The Effects of Yoga on Stability, Mobility, and Balance

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Research Project Title:
The Effects of Yoga on Stability, Mobility, and Balance in
Children with Down syndrome
Researchers:


Lindsay McDaniels: [email protected], (651)-357-2672
Kristen Bjorklund: [email protected], (651)-249-8034
We are students at Bethel University and are studying Biokinetics and Psychology. We will graduate in
May of 2014.
Research Advisors from the Biokinetics Department at Bethel University:


Seth Paradis ([email protected])
Daniel Halvorsen ([email protected])
Demographics:
We are looking for children, teenagers, and young adults with Down syndrome who would enjoy, along
with their parents, to be a part of our research project studying the effects of yoga on stability, mobility,
and balance in children with Down syndrome.
Details & Time Commitment:
This study will take place at The Institute of Exercise Medicine and Prevention (1045 Westgate Drive
Suite 100 St. Paul, MN 55114). This process will include an initial testing period that will take about 25
minutes total (details below). The child will then attend 5 yoga sessions that are based on the “Yoga for
the Special Child” method by Sonia Sumar. This is a therapeutic approach for children with Down
syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and learning disabilities. There will be 1 yoga session per week directed by
Lindsay and Kristen and each session will be 30-45 minutes long. At the conclusion of the yoga sessions,
there will be a final testing period which will take place at your convenience during week 7 which will
take about 25 minutes total.
The initial and final testing periods will include 2 tests:
1) The Functional Movement Screening (FMS) test: This test includes 7 movements that are graded by
a simple system (a score of 0-3). The purpose of this test will be to examine each child’s movement,
overall stability, and overall mobility throughout their kinetic chain. After the test is complete, we as
the instructors will be able to provide parents with simple exercises for their children that may help
them correct any weaknesses or imbalances that were observed throughout the test. This test will
be about ten minutes in duration.
2) BioSway test: The BioSway is a portable balance system that tests for balance deficiencies while
working on stability, balance, and posture. This is particularly helpful for working on the children’s
overall balance, posture, and gait. This test will be about ten minutes in duration.
More Information about the Yoga Sessions:
Each session will take place at The Institute of Exercise Medicine and Prevention. The lights will be
turned down and relaxing music will be playing in background. Lindsay and Kristen will demonstrate the
warm-up/stretching activity while also holding up a photo of a child doing the same pose. We will then
continue the class with simple yoga poses, stretches, and relaxation techniques based on “Yoga for the
Special Child” for the remainder of the session. No child will not be strained or forced into any
movement they are uncomfortable with. Each child will then be dismissed and walked out to meet their
parent or another caretaker by the instructors. We will offer a make-up session at the parent’s
convenience if one of their child’s sessions must be missed for any reason.
The benefits:
The benefits of the children participating in this study include learning new relaxation and coping
techniques for stress in their lives, as “Yoga for the Special Child” is an effective treatment for individuals
with chronic diseases and conditions. This yoga routine has been proven to help children with disabilities
develop greater concentration, balance, and composure in their daily lives. Additionally, the instructors
will be able to inform the parents of exercises or techniques that may benefit their child’s development
as a result of this study. If they so desire, they will have access to all of their child’s results throughout
and at the conclusion of the study. The informed consent will be requested and given at the
informational meeting and/or at the first testing session at The Institute of Exercise Medicine and
Prevention at the parent’s convenience.
How we will use the data:
We will be publishing and presenting this data at the Midwest Chapter of the American College of Sports
Medicine Conference in St. Cloud, MN in 2014. Any information obtained in connection with this study
that can be identified with you will remain confidential and will be disclosed only with your permission.
In any written reports or publications, no one will be identified or identifiable and only aggregate data
will be presented.
Links:
Institute of Exercise Medicine and Prevention: http://www.iemphit.org/
Yoga for the Special Child: http://www.specialyoga.org/
Midwest Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine Conference:
(http://mwacsm.org/html/index.php)
We would like to begin this process with an informational meeting in August 2013, where we will discuss
this project in greater detail and answer any questions any parents may have.
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