Working with the Neurodiverse Child: Yoga for Kids with Autism & ADHD with Shawnee Thornton Hardy


Many children with autism, ADHD, and other special needs face challenges in how they respond to stress, tension, worry and anxiety. They can end up in a constant state of heightened arousal or anxiety, which can negatively impact health, mood and behavior.

When we get stuck in this “fight or flight” state, we can develop digestive problems, irregular sleep patterns, tension in our muscles and joints, weakened immune systems, anger or agitation, difficulty coping, conflict with others, social withdrawal, OCD behaviors and a variety of other issues.

Fortunately, yoga can help children with autism and ADHD develop better coping skills and give them tools for dealing with stress, tension, worry and anxiety.

In this course, yoga therapist and founder of Asanas for Autism and Special Needs, Shawnee Thornton Hardy will show how to design a yoga practice to support children with special needs. Shawnee will show how to activate the parasympathetic nervous system through specific breathing strategies, yoga poses and other yogic techniques to help children feeling grounded, safe and connected to the world around them as well as to support their physical health and well-being. You will learn how to support the visual, kinesthetic, auditory and sensory needs of children with autism and other forms of neural diversity.  Through a specially designed combination of yoga poses, breathing strategies, and body awareness, Shawnee offers accessible tools to support sensory integration, self-regulation, communication, expression of emotions, balance and coordination, focus and concentration, self-confidence, and more..

When children feel safe and grounded, they are more open to learning, their social engagement systems are more intact, and they are better able to flourish and grow. This curriculum helps teach neurodiverse children how to identify and cope with difficult or uncomfortable emotions and encourages children with diverse abilities to be in tune with their bodies and sensations and gives them yoga-based coping techniques to support their social, emotional, physical, and sensory needs.

Children with autism and special needs can learn coping strategies through the practice of yoga so they may live calmer, happier, more peaceful and healthier lives.

Learn how to give children tools for reducing anxiety, releasing difficult emotions and tension in the body, developing healthier sleep patterns, improving digestion and optimal functioning in the body and improving mood and behavior as well as tools to make the practice accessible to children of diverse abilities. This course will benefit parents, teachers, yoga instructors, and other professionals looking to introduce the life-long benefits of yoga to a child with special needs.

Yoga can help children learn:

  • how to tune into their bodies and sensations (interoceptive awareness),
  • how to effectively process sensory information from their external and internal environments and
  • how to modulate their arousal states so they are able to feel safer, grounded and connected to the world around them

What You Will Learn

  • The impact of predominant autonomic nervous system functioning, the fight/flight/freeze response and how this affects mood, behavior, social engagement and overall health and well-being.
  • Strategies to teach and reach children with autism or ADHD of diverse abilities and needs.
  • Strategies to teach children body awareness, how to “tune in” to their internal landscape and how to express and release difficult emotions.
  • Physical poses and breathing strategies that activate the parasympathetic (rest and reset) response.
  • Suggestions for poses and breathing strategies to support with improved, sleep, digestion, mood and behavior.
  • What is Sensory Processing and how do sensory processing issues impact children’s mood, behavior, learning and social engagement.
  • What are our eight senses and why is sensory processing an issue for the neurodiverse child.
  • Physical poses and breathing strategies to support sensory integration and self-regulation.
  • Our core and its relationship to behavior and learning.
  • Poses to increase core strength and support with balance, coordination, focus, self-confidence and self-esteem.

This Premium Course also Includes These Bonuses:

  • Yoga Practice Videos: Enjoy 4 yoga practice videos that Shawnee has designed specifically for this course.
  • Recordings of All 4 Webinar Sessions: It’s generally acknowledged that many people only retain 10-20 percent of what they learn in a workshop. You will get access to the recordings of all webinar sessions – both MP3 (downloadable) and MP4 (streaming online), enabling you to go back and listen to the workshop as many times as you like.
  • Transcripts of All Sessions: Ever wanted to refer to a certain part of a course? Even the best note takers miss a point every so often. With the transcripts of the webinar sessions, you can go back and refer to particularly important passages or clarify sections you were in doubt about.

Related courses

Shawnee Thornton Hardy is a C-IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist, E-RYT 500, RCYT, M.Ed, Educational/Behavior Specialist and the founder of Asanas for Autism and Special Needs and  Founder/Director of Yoga Therapy for Youth.

$197/ Lifetime Access

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