Friday, December 19, 2014

Excellent Exercise (Cosmic Kids) for Neurodiverse Children ( ADD/ Autism/ Aspie/ Down Syndrome ect.)

*These are not my kids pictured.*

My kids are on the Autism spectrum and we have tried many forms of exercise. While we have found many enjoyable activities, nothing has captured their attention more than Cosmic Kids Yoga. Click on this link:

The beauty of Cosmic Kids is that it can be done in a living room, in a child's own sensory environment. Each Yoga session has a story to keep even the most ADD child captivated while engaging in healthy movement (I should know as my youngest has high attention issues and he manages each session...the 25 minute ones are a little tougher for him than the twelve but he generally still participates.)

My family all has different levels of Dyspraxia and Executive Functioning issues but we still managed to do most of the movements...I would say it took us a few months of doing the first sessions of 12 minutes over and over to be a tad more fluid, but it wasn't the frustrating experience that most class exercises are for me....Perhaps because it was in my own private home with no one to judge? We all took it at our own pace and when we couldn't manage we just listened to the story or performed other movements. (See Note on Bottom.)

My kids prefer the sessions if I participate with them and make all the necessary sounds and movements that are supposed to be made. It's a bonding moment as well as an opportune moment for storytelling, learning through emotion and sound, and following instructions. If they see mommy willing to be goofy and participate while creating the structured routines, they also are enthusiastic. One of my children especially struggles with emotions and meltdowns...and this child does NOT like to do things not deemed worthy. However, I have found it amazing how suddenly a smile surfaces after Yoga. Even if there is an adamant refusal at first to join, we are seen enjoying it, and eventually the story captivates. Almost every time, this child eventually joins in...which is rarely the case in other sports or such. 

My Aspie son who is obsessed with Star Wars (even though he has never seen most of it due to high anxiety and sensitivity) was ecstatic to see the Cosmic Kids Star Wars Episode. Of course, he had to point out the many differences between the actual film, his Star Wars books and the Yoga story, but he still had fun.

The rest period at the end of each session also has a special effect on my kids with a light moral lesson in each ending.  I have found that other children we have had over also enjoy these sessions. My daughter is older but she LOVES doing Cosmic Kids. I find that if the parent shows that no one is too old to join in a story and follow the instructions of the teacher (including robot noises ect.) the kids do not think they are too old for it either. I especially find that those who are Neurodiverse especially enjoy stories and movement because they are often young at heart, yet old in spirit. The Neurodiverse seem to get the beauty in the simple and the joy of a creative moment. I love Cosmic Kids and it really is my favourite type of exercise. The stories make it easy for the time to pass and I don't feel like I am stretching my body. I have Fibromyalgia as well as being an Aspie, and I find that it is light yet safe form of exercise to do every day with my sensitive body. 

I would HIGHLY recommend trying this with your kids. We started at around age 5 but I am sure younger kids may be able to follow along if they are given the opportunity. We mirror our computer up to our Apple TV or we find the episodes on Youtube to play on the TV from Apple or if you do not have access to that, just follow along on your computer screen (put it in a higher area where everyone can see.) This alone has been incentive to purchase our Apple TV (not discounting Netflix ect.) but there are definitely other ways to participate.

After each session of Cosmic Kids my children look up Just Dance sequences on Youtube and  take turns mimicking the movement to get out any bottled energy. These rituals are their favourite part of our morning routine.

NOTE: For younger kids I would start with the imaginative 12 minute sessions like Pedro the Penguin or Cracker the Dragon. Even if they NEVER get the proper movements” most children still enjoy the whimsy, the backgrounds and the story lines…my kids also enjoy her facial expressions of emotion and I feel they benefit regardless of the motion committed.

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