A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents and Caregivers Dion E. Betts and Stacey W. Betts
Forewords by Louise Goldberg and Joshua S. Betts
Jessica Kingsley Publishers London and Philadelphia
First published in 2006 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers 116 Pentonville Road London N1 9JB, UK and
400 Market Street, Suite 400 Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA
Copyright © Dion E. Betts and Stacey W. Betts 2006 Foreword copyright © Louise Goldberg 2006 Foreword copyright © Joshua S. Betts 2006 Photographs copyright © Dion E. Betts and Stacey W. Betts 2006
The right of Dion E. Betts and Stacey W. Betts to be identified as authors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form (including photocopying or storing it in any medium by electronic means and whether or not transiently or incidentally to some other use of this publication) without the written permission of the copyright owner except in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 or under the terms of a licence issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London, England W1T 4LP. Applications for the copyright owner's written permission to reproduce any part of this publication should be addressed to the publisher.
Warning: The doing of an unauthorised act in relation to a copyright work may result in both a civil claim for damages and criminal prosecution.
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Yoga for children with autism spectrum disorders: a step-by-step guide for parents and caregivers / Dion E. Betts and Stacey W. Betts ; forewords by Louise Goldberg and Joshua S. Betts. p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references. ISBN-13: 978-1-84310-817-7 (pbk.) ISBN-10: 1-84310-817-8 (pbk.)
1. Hatha yoga for children--Therapeutic use. 2. Autistic children—Health and hygiene. 3. Autistic children--Rehabilitation. I. Betts, Stacey W. (Stacey Waldman), 1964- II. Title. RJ133.7.B48 2006 613.7'046083--dc22
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN-13: 978 1 84310 817 7 ISBN-10: 1 84310 817 8 ISBN pdf eBook: 1 84642 498 4
Printed and bound in Great Britain by Athenaeum Press, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear
This book is dedicated to Josh, Jake, Dan, Dora, and Sarah. Each day with you is a treasure.
A note on this book 11
Foreword by Louise Goldberg 13
Foreword by Joshua S. Betts 15
1: How to Use this Guide 21
Sequence of yoga poses 21
Modifications of poses and sessions 22
Demonstrate poses to your child 23
Ensure that your child is comfortable 23
A note on breathing 24 Motivating children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to practice yoga 25
2: The Yoga Sequence for Children with Autism
Spectrum Disorders 27
Warm-up poses 27
Sitting Pose 27
Cat Pose 30
Shoulder Opener Pose 32
Neck Rolls 36
Mountain Pose 39
Spinal Rolls 41
Chair Pose 43
Strengthening poses 45
Triangle Pose 45
Side Angle Pose 48
Downward Dog Pose 51
Warrior I Pose 54
Warrior II Pose 55
Standing Forward Bend Pose (A and B) 58
Tree Pose 60
Release of tension poses 63
Sphinx Pose 63
Boat Pose 65
Bridge Pose 68
Calming poses 69
Stick Pose 70
Seated Forward Bend Pose 71
Spread Leg Forward Bend Pose 74
Head-to-Knee Pose 77
Butterfly Pose 79
Reclining Butterfly Pose 82
Seated Spinal Twist Pose 84
Easy Spinal Twist Pose 85
Child's Pose 86
Corpse Pose 89
3: Yogic Breathing 91
Ujjayi Breathing 91
Skull Shining Breath 92
Curled Tongue Breath 93
Lion Breath 94
Alternate Nostril Breathing 96
4: Shorter Yoga Sequences 99
Short sequence 1 99
Short sequence 2 100
We have had very profound experiences with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Like many parents and caregivers, we continue to search for ways of helping these children lead happy and productive lives. At the time of writing no cure for any of the Autism Spectrum Disorders has been found. In fact, no one knows for certain the cause or causes of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Drawing on our own experiences and work with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders revealed to us that the practice of yoga can have a significant impact on the symptoms of these disorders. Why yoga?
Stacey has been practicing yoga for about ten years. From the time she was an adolescent, Stacey has been interested in ways to make her body stronger and healthier. By the time she was about twenty-seven years old, she had grown tired of typical exercise regimens that included endless repetitions including lifting weights, long aerobic classes, and expensive gyms.
Stacey discovered yoga by experimenting with a beginner yoga video. She was working as an attorney and had two small children at that time. From her first yoga session, she liked the feelings of physical strength and mental wellbeing that yoga provided. During her third pregnancy, yoga helped her to feel grounded and relaxed. Stacey expanded her practice to include more breathing techniques and intermediate poses.
Midway through her third pregnancy, our oldest son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Although the diagnosis did not come as a complete surprise, we experienced many emotions and uncertainties associated with discovering and eventually accepting that our child had a lifelong disability. Yoga helped Stacey to maintain her physical health and sense of wellbeing during that time.
As our son got older, we thought that practicing yoga could help him deal with his symptoms in a way that would not require medication, have no side effects, and be simple for him to use. Many of the yoga poses and breathing practices give individuals a sense of calm, strength, and clarity. We believed that the poses and the yogic breathing exercises could provide our son with the same benefits.
We found that yoga helps children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to reduce stress and anxiety, and increase balance and strength. We found this to be true for our son and other children with Autism Spectrum Disorders as well. This guide provides a simple approach for any parent or caregiver to use to help their children by using yoga. We believe that by using this guide, parents and care-givers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders can help their children use yoga poses and breathing methods to lessen some of the symptoms that the children experience. No experience in yoga is needed to begin a yoga practice. It is suggested that after reviewing this guide, the reader investigate other yoga resources. A great many excellent books, videos, and other materials can help develop a deeper knowledge of yogic philosophy and practice.
A note on this book
As with any program that requires physical activity, it is advised that individuals consult a physician prior to following the program in this guide.
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