Embracing Whole-Body Movement for Well-being

Whole-Body Movement series( part-4) Final part

Read Autism and Whole Body Movement Whole-Body Movement part- 1

Read Embracing Whole-Body Movement in My Daily Routine Whole-body movement series part- 2

Read Embracing Whole-Body Movement: A Day of my son Yuvaan’s life Whole-Body Movement series part-3

Embracing Whole-Body Movement for Well-being: Empowering Special Needs Families.(Importance, practical strategies, benefits and resources)

Parenting a child with special needs is a journey filled with unique challenges and triumphs. It’s a rewarding yet challenging journey, and when you’re a parent or primary caregiver to a child with special needs, the challenges can be uniquely demanding. The role of primary caregivers, often mothers, is multifaceted, encompassing physical care, emotional support, and advocacy.

In this context, incorporating whole-body movement activities into daily life becomes more than just a health-oriented choice; it becomes a holistic approach to well-being for both the caregiver and the child. Integrating movement activities into daily routines not only benefits the physical health of both the caregiver and the child but also contributes significantly to their emotional well-being.

In today’s blog, I’ll explore simple and yet effective ways for special needs parents, particularly mothers and primary caregivers, to incorporate whole-body movement into their lives effectively.

Why Whole-Body Movement Matters?

Whole-body movement is essential for everyone’s well-being. It’s a comprehensive approach to physical activity that engages various muscle groups simultaneously, fostering overall physical development. It helps us develop and maintain strength, coordination, and balance. Beyond the physical advantages, embracing whole-body movement contributes to the holistic well-being, positively impacts the emotional and mental states of both parents and caregivers. It helps us improve our mood, reduce stress, and sleep better.

Importance of Whole-Body Movement for Special Needs Families

Whole-body movement can be a valuable tool for families with special needs. It can help parents and caregivers bond with their children, provide opportunities for physical activity, and create a fun and stimulating environment. Participating in whole-body movement together can also help families feel more supported and connected.

How to incorporate Whole-Body Movement into Daily Life?

Practical Strategies for integrating Movement into Daily Routines

1. Start small and gradually increase the amount of movement. Don’t try to do too much too soon. Start with short, fun activities and gradually increase the duration and intensity of the activities as your child becomes more comfortable.

2. Make movement a part of your child’s daily routine. Look for opportunities to incorporate movement into everyday activities, such as walking to school or playing in the park.

3. Find activities that your child enjoys. There are many different types of movement activities, so find ones that your child finds fun and engaging. Some ideas include dancing, swimming, yoga, and sports.

4. Be patient and consistent. It may take some time for your child to get used to new activities. Be patient and consistent, and eventually your child will start to enjoy the benefits of movement.

There are many ways to incorporate whole-body movement into your family’s routine.

1.Morning Stretches:

Begin the day with gentle stretches. Encourage your child to reach for the sky, touch their toes, and twist gently from side to side.
Benefits: Increases flexibility, promotes blood circulation, and sets a positive tone for the day.

2.Dance Breaks:

Turn everyday moments into dance parties. Play your child’s favorite music and move together. It’s an enjoyable way to engage in whole-body movement.
Benefits: Enhances gross motor skills, provides cardiovascular exercise, and fosters a sense of joy.

3.Obstacle Course or playing games at home or at the park:

Create a mini obstacle course using household items like cushions, chairs, or soft toys. Guide your child through the course, incorporating crawling, jumping, and balancing.
Benefits: Develops motor planning, coordination, and spatial awareness.

4.Yoga and Mindful Breathing:

Introduce simple yoga poses suitable for your child’s abilities. Combine it with mindful breathing exercises to promote relaxation.
Benefits: Enhances flexibility, improves focus, and reduces stress for both the caregiver and the child.

5.Nature Walks or hikes:

Explore the outdoors together. Walking on different surfaces like grass, sand, or pavement engages various muscles and provides sensory input.
Benefits: Supports balance, stimulates sensory experiences, and encourages a connection with nature.

6.Take swimming lessons together.
7.Try adaptive sports. Etc.

What are the Long-Term Benefits of whole-body movement for Parents and Caregivers?

There are many benefits to whole-body movement. Here are a few of the most common:

1.Improved Mood and Stress Reduction:

Whole-body movement can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in both children and adults. Regular whole-body movement releases endorphins, reducing stress and promoting a positive mindset for parents and caregivers.

