As a mother of two children, both on the Spectrum, one with ADHD and the other suffering from High Anxiety Disorder, I've been around my fair share of medical professionals and apart from eventually confirming a diagnosis (which I already knew), they have been little to no help. Their solution to keeping my child with ASC and ADHD in education, was to dose him high with stimulants, all with nasty side effects which I had to try and justify to myself, whilst really I felt like I was poisoning my child. No alternatives were offered to me at the time, although recently I heard that different types of behavioural therapy have been included in their standard offering in the past year, which I applaud if these rumours are true. My older child went through her entire school career with no diagnosis due to the ridiculously long waiting time and as such, had zero support from the school and don’t get me started on what is available by way of parent support, the workshops and courses provided by local services gave me nothing that I couldn’t find myself on Google.
So there I was, faced with a barrage of questions and many hours of research ahead of me, I set out to find out every alternative option available to help my children. Not surprisingly there's very little to choose from and I’m convinced this is due to the lack of exploration into this specialist field. However, here are my top 3 Holistic modalities that might just change your life for the better and have extremely positive side effects.
Yoga can be used as a playful tool that encourages children with Autism/ADHD to increase focus and concentration, promote self-confidence, increase balance and coordination and enhance imagination and creativity. While there have been a limited number of studies done on yoga and its effects on children with Autism/ADHD, the studies that have been done suggest that yoga can benefit them significantly. In addition to the benefits typically associated with yoga, other benefits such as: increased language, communication and social-emotional skills, body awareness and improved self-regulation have been recorded. It has also been noted that children show a reduction in impulsive, obsessive and aggressive behaviours.
2. MEDITATION & MINDFULNESS
According to a study by Yale University in 2012, increasing the release of Oxytocin in the brain, may help children on the Spectrum by reducing symptoms of Autism. Apart from Yoga, Meditation is the perfect way to still the body and mind allowing your brain to boost your levels of Oxytocin naturally. During my research I came across a wonderfully insightful mental health website by child therapist, Angela Pruess. Here is her article on her top 8 reasons to start mindfulness with your children.
3. REIKI HEALING
Evidence of its many therapeutic benefits are becoming more and more well known, and while it's still deemed a little quirky, the popularity of Reiki Healing is growing in a fairly rapid way. Reiki is now used alongside traditional medicine in over 80 NHS hospitals and medical establishments throughout the UK including Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Princes Foundation for Integrated Health. The benefits may include a reduction in stress and anxiety, improved sleep and balancing moods/emotions to name but a few. The International Association of Reiki Professionals offer some great advice and more details on how Reiki can benefit people with Autism, ADHD and Anxiety. Why not check out Simbiotika's Reiki for Toddlers to Teens!
In the process of researching these holistic alternatives to help my children, I discovered that all three modalities could also help me. As anyone with children will know, it's crucial that you as the parent are at your best at all times. However, with today’s constant demands, most of us do not consider ourselves to be high on the priority list, something I definitely have been guilty of in the past. I realised it was important to put myself first and looking after my own wellbeing was the key to safeguarding theirs.
Learning this changed my life and now my passion is helping other parents realise the same. Working with local adventure play experts Awesome CIC, we will be offering wellbeing support to parents while your kids are in a safe interactive environment, giving you the time and space to work on you. To find out more or register your interest contact: firstname.lastname@example.org