Parents say that Gail Gagne’s “Yoga for the Special Child” program is “sorely needed” at Glenwood Community Centre in Winnipeg, Canada
Gagne rents space from the Community Centre to run her Yoga for the Special Child Program. Four children with a variety of disabilities, including autism, attend on a weekly basis. Parents say that participation in the class has benefited their children in a numerous ways, from improved muscle tone to enhanced ability to focus to sharpened social skills.
The Yoga for the Special Child Program is also an athletic outlet for children that, unfortunately, may have limited opportunities to participate in more traditional competitive sports with other children and to reap the benefits of those experiences. Parent Leslie Candy says that having her son Justin participate in the class has also allowed her to meet other parents of children with disabilities.
Parent Leslie Brunet, whose daughter Zora attends the class, says that the Glenwood Community Centre needs to expand its programming and staffing so that children with disabilities can feel more included. She believes that the lack of programming to date is partly out of fear of not being handle the needs of children with disabilities. Gagne, however, is “optimistic” that Yoga for the Special Child will not only continue, but expand.