Yoga accessible to students with PMLDPosted: 15th July 2020
Children with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) are exceeding expectations by taking part in virtual yoga sessions.
The majority of the 26 students at the Designated Resource Provision at Royal Docks Academy have been staying home through the Coronavirus pandemic due to their health conditions.
Their four teachers and 15 support staff, trained to handle their personal care, behaviour and to help them to achieve their potential, have been finding new ways to support their students remotely.
As part of a recently expanded curriculum, students at the school were taking part in accessible yoga lessons before lockdown.
As a continuation of that work, the school has produced videos giving clear instructions to adults who can assist the children at home.
Zama Shozi, head of the PMLD unit, said: “At first, we were not sure if it would be possible to adapt yoga to make it accessible to our students, particularly those who find it difficult to sit quietly for five minutes. But, as ever, our students – even those with the most challenging needs - have exceeded our expectations and thoroughly enjoy their yoga lessons.
“When you think outside of the box, it is amazing what you can achieve. We only know what is going to work by giving it a try.”
Students who are still attending school feature in the yoga videos to bring familiarity to those taking part from home.
Members of staff support the students – some taking part from their wheelchairs – throughout the lessons.
Mrs Shozi said: “These yoga sessions are very accessible, with simple instructions. The teacher is narrating what they are doing and why they are doing it.
“Yoga is very relaxing; we call it our thinking time. It has a real calming effect on everyone; from the minute we put the yoga music on, everyone is calm. For those students with physical limitations, it also forms part of their stretching routine.
“Some of our students have carers who go into their home, so this has been something they have been able to spend their time together doing. It has also helped to take some pressure off of our parents who might have wondered what they could do with their children during lockdown.
“The students are able to see their friends on the video, hear familiar voices and keep that connection with the school environment.”
The work has been shared with other schools in the borough.