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Not what I'd hoped
on February 11, 2000
As a beginner yoga student who also works with children with special needs, I found this book much less helpful than I had expected.
The book seems almost entirely focused on people who will be working with a child with Down's syndrome from infancy onwards, and therefore all the directions on how to begin teaching yoga to a child at an early developmental age rely on that child being very small and passive - no help, for example, to anyone working with a child who is developmentally at the 18-months level with no language but with a seven-year-old body and a decidedly un-passive personality!
While I personally would agree that yoga can be very beneficial to everyone, including children with special needs (who may particularly benefit from yoga's capacity to improve body awareness, develop flexibility, concentration, and so on), I was dubious about some of Sumar's claims; for example, she states bluntly that "Scientific tests have shown that the headstand improves memory and intellect" without referring to any sources to support this dramatic claim.
Citing her daughter Roberta's IQ of 87, she states that "Down Syndrome IQs normally range from 20 to 55"; in fact, experts now say that many people with Down's only have mild mental handicaps, with IQs in the 60s or higher, and occasional IQs in the "borderline" or "low normal" range have been documented.
I was also startled that at one point Sumar seemed to be implying that the practice of yoga was responsible for shifting one child's ears "from a low to a normal position in her head"!