(LO1)The first session began with us discussing our experience with yoga, and why we joined this service in particular. I have had a year or two of Yoga experience, often doing Hot Yoga with my mum. Therefore I believe my past knowledge and interest in Yoga, especially the importance of breathing and focus, can help the group. My main focus with this service was to aim to decrease the stigmatization of individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities (ID). Being enrolled in UWC for nearly 8 years, I have had a lot of exposure and experience in service, especially working with individuals with intellectual disability. Previously I had worked with the organisation: Christian Outreach to the Handicapped. Though compared to the other members in my team I felt quite confident and relaxed about the working with individuals with ID, I was still new and nervous with the physicality of the one on one yoga session, afraid and unaware of the level of physical interaction I could carry out.
As a team we researched and brainstormed possible questions but also got familiar with some of the conditions our clients are faced with. This was we have a solid foundation of knowledge by collecting secondary and primary data through the internet and first hand interview with the representatives of Tampines Minds. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OLe1BgnDeFsxsovR5Icado8dZ9_lhXcScKOLTTxnykI/edit
(LO6) After the meeting with the two representatives of MINDS Tampines, it became clear to me that this service is much more than yoga or the chance for our clients to enhance their physical wellbeing. Although that is a large focus, I now understood that this service is an opportunity for our clients to interact more with other people to encourage social inclusion by bettering their social skills and practice what is accepted in everyday society. Little shifts in habit, like opting for a handshake instead of a hug, can make their integration into society a smoother process.
The first hand interview with our client at MINDS proved extremely useful as we were taught key information we we missed out on in the initial research step we did the session before. We were introduced to one major mindset we should avoid: the encouragement of Learned helplessness. Learned helplessness is a mental state in which an individual will belief that one is incapable of accomplishing the task at hand. In the context of Yoga with MINDS, learned helplessness can arise if us students help too much. E.g lifting their arms for them instead of allowing them to take the time to carry out the task on their own. Overtime the individual will learn to not try. To avoid this we follow these steps when carrying out the Yoga session.
- Observe reaction
- Take appropriate measure of support for example guide their hands
- Slowly lesson support to encourage independence
(LO2) A large obstacle for me was figuring out how to communicate with and support individuals who are Non-verbal. I then found that those individuals still like to be supported by verbal communication even though they do not respond and that because they may not adequately communicate it verbally we can gage their comfort level or thoughts by reading their facial and gestural expressions.
Often I wonder to what extent are we held responsible for caring for and making progress towards the integration of people with ID. This highlights the ethical implications (LO7) of working with individuals with ID as one must be well trained an informed to not provoke negative impacts. Therefore we underwent 2 sessions of yoga training specific towards supporting people with ID to create the best possible environment for our clients.