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Yoga could help children with autism cope with behavioral problems, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. The study, which tested the effectiveness of a school yoga program for children with autism spectrum disorders, showed that those who participated in yoga behaved better than children who didn’t participate in the program, according to their teachers’ assessments.
Children in the yoga group practiced yoga daily for 16 weeks through the Get Ready to Learn Yoga program in place at a school in the Bronx.
Researches believe yoga is effective for children with autism spectrum disorder because it gives them an outlet to deal with anxiety and stress. “We know that anxiety fuels a lot of the negative behavior, so the yoga program gives them a strategy to cope with it,” Kristie Patten Koenig an assistant professor of occupational therapy at New York University who led the study told Shots, National Public Radio’s health blog. “And if it’s done every morning, it becomes an integral part of the day that sets the status of the classroom and allows the kids to become calm, focused and ready to learn.”