Kids with special needs benefit from Tai Chi. Because Tai Chi works on the inside of the body it helps to relieve the sense of inner turmoil and confusion that gets us off balance. It can alleviate stomachaches, nervousness, fear, anger and frustration. It helps improve focus, concentration and self-control
Tai Chi Moves for Kids slows us down so we can think and feel. It is not complicated. It doesn’t have to be done exactly right. There is no competition. No race to be first. No need to be best. The important thing is to relax, feel the energy and find a feeling of peace. As we slow our movements down the internal energy can flow to all parts of the body. The visualization is peaceful. There is a nice warm feeling inside.
A study at the University of Miami, Touch Research Institute showed that adolescents with ADHD showed improved behavior, less daydreaming and hyperactivity after just 10 sessions of Tai Chi.
Kids with sever physical disabilities can do the moves sitting, lying down, using just the legs or arms or even just the trunk of the body. The results have been outstanding. The children feel the internal flow of energy.
An elementary school teacher in Brooklyn who trained with me, used the Tai Chi for Kids program with her special needs students. The whole class learned Tai Chi. The children were encouraged to ask for a 5 minute Tai Chi break whenever the class was getting noisy or undisciplined. Even Louis, the most difficult child with very low self-esteem and aggressive behavior learned that Tai Chi could make him feel better. The study was done by the teacher for her master’s thesis, using the Connors Scale. It showed that Louis improved in behavior, concentration, self-esteem, cooperation and learning.
Blind children have said they love the visualization and the imitation of nature. One blind student said, after 20 minutes of Tai Chi, “I realize that I need to visualize more. It is very powerful.”
Autistic children love the warm feeling inside as well as the visualization which helps to understand the world and their own feelings. An autistic girl stood on one foot to tie her shoe. She looked at her mother. “I can do it because I do Tai Chi.” She felt proud. she had learned to focus on the root at the bottom of her foot to gain stability and balance. Her new self-esteem led to more success.
A 5 year old boy with autism loved Tai chi although he had trouble verbalizing what he felt. When he told me he liked it when we put the flashlight in his tummy I knew what he meant. He felt the warm energy moving inside of him like a bright light.
Kids with ADD and ADHD gain self-control as they learn techniques to get the attention they need in a healthy way. They learn skills to anticipate outburst, anger or frustration. They understand their own needs and how to control them and focus on the task at hand. Teachers report a marked improvement in the behavior of children who learn the Tai Chi. A 5 minute Tai Chi break helps students who are normally disruptive calm down. Tai Chi can be the perfect outlet for their hyper activity
Studies have shown that Tai Chi helps middle school students who exhibit violence or aggressive behavior become calmer. (2002 Adolescence. Vol 36, Issue 143) (Adolescence. Volume 33, Issue 1) (Human Relations, Volume 39, Issue 12)
Tai Chi helps all students get in touch with their own feelings. They begin to anticipate an emotion that is coming on so they are prepared to handle it. As they gain self-control they begin to believe in themselves.
When we begin to understand ourselves it is easier to cooperate and understand others.
For more information on studies on Tai Chi and Children
I hope you will read some of the success stories of children’s reactions to simplified Tai Chi practice.