2.Improved Physical Health:

Whole-body movement can develop motor skills, improve coordination, and increase strength and flexibility. Engaging in these activities helps maintain and improve physical health, ensuring caregivers have the stamina and strength needed for their caregiving responsibilities.

3.Strengthened family bonds:

Whole-body movement activities create valuable opportunities for bonding between the caregiver and the child, fostering a supportive and loving relationship. It can provide opportunities for parents and caregivers to create positive memories together.

4.Establishing Healthy Habits:

Caregivers, as role models, play a pivotal role in shaping their child’s habits. By embracing whole-body movement, caregivers instill the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle, laying the foundation for lifelong well-being. Modeling a healthy lifestyle through movement sets the foundation for long-term habits in children, promoting a lifelong commitment to well-being.

We, often consumed by our daily demands can get benefits from maintaining and enhancing our physical health. Regular movement ensures the stamina and strength required for caregiving responsibilities.
Remember, in the world of special needs parenting, it’s the amalgamation of love, support, and movement that paves the way for a brighter and more fulfilled future.

Incorporating whole-body movement into the daily routine of special needs families is a powerful tool for nurturing physical and mental health. By embracing these activities, parents and primary caregivers not only contribute to the development of their special needs child but also cultivate a healthier and more connected family environment. So, it’s not about perfection; it’s about the joy and well-being that movement can bring to the lives of both caregivers and their special needs children.

Additional helpful Resources

There are many resources available to help families with special needs incorporate movement based activities into their routines. Here are a few resources:

The National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) has a website with resources on adapted physical education and physical activity for children with disabilities visit

All India Council of Physical Therapy (AICPT) is a voice for physical therapy persons with laws & rights under Constitution of India.,of%20Commerce%2C%20Govt.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE Fitness) has many programs and resources online on exercise and fitness for people with disabilities.

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation has a website with resources on recreation and physical activity for people with disabilities, visit

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has a website with information on physical activity and healthy development for children with special needs.

National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD), erstwhile known as Central Institute of Research and Training in Public Cooperation. NIPCCD aims to deliver quality capacity building, counselling services and research output in the areas of women’s development, children’s holistic development, mental health and child protection. Visit

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children, with information on physical activity and children’s health.

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) has a website with information on physical activity and special education for children.

The Family and Child Agency (FCA) has a website with information on physical activity and children with special needs.

I hope this blog post has been helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Author Shilpi Mayank Awasthi
Founder Shilpi Mayank Awasthi

BloggerSaathi Hindi Blogs

ऑटिज्म में समर्थन: समय पर हस्तक्षेप का महत्व

ऑटिज्म में समर्थन: समय पर हस्तक्षेप का महत्व (The importance of Early intervention in Autism)

ऑटिज्म एक विकासात्मक विकलांगता है जो बच्चों के सामाजिक, भाषा, और संवेग विकास में असामान्यीकृति पैदा कर सकती है। इसमें निर्दिष्ट सामाजिक और व्यक्तिगत गुणस्तर होता है, लेकिन सबसे महत्वपूर्ण बात यह है कि समस्या का सही समय पर पहचान और हस्तक्षेप हो।

1. शिक्षा के अवसर:
बच्चों में ऑटिज्म को सही समय पर पहचानने से शिक्षा के क्षेत्र में योग्यता के लिए अवसर स्थापित होता है। समय पर हस्तक्षेप से बच्चों को विशेष शिक्षा और समर्थन प्रदान किया जा सकता है जो उन्हें सामाजिक संबंध बनाने, भाषा सीखने, और अन्य कौशल विकसित करने में मदद करता है।

2. परिवार का समर्थन:
जब हम ऑटिज्म को समय पर पहचानते हैं, तो परिवार को उचित समर्थन प्राप्त करने का अवसर मिलता है। उचित दिशा निर्देशन, विशेषज्ञों का सहारा, और समर्थन से परिवार बच्चे की सहायता करने में सक्षम हो सकता है, जिससे उनका संघर्ष कम होता है।

3. समाज में उपस्थिति:
ऑटिज्म को समय पर पहचानने से बच्चे को समाज में सही से स्थान मिल सकता है। समर्थन के माध्यम से, उन्हें सामाजिक संबंध बनाने, सामाजिक कौशल विकसित करने, और समाज में सहायता करने के लिए उपयुक्त उपायों की पहुंच मिलती है।

