Recently I met Melissa Palmer of Magic Heart Holistics and she shared how invaluable holistic therapies are for children with learning difficulties. Melissa is a Holistic Therapist and works with adults and children to find ways to help them heal in a way that is complimentary to modern medicine. This could be using massage or yoga and meditation. She has spent many years supporting children and families from parenting to education she told me, ” I have always had a particular interest in Special Needs and Mental Health”.
Melissa has 4 teenage children who all have different needs including autistic spectrum conditions. As a parent of children with different needs she told me, “I have had to learn everything possible to be the best parent I can for them. This has also lead me to become passionate about supporting other families where Autism Spectrum Conditions are either diagnosed or suspected. I help to run a small charity Autism Pyramid Group in Uttoxeter. We hold regular stay and play sessions for families plus coffee morning and meals out for parents.
I am constantly learning about these conditions and always on the look out for new advice or training. It was about 2 years ago when I came across Yo’Tism a company who have yoga training specifically for neuro diversity. As I had already been teaching kids yoga for some time and had personally seen the benefits I could not resist and booked onto the training straight away. I have now completed their training programs for Autism and Reflex Yoga.
I run yoga sessions either in small classes (max 8) or 1-1. These sessions are very much tailored to the individuals needs. We use movement, body awareness and sensory integration techniques alongside breathing and relaxation. This can help with co-ordination, linking up the left and right side of the brain, more control over the body and emotions. If needed I will also work on retained primitive reflexes using a fusion on Hatha/Kashmir yoga and rhythmic neurodevelopmental movements. This reflex yoga works on neurological, physical and emotional body-brain connections which target the nervous system assisting with pattern breaking.
I also teach developmental massage which can help with any impaired or delayed development. These sessions invite the client and their carers to have some protected time to relax and bond in a safe environment. Massage supports digestion, ease pain, aid sleep as well as improve circulation, breathing, back strength, joint flexibility and muscle tone.
As most of my work is done on a one to one basis I am lucky to be able to use a combination of yoga and massage to support the people I work with. When working in groups I aim to give parents a few techniques that they can use at home as I truly believe little and often is the best way to deliver for a greater benefit.
I have seen adults and children I have worked with grow in confidence in a matter of weeks and parents who thought their children would never be able to sit still let alone be relaxed in meditation have told me how amazed they were at the changes they have seen. My eldest daughter who is 16 has struggled most of her life with Selective Mutism but since I have been practicing Yoga with her she has grown in confidence and is now overcoming her anxieties and speaking to more and more people every day. She helps me to run Yoga classes and is always happy to tell her story to children and parents who may be unsure how yoga can help them. She has recently trained to be able to run classes and is the youngest ever Mini Me Yoga Ambassador which means she is able to train teachers, other childcare professionals, parents, grandparents and simple program that they can use with the children in their lives.
I am passionate about what I do on a personal and professional level. It is through wanting to better understand my children and support their development I have learned so much about Neurodiverstiy. I feel blessed to be on this path and have the opportunity to share my knowledge with others”.