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Welcome to the “mini yogis minute” weekly yoga tips for teachers and parents looking to create a more fun, engaging, and effective practice for their children. Be sure to check out mini yogis teacher training for all the tricks of the trade!

In anticipation of next month’s Yoga Education for Autism Spectrum teacher training in Los Angeles, a tip on helping children on the spectrum to control their speech patterns and, in so doing, find bolstered control over themselves.

Many children who are on the autism spectrum exhibit a number of abnormal speech patterns including Turret’s-like outbursts, compulsive repetitions, and random non-word sounds. While many people have told me “don’t try to fix that…it’s just the way s/he is”, I disagree and I never give up on a kid!

As children on the spectrum take what you say quite literally, when given specific and clear instructions, they are often able to hunker down, focus, and carry them out.

Some of the cues I give that have proven quite effective are:

- Let’s watch our words and only say the words and sounds that we mean to say.
- When we speak, we only use the nice words.
- Right now we are working on ________. Let’s focus. For now, no words. After we are done, you may say what you want to say.
- Speak slowly.

I’ve been repeatedly surprised by how well these children take these cues and respond to them. Be sure to mention any effective techniques to your student’s parents, as well, so they can reinforce them.

And that’s the mini yogis minute tip of the week. Check back every week to learn something new!

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