4. आत्मनिर्भरता की राह:
सही समय पर हस्तक्षेप से, ऑटिज्म के बच्चे अपनी आत्मनिर्भरता की ओर बढ़ सकते हैं। उन्हें आवश्यक कौशल और सामरिक योग्यताएं सिखाई जा सकती हैं जो उन्हें अधिक स्वायत्ता देने में मदद करती हैं।

समाप्त करते समय, हम यहां तक पहुंचते हैं कि ऑटिज्म में समय पर हस्तक्षेप का महत्व बहुत ही अधिक है। सही समय पर पहचान, उचित समर्थन और उचित दिशा निर्देशन से, हम इन बच्चों को समाज में सही से स्थान देने में सफल हो सकते हैं, जिससे उनका विकास सही दिशा में हो सकता है।

शिल्पी मयंक अवस्थी
संस्थापिका, स्पेशल साथी


Embracing Whole-Body Movement: A Day of my son Yuvaan’s life.

Whole-body movement series (part-3)

Read Autism and Whole Body Movement (Whole-Body Movement, Whole-body movement series series (part-1)
Read Embracing Whole-Body Movement in My Daily Routine, Whole-body movement series (part-2)

Embracing Whole-Body Movement in My Son’s Daily Routine: A Day of my son Yuvaan’s life.

In the fast-paced world we live in, it’s easy to overlook the importance of physical and mental well-being. This holds especially true for my 6-year-old son, Yuvaan, who navigates life on the autism spectrum and faces the challenges of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). In this blog post, I delve into Yuvaan’s daily routine, emphasizing the integration of whole-body movement and its profound impact on his life.

Understanding Yuvaan’s Profile:

Yuvaan, a gifted child with high intellect, faces the constant demand of academic pursuits due to his insatiable curiosity. His sensory needs, intricately tied to his cognitive development, require innovative approaches to keep him engaged. Introducing whole-body movement activities became a cornerstone in fulfilling these needs.

For Yuvaan, who is on the spectrum and also a child with a Pathological Demand Avoidance profile, possesses a keen curiosity, enthusiastically explores and learns from his environment. He is a bundle of hyperenergy, a gifted child with high intellect, IQ, and cognitive functioning. Constantly seeking ways to learn new things, he is inclined towards academic pursuits, books, and related interests, exhibiting a strong sensory need to engage his highly developed mind.

Given his PDA profile, where every task is perceived as a demand to be avoided, introducing whole-body movement becomes crucial. Despite his natural tendency to resist demands, especially the ones instructed by others, it is essential to fulfill his sensory needs. I address this by incorporating occupational therapy activities, outdoor play, and exercises tailored to his interests, such as counting, skip counting, tables, mathematical operations, squares, and cubes that he enjoys the most.

Outdoor Learning and Play:

The journey began three to four years ago, with basic counting activities during outdoor play. I began integrating outdoor activities with basic counting (Yuvaan doing counting while performing these outdoor activities), gradually evolving into more complex mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, tables, squares, and cubes etc. Utilizing and incorporating numbers found in our surroundings, such as house numbers, parking numbers, and lamp posts and using them for instant calculations, sums, and number of engaging oral maths activities has turned a routine exercise into learning engaging challenges for Yuvaan. While these activities may not always be necessary now, they prove handy when setting clear boundaries in a hurry.

Slides with stairs, monkey bars, and engaging twists and turns serve as excellent means to offer comprehensive whole-body movement activities for children

Incorporating whole-body movement exercises and activities has been transformative, positively impacting and proving to be a boon for my child’s development. These activities not only catered to his sensory needs but also enriched his academic interests.

Daily Routine:

Yuvaan’s day commences at approximately 7 AM, initiating with a well-structured morning routine. This includes essential activities such as using the toilet, brushing, freshening up, dressing, a brief playtime, breakfast, morning rituals, donning shoes, socks, and his ID card before heading to school.

In grade 1, Yuvaan encounters a diverse curriculum consisting of six core subjects. Additionally, he participates in various other subjects and co-curricular activities like Zumba, instrumental music, dance, physical education, swimming, occupational therapy (OT), special education, among others. The school timetable is packed with daily and weekly activities, competitions, Olympiads, exams, and events, ensuring a mentally and physically engaging experience.

