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Episode #072: Using Yoga in Speech Therapy
I think it’s so important to think outside of the box when engaging our students in therapy. Today I am talking with Kim and Amy from Talk Yoga, two SLP friends who met at work and combined their passion for speech and yoga to help their clients grow.
Not only is Yoga a fun, engaging activity in itself but as a trained yoga instructor, Amy has adapted poses for her clients into what she calls Articulation Poses. Talk Yoga really believes in the whole body of the child and how all of their physical movements inform the movements inside the mouth. Articulation poses are modified versions that connect to oral motor skills for articulation and connect the body to the mouth.
Another use for yoga that Amy and Kim embed into their practice is teaching vocabulary using alliteration associated with movements. For younger students, skills like labeling, imitation, and even imagination work can be really engaging through yoga. Yoga is a shared activity and leisure skill that can be benefited from across the lifespan, Amy and Kim emphasize that their work can be applied to any age range.
As a therapist, it can be difficult to find shared activities that generalize into the community or home, but yoga is perfect for this. Yoga is accessible to anyone and families can enjoy yoga together as a connecting activity. One tool Amy and Kim use is allowing the student to become the teacher, having students dictate and verbalize the poses creates so much language opportunity!
Yoga is a practice grounded in breathwork, calm, and mindfulness. Amy and Kim embed this into each and every one of their sessions, starting with breathwork. The best part of this is it not only calms and prepares your client, but you as the therapist can enter the best headspace to be there with your client.
I know first hand that I see spontaneous communication explode in shared activities like Yoga. Amy and Kim provide so many tips and ideas for embedding yoga into your therapy sessions, I can’t wait for you to try them!
When two friends share careers and passions, sometimes amazing ideas are born! In 2005, Amy began working in Washington, DC at a school for children with learning disabilities. Kim was assigned to be her clinical supervisor and an instant friendship began. Soon they discovered that they shared a love for yoga and all things yogic and the rest is history! In the Spring of 2007, Kim and Amy created an after school program called “The Language of Yoga.” Yoga poses were taught to the students and vocabulary was introduced to the students in fun and creative ways. The students presented with a variety of challenges from autism and attention deficit disorder, to neurological disorders and learning disabilities. Although successful and enjoyable, maintaining the after school program was difficult, and eventually no longer was offered. After years of life, changing jobs, raising children, and supporting each other from afar, eventually the stars aligned, and it was time to re-visit the concept of merging yoga and speech and language therapy. Talk Yoga was born. Kim and Amy see this concept as a shift from traditional therapy, and as a way to empower children who often feel as if they cannot do anything quite right. Yoga’s simple and beautiful asanas help children learn to express themselves in a positive, noncompetitive environment. They are free to explore, to express, play, learn™!
Kim is an ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist with 20 years of experience working with children, teenagers, and adults. She received her Master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology at The George Washington University in 2000. Her passion is treating children with language disorders, ADHD, ASD, and Dyslexia. She has seen great therapeutic benefits for her students by incorporating movement, play, yoga, and sensory activities into her therapy sessions. Kim has been practicing yoga for over 25 years and is certified as a children’s yoga teacher through the Budding Yogis program. Kim received her 200-hour training certification from Nimaste Yoga in Kensington, Maryland. A mother of two teenagers, Kim began teaching them yoga in the womb and has continued bonding with them by getting into silly or challenging yoga poses and listening to nature and animal meditations together. She is grateful to have the opportunity through Talk Yoga to help strengthen communication and connection among parents and their children. She believes yoga can build self-esteem, strength, and inner beauty. When Kim isn’t doing yoga, you can find her in the garden or walking in the woods. She lives in Kensington, Maryland, with her husband, two children, and dog, Mojo.
Amy is an ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist with over 16 years of experience in the field. She received her Master’s degree in Speech and Language Therapy at the University of Utah in 2004. Her passion is treating children with articulation disorders and she has loved incorporating yoga concepts such as pranayama and asana practice into her therapy sessions. She is trained in the first level of PROMPT and also has received training in assessing and treating myo-functional disorders such as tongue thrust. She has been practicing yoga since her early college years and received her 200-hour training certification from Yoga District in Washington, D.C. As a mother of three, and wife of an Ophthalmologist, yoga has kept her grounded and at peace in her ever-changing life. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to share her love of yoga with children and families and her desire to help children understand the power of communication. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband and three children and dog Obi.
- How to incoporate yoga in speech therapy.
- What skills can you work on with yoga in speech therapy?
- How to engage students and have fun in speech therapy?
- Embedding yoga into daily work with communication.
- How starting sessions with breathing exercises can benefit the therapist and the client.
- The importance of shared activity and leisure skills across the lifespan.
Mentioned In This Episode
— Start Communicating Today Live – ABA Speech
— ABA Speech
— Talk Yoga
— Talk Yoga SLP Podcast
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