The ethos of Shades of Life has been shaped by Gemma’s work and life experiences…
“From the moment I first met a child with autism, I have been propelled along on a journey of discovery… seeking to understand what is going on, why, how I can help, and so much more. My studies, work, and life experiences so far have led me to reflect that autism is in essence just another way of being, another ‘shade of life’ in the vibrant rainbow that is human existence. Albeit, one that can throw up very real challenges.”
Some guiding principles for the support and intervention offered by Shades of Life:
- Strengths, abilities and uniqueness are celebrated and built on. The individual is heard, understood and empowered.
- Reducing stress and maximising laughter, fun, joy and positivity are emphasised, without undermining the seriousness of challenges faced.
- The root causes of surface behaviours are addressed. Emotional and sensory regulation is a key focus.
- Learning is reciprocal – we must seek to understand ourselves through interacting with others and the world.
- Society has a responsibility to support and accommodate diverse needs. The community of connection and kindness of yoga practitioners should be extended to include those with neurological differences such as autism. Such a community offers a powerful foundation for wider positive change in the world.
- Yoga-based interventions provide an alternative to drugs or talking therapies, offering many benefits including:
- Reduction in anxiety and other mood disturbances
- Improvement in imagination and language/social communication skills
- Increased self-awareness and self-confidence
- Improvement in physical health e.g. posture, flexibility, strength, coordination
- Improvement in neurological integration and sensory regulation
- Increase in concentration
- Predictable, safe, practical and fun