Yoga for Children & Young People with Autism:

Yoga Games and Activities for Everyone across the Spectrum

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Publication date: Thursday 21 , February 2019

A fun and engaging guide to introducing and developing yoga with children and young people on the Autistic Spectrum. 

Speaking from decades of experience, Michael Chissick shares the secrets to teaching yoga to children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

The physical , emotional and social benefits of yoga for children on the autistic spectrum can be profound and this book will give you the confidence to get going with an array of fun activities and games from 'Umbrella Game' to 'Yoga Detective'

Whether you work in special needs school, primary mainstream or the community , or are parents of an autistic child , this book will equip you with lesson plans , structures, goals, teaching tips, and a multitude of real life case studies.

The book is suitable for teaching everyone on the spectrum, with an emphasis on teaching those with more complicated needs. It is also relevant for use with children who have related needs such as ADHD and sensory processing challenges.

Beautifully illustrated with images of the postures taught within, it is the perfect go-to resource for anyone interested in engaging children and young people in yoga. 


ANIMATED VIDEO OF THE IDEAL YOGA LESSON FOR EVERYONE ACROSS THE SPECTRUM 

An animated video, entitled : Yoga for Children & Young People with Autism -The Video is a wonderful companion to the book and is available now and is highly recommended 


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Reviews

Real reviews from real humans who have purchased Yoga for Children & Young People with Autism:
Average 5.0 out of 5 from 5 review(s)
5 star review
Ryan Jones, Assistant Headteacher at Treetops School, Thurrock, Essex, UK on 22/09/2018
‘I would recommend Michael's works to anyone within education, his yoga games are uncomplicated and the resources are first class! It allows the reader to benefit from Michael's vast experience of not only teaching yoga, but successfully delivering within special educational needs settings.’

5 star review
Wendy Teasdill, Teacher Trainer for the British Wheel of Yoga , UK on 22/09/2018
‘A masterpiece of a book for those teaching yoga to children anywhere on the autistic spectrum. Just brilliant.’
5 star review
Catherine McNerney, Assistant Head at Phoenix School, UK, London on 16/10/2018
This collection is another gem from Chissick. His structured and
inclusive approach to yoga for those with autism is clear, userfriendly
and most importantly, fun! There are so many ideas and
approaches here that practitioners and parents will find invaluable.
At a time when we are becoming increasingly aware of the lifelong
importance of well-being and mental health for all, teaching yoga
is a wonderful way to equip a vulnerable group of children with
skills that will support their well-being for a long time to come!’
5 star review
Phillippa Johnson, Specialist Lead Educator of Maths and Primary Classroom Teacher, UK, Grantham on 16/10/2018
‘Amongst the expressive visuals and easy to follow yoga activities
I’ve come to expect with Michael’s books, you’ll find some real life
insights into engaging children across a broad range of sensory
needs. I am by no means a yoga practitioner, but by following the
game-led and goal-focused approach championed by Michael
I’m able to confidently deliver activities that engage everyone in
the class. It’s no secret that children are more likely to be receptive
to physical activity if it’s fun but Michael’s knowledge goes further
by really considering the differing sensory needs of the children
creating a balanced and nurturing environment. The structure
and repetition of the activities breeds consistency, giving me the
assurance of delivering a manageable, enjoyable, but above all
achievable yoga lesson for all.’
5 star review
Wendy Teasdill - Teacher Trainer BWY, A LONG REVIEW AND WORTH IT! on 02/07/2019
This is a really useful book for those teaching yoga to children anywhere on the autistic spectrum. In simple language, printed in a very clear, readable font, Michael presents a background to autism and gives clear strategies as to how to address the difficulties children might face.

Michael explains aspects of autism in a straight-forward, user-friendly manner: sensory needs, for example, are addressed by clarifying what is meant by dysfunction in the vestibular and proprioceptive systems. This in turn can lead to hyper or hypo sensitivity. As a result, these children may swing to extremes of behaviour that our education system is not geared up to deal with. A hyper-sensitive child may be reluctant to move; a hypo-sensitive child may become hyper-active and unable to stop moving. We are probably all familiar with these conditions, but maybe never had an explanation before.

Michael introduces phrases such as `gravitational insecurity’ – i.e. not wanting to have the feet off the ground – and the ways in which these conditions negatively impact on the children. After this we are given solutions – in the case of gravitational insecurity there would be a gradual introduction to inversions, for example, accompanied by counting to ten.

I have seen Michael teaching children. He holds the space with incredible gravitas and attention, and these qualities are reinforced in the book. Structure and consistency are his two watchwords, containing the practices within a framework, which is open to development but never to transgression. He divides children into three groups: Maple (complex needs), Oak (more social interaction) and Willow (more challenging behaviour) –while stressing that any of the children could fall into any of the categories at any time. Sensory processing problems may send them roaming around the room, but the good news is that Michael has devised a number of games which engage their attention, reinforce their psychomotor function, increase self-confidence, giving them a sense of achievement and, most of all, allowing them to have fun in a safe environment. The games have short, snappy names such as `Umbrella’, `Shark’, `Circles’, `Banana’, `Sneaky Trees’ and `Don’t be Sad’.

The games never get out of hand: they are structured and consistent, encouraging the development of social skills such as self-control, decision-making, listening, taking turns and engaging in teamwork. Postures themselves have names, which are relevant and easy-to-remember: `Candle’, `Dragon’, `Frog’, `Stick’. The names do stick, and I still borrow from Michael the term `Twisty Lunge’ for my adult classes. It’s not included in this book as it’s a bit tricky for some, but my appropriation is an indication of how these short names remain in the memory. Songs and appropriate relaxation techniques complete the circle.
As well as clear explanations and guidelines for how to deliver a yoga class to children with autism, there are teaching tips throughout the book, backed up by short anecdotes.

Resources such as posture cards, game cards and songs are offered – including an intriguing training video in which Michael is represented in cartoon form. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout by Sarah Peacock. Even if you have no intention of teaching yoga to children with autism I do recommend this book – the roots run deep and the lessons spread outwards like the leaves of the maple, oak and willow. It’s a delight.

Wendy Teasdill - Teacher Trainer for British Wheel of Yoga (BWY)
(Source: Spectrum Magazine Summer 2019. Spectrum is the official magazine of the BWY)

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