Training Modules for School-Wide Implementation of S.T.O.P. and Relax Yoga

One of our aims is to assist schools that are setting out to adopt our curriculum. My last post promised more information about the format we developed for training staff at the Baudhuin Preschool, where, in fulfillment of a grant from Autism Speaks, S.T.O.P. and Relax is being integrated into the students’ instruction.
Baudhuin Preschool

This serves as one example for engaging and supporting staff in implementing the S.T.O.P. and Relax curriculum.

To fit the staff schedule, we divided the training plan into modules for short workshops during after-school planning time. Most of these time periods were one hour, but on student “Early Release” days, two hours were available.

The resulting schedule is shown below. Modules were about 2 weeks apart. In addition to the S.T.O.P. and Relax curriculum, participants utilized Louise Goldberg’s book, Yoga Therapy for Children with Autism and Special Needs. The workshops included PowerPoint presentations, discussions, and practice teaching in small groups.

Introduction (2 hours)
• The science of self-regulation
• The foundation and benefits of the S.T.O.P. and Relax method of teaching yoga and self-calming.

Assessment and Preparation
• Assessment of the children’s entry-level abilities and needs
• Baseline data options
• Preparing for instruction

General Guidelines for Teaching
• Creating a space and climate
• Variations in starting positions
• Pacing
• Contraindications for inverted postures
• Sample classes: tension relief class; calming class

Increasing Independence and Resilience
• Providing opportunities for increasing and practicing independence within lessons
• Promoting application of learned skills to enhance self-regulation and resilience

Tailoring to the Preschool Level

• Adjusting to attention and developmental levels of Pre-K students
• Pre-requisites
• Need for routine
• Modifications
• Making it fun
• Reinforcement

Accomplishing Relaxation, Special Needs, and Benefits (2 hours)
• Benefits of specific postures
• Accommodations and modifications
• Addressing physical, social, and communication needs
• Options for time and structure
• Practice teaching

It’s been an exciting journey, with teachers and support staff delving in and showing creativity in tailoring lessons to meet the needs of diverse students. Details in future posts!

About Dr. Debra Collins

Dr.Debra Collins is a licensed psychologist, a licensed and nationally certified school psychologist, and a registered yoga teacher. Debra's collaboration on the S.T.O.P. and Relax© program was inspired by her work with children with autism spectrum disorders.

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