I've just had a look around the website and quickly looked over the article about the heart and its impact on well-being, including emotional and psychological health. Can't comment too much, as I'll need to print it out and read it properly.
But, I'm also interested in the healing frequencies (528hz? etc) and the links that seem to exist between this, the use of chanting - specifically vowel sounds (I'm reminded here of a conversation between Rupert and Temple Grandin - Horse Boy DVD - about the shamans and the nature of their chanting, with Rowan), the benefits of meditation etc. On the surface, the article on the heart, could also relate in the same way?
I'm interested to know if anyone else is exploring this field, in relation to teaching, special needs, autism - this, as a mum with a child on the spectrum, and a special needs teacher...I find it fascinating and really exciting. Is anyone exploring the use of meditation, frequencies etc. with individuals with ASC? If so, what are the results?
What a great post. I know next to nothing about research regarding meditation as a treatment for autism but your question piqued my interest so I did a little research. It seems that the idea of meditation as a potential treatment for autism has been receiving growing interest over the past few years. The reason for this seems to be because people with autism are thought to be in a state of chronic stress and mediation has been found to relieve stress.
My question (which I'm sure is the same as anyone connected with autism would ask) is how do you get an autistic child to sit still long enough to meditate? But it seems like if you start slow (in 2-3 minute bursts) and build on that it is absolutely possible.
You may or may not know that Rowan's Mom Kristin pioneered research on self-compassion and meditation is a large part of her research and practice. About a year ago when Rowan got upset she started telling him to put his hand over his heart and focus on his breathing and he would feel better. It seemed to work. Then a few weeks ago he told his Mom he was having bad nightmares and asked her to teach him to meditate in order to help him get back to sleep when he woke up at night scared. He ended up having a sneezing fit but the fact that he was interested and wanted to learn was exciting for us.
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That's interesting that Rowan responded well to Kristin and the focus on breathing. And really encouraging that he took it on himself later. I find the whole subject area fascinating. I have started a mindfulness 'end of day routine' with my class - some shamanic-type music to listen to, then we close our eyes and focus on our breathing...I have 4 or 5 students with autism in my class - and it seems to work for them. Little by little, just focusing for a few minutes to start with, as you say. The impact of the music is in itself quite powerful. I think its a great tool to be able to give them. I'll have to read some of Kristin's work...
Yes do. Check out her website - www.self-compassion.org and if you can get hold of a copy of her book. And keep us updated with how it goes with your students and any tips you have or how best to introduce mindfulness exercises to them...
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So, the mindfulness exercises so far are at an early stage. I use music to key students into the end of day routines. This music was already set (an Enya track, so quite ambient) - they expect to be tidying away, getting into a circle, ready for some quiet time, when they hear this music. Then, I play some music that's good for meditation (have experimented with drumming and rattling too - to good effect!)and ask them to close their eyes and concentrate on their breathing. I guide them, with simple, key words (breathe in through your nose....out through your nose...hands on tummy, feel your tummy going up and down...) - and gentle prompts to listen to the music, if its getting a bit noisy. Some students struggle more than others, and can only do a few minutes - these guys then can get ready to go home, leaving the others to carry on with the process. We've had some really rather remarkably quiet and focused times.
Have also used such music as a background, whilst other work is going on. Again, it does seem to settle the students.
Some music comes with a health warning re-epilepsy - have seen this more with theta and binaural tones, so choose carefully. But, we're not using headphones or anything like that.
Has anyone else tried similar, or does anyone have other ideas?? Helping to calm and settle the anxieties that lots of people with ASC suffer, has to be good.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Rico and Beth
This is a great discussion, and something that we've thought about and talked about a lot lately-
As far as th' meditation aspect goes, i'm not sure that sitting still and quiet is the only way to meditate- th' point of meditating is to be at peace, calm, one with the universe, stillness- but who are we to say that there is only one way to get there- take for example the whirling dervishes of persia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sufi_whirling)- they meditate by spinning around and around and around to achieve a oneness with god and therefore peace- for them, and i'd think for many add/asd type folks, being still may actually be hindering them from meditating... Think about Saturn's rings, each ring is made up of debris orbiting at a very high velocity- if you were to try to be still inside one of those rings you'd be constantly bombarded by external stimuli- (kinda like autists feel) but if you are moving at th' same speed as th' debris, well then you could be at peace with your surroundings...
also, mastering a skill can be a form of meditation- for instance, i carve wooden spoons- i've done hundreds of them- and there are times when i am carving and i'm no longer thinking about what i'm doing, i'm seeing th' wood and th' knife, but i'm not thinking about where to cut- rather my mind is free to wonder- to ponder- to meditate- alot of highly skilled folks report th' same phenomena- usually calling it something like "getting in th' zone" - surfers, musicians, martial artists, visual artists, all can achieve this meditative state once they've honed their skills to th' point where they are not trying, or practicing, they are just doing- being. I've seen my son appear to be in this state occasionally while drawing- totally relaxed, at ease, calm, yet focused... And once again, following th' child is th' key here- they'll show you their passions, and it's up to you to do all you can to encourage and empower them- (if your child likes drawing- make sure they always have something to draw on/with- for example)
And another thought this brings up is that one of th' more common aspects of autism is the ability to stare at something for sometimes hours on end- which scares people and we try to get them to stop doing, but could this not be meditation too- i'm not saying that seeing your child in this state is comfortable, i'm not sure if young children need to meditate- but it would testify to our lack of understanding if we spent th' first few years of a persons life trying to get them to stop doing this only to later try to get them to do this...
these are just thoughts, i'd love to hear what others think about this- if you are reading this thread, please chime in...
Thanks Bridget for bringing this up and do you have any updates on how things are going with your class?