Conveniently located near our home, Yuvaan walks back from school with me. Upon returning, a swift routine follows, encompassing his bath, afternoon rituals, and lunch before we engage in quality time together. The afternoon grants him the freedom of unstructured play, and later, study sessions and homework provide intellectual stimulation. Subsequently, he delights in the playground’s slides and swings during autumn and winter, transitioning to swimming in the summer months.

Spiral slides serve as an effective source for engaging gross motor skills, balancing activities and promoting shoulder and leg movement activities.

Yuvaan’s daily routine extends to a visit to the local public park, where he utilizes exercising machines for whole-body workouts in a refreshing outdoor setting. This serves as an opportunity for him to bond, both with me and with new friends, including local kids from nearby villages and some pets.

The exercise machines found in public parks across cities nowadays offer a well-rounded blend of outdoor-based whole-body movement activities

The evening outdoor sessions conclude with a brisk 2+ km walk cum run. Back at home, Yuvaan continues to enjoy his playtime.

Impact on Yuvaan’s Life:

The integration of movement-based activities into Yuvaan’s routine yielded remarkable results:
A. Improved Sensory Processing: Reduction in sensory sensitivities enhanced Yuvaan’s daily comfort.
B. Enhanced Motor Skills: Fine and gross motor skills witnessed significant improvement, positively affecting focus, coordination, and physical confidence.
C. Increased Communication: Outdoor play facilitated communication, turn-taking, and social development, contributing to enhanced language skills.
D. Stress Reduction: Mindful physical activities became tools for managing stress and anxiety, making daily routines more manageable.

Therapeutic and Ripple Effect:

Recognizing the sensory and motor challenges faced by individuals on the autism spectrum, I introduced whole-body movement as an integral part of Yuvaan’s therapy. This deliberate approach aimed to enhance sensory processing, fine and gross motor skills, and overall communication.
The transformative power of whole-body movement extended beyond Yuvaan’s personal development. Regular outdoor activities not only enriched his well-being but also created positive ripples in our daily lives.

This blog sheds light on the seamless integration of whole-body movement into our daily routine and its far-reaching benefits. By prioritizing physical activity, even in our busy schedules, we not only enhance our health but also become inspirations for others to follow suit.

Author: Shilpi Mayank Awasthi
Founder: SpecialSaathi

Closing Note:

Your thoughts and feedback on this journey of embracing whole-body movement are highly valued. Share your insights and let’s continue this conversation on the transformative power of movement in the lives of individuals with unique needs.

Art Exhibition

SpecialSaathi’s Online Art Exhibition 2023

SpecialSaathi’s Online Art Exhibition 2023 showcasing the artworks of the participants of SpecialSaathi Online Art Competition 2023.

We take immense pleasure in introducing the SpecialSaathi Online Art Exhibition 2023, a celebration of creativity and talent. Today, we proudly present the award-winning entries from the 13-18 age category, a testament to the remarkable skills of young artists. Join us on this artistic journey as we unveil the exhibition segment by segment each day. Witness the awe-inspiring creations of specially-abled individuals, showcasing their unique perspectives and artistic prowess. Your support is invaluable as we embrace and appreciate the marvels within this diverse and talented community.

Art Exhibition of the Winners of Age category 13 to 18 years

1st Position. Artist *Name of the child – Morpheus Nag
*Age – 16year
*Diagnosis – Autism and Dyslexia
*Place – Chandigarh
*Artwork Specifications –
1. Size of the sheet – 29inch × 24 inch
2. Medium – Acrylic paint
3. Sheet type – Handmade paper

First prize winner- Artist Morpheus Nag

Judge’s Feedback

Ravinder Tanwar– Beautiful Lines with good control. And Mature Colouring.

Niyaz Hussain– A beautiful representation of Ram and Sita ji, through art!

2nd position. Artist Name : Debarghya Chaudhuri
●Age : 18 years
●Diagnosis : Autism
●Place : Gurgaon

● *Artwork specifications*
Name : Sky of Hope
●Size of the sheet 1 ft x 2 ft , set of 3
●Medium (e.g., oil paint, etc.) -Acrylic
●Sheet type (canvas or other) – Canvas

Second prize winner- Artist Debarghya Chaudhuri

Judge’s Feedback

Ravinder Tanwar– Well balanced colour scheme and Vibrant Composition.

Niyaz Hussain- The texture of this piece is wonderful and amazing!

