So, what is mindfulness? And why is this so effective for my special needs student?
Mindfulness is the lifechanging ability to regulate and control one’s attention with the beauty of the present moment.
Mindfulness includes a multitude of strategies such as breathing, imagery, movement, reflection, and acceptance exercises, and while we all benefit from these practices, I want to especially focus on the special needs community of learners who benefit from mindfulness in glorious, beautifully unexpected ways.
Be still my heart, and read on.
Mindfulness encourages social and behavioral development, and this is so important for our special needs kiddos. In turn, mindfulness leads to higher cognitive processing and independent learning behavior, and independence. Yes, independence!
Academic motivation and success are especially important for our special needs population as school can so often be a source of emotional frustration. The stronger the social and behavioral skills for our kiddos, the stronger the academic outcome with the stressors of school.
Diminished abilities in social and behavioral domains can negatively impact academic functioning, educational outcomes, and students’ overall sense of academic self-esteem.
Through mindfulness, mentors and teachers can modify the schooling experience to masterfully support and cultivate an emotionally regulated positive experience - socially, behaviorally, and spiritually- for our youth. These practices can be incorporated throughout the school day-- and through mindfulness mentoring.
Teaching students social and behavior skills is equally important to teaching academic skills, and the benefits of meditation, feeling the present moment, regulating emotions and responses to the surrounding environment strongly help our special needs learners.