Yoga Helps Kids With Special Needs Find A Calm Place Within

Students at the Diener School in Potomac, Maryland, are finding their inner yogis—weekly yoga classes are part of the curriculum for all students at this special-needs, K-5 private school.

Every student at the Diener School has unique language-based learning disabilities, as well as social and functional challenges.  And for the school’s founder and executive director, Julian Copeland, it was important to give them access to the many benefits of developing a yoga practice.

“I decided a lot of kids needed this holistic education, their day is balanced with academic, creative, therapeutic, social and reflective activities. The yoga piece is so the kids have mind-body connection. It is spiritual, reflective, quiet. Our world is so over-stimulated, this brings quiet,” Copeland said.

The Diener School’s students learn yoga from Claire Wong, a physical therapist.

“They learn to calm their minds, respect their bodies. Breathing is an important component when they get excited because they don’t know something. They can breathe, and step back and re-collect themselves,” Wong said.

Other faculty and staff at the Diener School praised the yoga program, saying it is a good program and physical therapy and exercise for special needs children.

Lois McCabe, the director of admissions said, “ “Yoga for our students can be a neurological reset.  It gives them the ability to calm their sensory systems and learn to take a moment and breathe in order to self regulate themselves which can be a difficult thing for a special needs child.” 

Read the Maryland Gazette‘s article about the Diener School.

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