MOVEMENT! AND ADAPTED YOGA
MOVEMENT!® is a creative gross motor program originally developed for the Positive Education Program in the United States, and is one of the first developmental motor programs designed for children with special needs in North America. Designed for kids ages 3-12 with special needs (autism, ADHD, Down’s syndrome, developmental delays, emotional challenges etc.), MOVEMENT!® has helped hundreds of special needs children gain a greater awareness and control of their own bodies.
MOVEMENT!®, is a creative, holistic program which helps children revisit developmental motor milestones from their infancy. It progresses step-by-step in three stages:
Body Grammar: In the Fall children learn a core vocabulary of 12 movements based on rolling, crawling, and jumping, which explore body awareness, body coordination, strength, alignment and partnering.
Space and Sequencing: In the Winter the children learn to sequences movements in time and space through various patterns as well as learn how to synchronize their movements with their peers.
Creative Games: In the Spring, children are encouraged to integrate the skills through improvisatory movement structures. The activities range from simple freeze games to advanced flow games involving movement qualities, imagery and choreographic structures.
The effectiveness of the MOVEMENT!® program lies in its unique teaching philosophy. All somatic skills—whether they be gross motor skills, sequencing skills or creativity skills—are taught to students through multiple levels of exploration. These levels of exploration allow students with special needs to access movement creatively through their own doors rather than through fixed lesson plans. In addition to helping children with their motor skills, MOVEMENT!® can also help them learn the structures, rules and peer interaction needed to function in school classrooms—it is a perfect pre-academic foundation.
SMC’s Adapted Yoga classes for teens and young adults with special needs are geared for participants to somatically experience poses rather than simply memorize them. We employ innovative teaching methods to help students fully embody the poses. All poses are taught within well organized stations; props and visual aids are used to help the students understand where their body is in space and how the pose feels on the inside; and partnering and group synchronization are encouraged whenever possible. Each participant is encouraged to make strong progress within his/her individual ability.
SMC’s Adapted Yoga has been used as a model for yoga instruction by many special needs institutions including the Toronto, Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Pegasus Community Center, Hand over Hand, Gifted People Services, Autism Ontario, and the Center for START Services in the United States. From week to week the students explore different themes in Yoga such as partnering, high energy pitch, holding poses for a long time, linking poses into a series. In this way the students are able to re-visit old poses from a new perspective, gaining more awareness and mastery over their bodies. The ultimate aim of Adapted Yoga is to help teens and young adults with special needs learn how to feel secure, relaxed and comfortable within themselves. The Adapted Yoga program is perfect for parents who wish for their children to gain independence and confidence in the process of learning.