Anne Buckley Reen
YOGA FOR THE SPECIAL CHILD SENIOR LICENSED PRACTITIONER
GET READY TO LEARN PROGRAM TEACHER (GTRL)
Anne began her journey with Yoga for the Special Child in 1999 after having a personal yoga practice for many years. Anne has continued to her YSC education and practice to this day. As a pediatric OT since the 1980s and running a private therapy practice in NY, Anne often provided inservice trainings and consultations to teachers, administrators and classroom teachers as well as to her colleagues in the therapy fields. The opportunity to include yoga as a therapeutic practice with her clients with developmental challenges was the piece that brought it all together.
After initially creating a Yoga room in her therapy studio, Anne found the response to YSC to be significant especially for the most challenged students who had great difficulty engaging or staying calm. These students became Anne’s teachers as they began to engage, share the rhythm of practice, communicate and develop improved sensory and motor processing and function.
The following year, Anne began making morning yoga visits to several of her clients, providing sessions before school to see how it would impact their day. Again, the response was significant. Feedback from classroom teachers and parents was overwhelmingly positive and although morning sessions were supposed to be a 1 year pilot study, the outcomes prompted Anne to continue to do her early morning visits for the next few years to continue supporting her students with the yoga tools that improved behaviors, increased awareness and functional skills and created a sense of calm and connection throughout the day.
In 2007 , Anne was invited by the Superintendent of Special Education in NYC to address a city-wide meeting of Special education principals and explain the sensory, motor and behavioral challenges faced by so many students. Following the presentation, Anne was asked to develop a morning movement based curriculum to help students with special needs achieve the necessary sensory, motor and emotional readiness states for learning. With the inspiration and experience of YSC, her morning yoga visits and her years as a pediatric therapist -a pilot program was developed and launched in 2008. This program provides a daily classroom based yoga practice that involves not only the students but the staff as well. To see the correlation between the morning practice and the classroom outcomes, teachers observed and documented student responsiveness after yoga in 4 key areas: Behavior, Attention, Performance and Communication. Working with groups in classrooms introduced new challenges and opportunities for learning. Developing yogic environments, training and engaging all of the adults, creating a classroom and school wide community, supporting evolving skills and meeting varied needs was a challenge and an inspiring process. The pilot study outcomes demonstrated changes in areas beyond what was being measured- including positive changes in sleep patterns, restrictive eating, levels of anxiety and reactivity and more. The popularity of The Get Ready To Learn Program as a preparation for learning has spread to school districts around the country and in several locations in Europe.
Research conducted by NYU was published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy in 2012 demonstrating the impact of this therapeutic program with students on the Autism spectrum.
Anne is excited to continue her journey with YSC and share her popular Get Ready To Learn program with students and teachers around the world. Anne is married and lives by the sea in NY. Her grown sons are delighted to have a yogi mom and her new granddaughters are already practicing with her.
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