.
Enrichment Classes FAQ
Worried your young person will walk off/ won’t participate?
Don’t worry! we do lots of short activities to support people with short attention spans who need lots of stimulation. It can take a few weeks for some people to join in, often people will watch and learn for the first one or two classes but they will be taking it all in – that is how many of us learn!
If you still aren’t sure whether a group situation is right then perhaps starting with an assessment session or private 1:1 class would be beneficial.
What to wear?
Loose comfortable fitting clothes preferably cotton. Leggings, t-shirts, tracksuit pants, sweatshirts etc are all fine.
During the COVID-19 pandemic classes are online – Are live online group classes right for us?
Teletherapy is surprisingly flexible but that doesn’t mean group remote sessions are right for everyone. This online class asks participants to engage and follow an adult either independently or with support from someone at their location.
Still not sure? Why not try a private 1:1 or 30min online assessment.
Contact Ashleigh to discuss your specific needs & questions.
Contact Ashleigh for a free no obligation consultation.