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Using Yoga to Improve Self-Regulation, Motor Skills and Communication in Young Children with Special Needs

The NLM Family Foundation provided a grant to the Brookline Education Foundation to sponsor two early childhood educators’ participation in a five day teacher-training program designed to help educators of children with special needs discover the many benefits of yoga. In this program, titled, “Every Kid’s Yoga: Teaching Yoga to Children with Special Needs,” participants learned a variety of yoga-based techniques to support and enhance other therapeutic modalities (occupational therapy and speech and language therapy) resulting in improved learning and school performance. This program provided ideas to address issues associated with disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorders, Speech and Language Based Learning Disabilities, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The anticipated outcome of this project would be for Brookline educators to receive formal training by learning a systematic and integrated therapeutic approach to teaching yoga for use within their early childhood programs. The intent is for students to present with improved self-regulation, focus, organization, and ‘availability’, all necessary prerequisites for learning. Their hope is that using yoga with their students and through collaboration with other Brookline Early Education educators, they will directly improve the education of all Brookline early childhood students.