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Yoga Therapy for Children with Autism and Special Needs


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A how-to manual for yoga with kids in classrooms and therapeutic settings.

If you are a parent of a child with special needs or a professional who works with one, you know how challenging it can be for them to sit still, to cope with change, to focus on self-soothing strategies, and to interact successfully with others. For these kids, yoga therapy can provide crucial support. Behavior and focus, strength, flexibility, balance, and self-regulation are all improved through yoga, making it an ideal practice for children on the autism spectrum, with ADHD, sensory processing and emotional/behavioral disorders, and other exceptionalities.

For use in school, at home, or in therapeutic settings, Yoga Therapy for Children with Autism and Special Needs is a how-to manual that meets children where they are, providing a yoga therapy "lesson plan" that will engage them; promote play, social interaction, speech, language, and motor development; and enhance their self-esteem. It teaches an array of CreativeRelaxation techniques using posture, breathing, and mindfulness designed specifically for children with autism and special needs. Drawing on her 30 years of yoga therapy experience with children and those who work with them, the author walks readers through yoga strategies that both calm and energize, emphasizing sensory and bodily awareness and the "sacred space" that is so important for these children. Learn the best ways to use your voice and body effectively when working with children; how to minimize distractions and ease transitions; and how to create personalized yoga breaks to enhance independence and avert meltdowns.

Featuring 60 illustrated poses, 89 photos, and 65 lessons, songs, and games, child-friendly instructions are provided for posture, breathing, and mindfulness exercises. All poses and routines include suggested adaptations and precautions for use, and are organized to address specific sensory skills. Current research on the benefits of yoga for health and learning is summarized, and readers learn how, through yoga practice, the brain’s response to stress can be effectively mitigated.

With this book, parents, therapists, and educators alike have the tools to successfully develop a therapeutic yoga program for the very children who can benefit most from it.



“If you are a parent of a child with special needs or a professional who works with one, this book is a must-read.” — Yoganonymous

Yoga Therapy for Children with Autism and Special Needs is a beautifully rendered and thoughtful book that thoroughly covers the fundamental elements of introducing yoga to children. While the goal of the text is to work with children with special needs, Goldberg has written a reference that can be used in many other areas as well. She addresses the neurology, physiology, process, and application of the technique, all of which apply to a wider audience. This is a book that can serve parents, students, instructors, and certainly, therapists.” — PsychCentral

“[C]omprehensive. . . . [A] wonderful book for parents and educators. . . . If you have any interest in doing yoga either as therapy or as a practice at home with your child, this is a great instructional book.” — Autism Daily Newscast

“This book will absolutely be among the seminal texts for relatively experienced and competent yoga therapists beginning to practice in this field. . . . Goldberg writes not only from considerable experience with children with an array of developmental challenges, but also incorporates her own extensive investigations, drawing from conversations with experts in the field, current research, best practices, and professional literature. . . . [T]imely, empirically sound, and very much needed.” — Yoga Therapy Today

“The author draws upon her 30 years of yoga therapy experience to create a rich and nuanced work that will inspire teachers, therapists and parents alike. It is a book that can be appreciated by experienced practitioners as well as by individuals who are just beginning to explore the benefits of yoga therapy for children. . . . I highly recommend this book and I thank Louise Goldberg for sharing her expertise and experience with us.” — Yoga for Depression's Research Newsletter

“[F]ull of wisdom & insight into working with kids with special needs. . . . I get several requests per month from folks wanting information on how to do therapeutic yoga. This book will now be added to my short list of “must have” resources. The concepts in this book are solid beyond the scope of a therapeutic yoga class. … anyone who works with children with special needs should read this book!” — OMazing Kids

“Practical insights abound . . . . The creativity demonstrated here is truly remarkable. . . . [B]eautifully designed . . . . Goldberg . . . shares her insights with unerring and consummate skill. One can almost hear the kind and experienced voice speaking behind the printed words. . . . Her book is truly an invaluable resource for those whose paths have taken them in this amazing and rewarding direction. What can one say but: bravo!” — Yoga Teacher Magazine

“Anyone who is considering teaching yoga to children with special needs should read this thoughtful, loving, and impressively thorough book. Yoga Therapy for Children With Autism and Special Needs provides a wealth of essential information and how-to advice, delivered with clarity and sensitivity.” — Roger Cole, PhD, lyengar-certified yoga teacher, Del Mar, CA

“Although this book is intended for kids with special needs, it is filled with practical and fun activities that any child will love and benefit from. This is a wonderful resource for all those who love yoga and wish to share it with children in a safe, grounded, and heart-centered practice.” — Molly Lannon Kenny, MS, SLP-CCC, Founder and Director, The Samarya Center

Yoga Therapy for Children with Autism and Special Needs offers the wisdom of Louise Goldberg’s 30-plus years of bringing yoga to children and their parents. This well-organized treasure trove of information about the practice as well as its practical applications provides both rehabilitation professionals and yoga teachers with insights, guidelines, and resources that will allow them to nurture children of various capabilities.” — Matthew J. Taylor, PT, PhD, E-RYT 500, Founder and Director, Dynamic Systems Rehabilitation Clinic, PLLC

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