Sensory Processing Yoga: Supporting children and young adults with Sensory Processing Difficulties
The health benefits of yoga are well known and research has shown that, for children with sensory processing difficulties, regular yoga practice can help with their body awareness, movement and self-regulation.
Sensory processing is our ability to filter, organise and process sensory information from our environment, so that we can respond appropriately. The sensory information from our environment comes through many different sensory systems, namely the eyes (vision), smell (olfactory) taste (gustatory), touch through the tactile system, movement through the vestibular system and information through our muscles and joints to help us with body awareness through the proprioceptive system.
Mel Campbell is a registered occupational therapist and advanced sensory integration practitioner who has worked extensively within schools with children and young people with sensory processing difficulties, which may be a symptom of their autism, ADHD, DCD, dyspraxia, motor or postural stability difficulties. She is also an experienced yoga teacher and has created a Sensory Processing Yoga programme, as she noticed over the years how Sensory Processing Yoga has a positive impact on her clients’ physical, emotional and mental well-being.
Sensory Processing Yoga helps individuals with dyspraxia, postural instability, and sensory processing difficulties. By practising the different aspects of yoga; the poses (asana), breathing (pranayama) and relaxation individuals can improve their motor skills such as there coordination, balance, bilateral integration, muscle tone, strength and execution of movement, whilst different breathing techniques can help calm and maintain an optimal state of arousal with self-regulation.
Tree pose: Helps with balance, strength, bilateral integration, muscle tone as well as inducing a feeling of calm as an individual focusses on their breath in order to help them balance. Stimulating proprioceptive input through body awareness through the muscles and joints, the vestibular pathways which are responsible for balance, coordination and bilateral integration and the tactile system through the feel of the feet on the floor and sensations in the feet and hands as they meet the floor and other parts of the body. All promoting sensory processing.
As an occupational therapist, Campbell often recommends sensory diets for children and young people to develop their sensory processing skills. Through personalised programmes which involve various vestibular (movement –balance) based proprioception (movement and resistance) and tactile (deep pressure and touch) activities individuals can receive the sensory input they need to help them become focused and organised through-out the day.
Sensory Processing Yoga can complement and contribute to these programmes to support the individual with their attention, focus and levels of engagement.
The Sensory Processing Yoga programme is available on DVD and features four easy to follow yoga classes each about twenty minutes long to support individuals who may need a calming or alerting practice to support their self-regulation as well as practises to support postural stability for those low postural tone and core strength and a motor planning sequence to support balance, coordination and body awareness. In addition there is a short guided relaxation and some breathing exercises which aims to teach effective ways of breathing to support self-regulation, body awareness and core stability. This DVD can be followed in the classroom or in the home.
A trailer of her Sensory Processing Yoga DVD is available here
This DVD is for occupational therapists and teachers who work with children on the autistic spectrum and their parents.
A copy of the DVD may be purchased from her website
Mel Campbell is a registered Occupational Therapist and advanced Sensory Integration practitioner with a post graduate diploma in sensory integration. She has worked extensively within schools with children and young people with Sensory Processing Difficulties and is also an experienced yoga teacher.
She is also the author of the book and DVD, The Yoga of Pregnancy.
Mel Campbell Consultant Occupational Therapist Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioner DipCOT, PGDip SI, HPC, 500 RYT
Tel: +44 (0) 7881 383 750
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