Autism yoga case-study


Jade’s YOU & ME Yoga
A report by Dharmani Hart

Background
Jade is a 46 year old with extreme communication and speech challenges. She is autistic, has learning difficulties and chronic epilepsy. Jade is able to respond to familiar behaviour patterns in a small way but her concentration span is almost nonexistent. Consequently her YOU & ME Yoga is mainly on a one to one basis.
Ability
Jade is tall and heavy-set, with excess weight being carried around her hips and thighs.  This results in certain movements being quite difficult for her to perform. 
As Jade has no concept of colour or numbers, she does not choose which Looseners or Postures to perform. However, Jade is encouraged to share in the process of choosing movements, so she does have some control over her yoga The blue, indigo and violet Loosener cards are used at every class to help body and spatial awareness. The orange cards have enabled Jade to work on strength and flexibility in her hips and lower back, areas that are both comparatively weak for Jade.
Progress
The first two classes consisted of mainly getting to know each other and using the Loosener cards to give Jade awareness of her own body with the ability to move freely in a safe and flexible way.
The YOU & ME Yoga programme has enabled Jade’s self-esteem and confidence to grow. Her love of yoga is evident when, at the end of each class when we work towards a salute of the sun, Jade excels. In fact, her behaviour in class is always excellent. She is always willing to work with any Loosener and Posture I ask of her and Jade’s support workers are impressed with her progress.
Dharmani Hart, Yoga Teacher, YOU & ME Practitioner, MacIntyre Care
In addition, here is a video of Maria Gunstone teaching Peter (with autistic tendencies) two of the Orange YOU & ME Joint Loosener techniques.

References:
YOU & ME Yoga Basic Techniques - CD tutorial
Loosener Dislay Cards Instruction Pack

Learning Difficulties and Associated Conditions Explained with YOGA CASE STUDIES
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"I have seen great improvements in the students' abilities in the following areas: balance, strength, coordination, body awareness, breath control, posture control, relaxation skills, and social skills.”
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