3rd Position.Artist Name – Ashish Mishra
Age- 17
Diagnosis – Hard Hearing in Both Ear
Place- Delhi
Artwork – Madhubani
Size of the Sheet- A4 size
Medium – Acrylic
Sheet Type -Canvas

Third position winner- Artist Ashish Mishra

Judge’s Feedback

Ravinder Tanwar – Very fine work which is really tough to do with such a control.

Niyaz Hussain – Your artwork is impressive!

3rd Position. Artist Name: Nikil Thotam
Age : 16
Diagnosis: Autism Spectrum Disorder
Place: USA
Art specifications:
Canvas size 11×14
Acrylic painting
Title: Krishna and Radha playing holi

Third position winner- Nikhil Thotam

Judge’s Feedback

Ravinder Tanwar Lovely depiction of Radha and Krishna

Niyaz Hussain – Your work of Radha -Krishna ji is beautiful!

Consolation prize winner-

1. Name:Shreyas Das
Condition: Autism
Age: 13 years 10 months.

About Art: acrylic on A3 size GSM paper.

Consolation prize winner- Artist-Shreyas Das

Judge’s Feedback

Ravinder Tanwar– Ganesha’s painting is simply beautiful

Niyaz Hussain– The painting of Ganesha is eye catching!

Consolation prize winner-

2. Pihu upadhyay
Class 8th
13 years
Cerebral Palsy
Delhi police public school safdarjung enclave New Delhi
A4 Size sheet poster colors

Consolation prize winner- Artist- Pihu upadhyay

Judge’s Feedback

Ravinder Tanwar – nice thought behind this art

Niyaz Hussain -The artwork is lovely

Consolation prize winner-

3. Name- Tuba
Age – 18
Diagnosis- locomotor disability
Place- New Delhi
A4 Size sheet.

Consolation prize winner- Artist-Tuba

Judge’s Feedback

Ravinder Tanwar great effort.

Niyaz Hussain Beautiful shading!

To be continued tomorrow….

Art Exhibition

SpecialSaathi’s Online Art Exhibition 2023

SpecialSaathi’s Online Art Exhibition 2023 showcasing the artworks of the participants of SpecialSaathi Online Art Competition 2023.

We take immense pleasure in introducing the SpecialSaathi Online Art Exhibition 2023, a celebration of creativity and talent. Today, we proudly present the award-winning entries from the 19-28 age category, a testament to the remarkable skills of young artists. Join us on this artistic journey as we unveil the exhibition segment by segment each day. Witness the awe-inspiring creations of specially-abled individuals, showcasing their unique perspectives and artistic prowess. Your support is invaluable as we embrace and appreciate the marvels within this diverse and talented community.

Art Exhibition of the Winners of 19 to 28 years age category

1st PositionArtist Name – Anisha Bansal
Age – 19 years
Diagnosis – Hearing Impairment. Place – Faridabad.

About the Art:- This is an attempt to paint one of the famous painting by the famous Indian painter – Raja Ravi Varma. Portrayed here is young and beautiful Shakuntala with her Sakhis, Anusuya and Priyamvada in sylvan surroundings.

Artwork specifications:
●Size of the sheet – 12*18 inch
●Medium (e.g., oil paint, etc.) -poster colours 
●Sheet type (canvas or other) – Cartridge sheet 

First prize winner- Artist Anisha Bansal

Judge’s Feedback-

Ravinder Tanwar- Wonderfully executed Colours. With controlled and balanced Composition

Niyaz Hussain- The clarity of linework and expressions in your artwork, is simply amazing!

2nd positionArtist Name : Nikhil Kapoor 
Age :  25 years
Parents Name : Mr. Chaman Kapoor & Mrs. Vandana

He is Autism Spectrum child, has ear for music, he plays tabla very well. 
He has studied till tenth grade. Has won many prizes in school. 

He loves to do painting. Painting is one activity in which he can sit for hrs together. He won twice at very special arts. Has sold many paintings also. He recently participated in eCapa Art Exhibition. 

Second prize winner- Artist Nikhil Kapoor

Judge’s Feedback-

Ravinder Tanwar- Beautiful Lines with good control and Vibrant Composition.

Niyaz Hussain-Clear lines and shading, makes your artwork attractive!

3rd position- Artist Name: Atharva chaple
Age: 20
Diagnosis: Intellectual disability 
Place: Nagpur
Art Specifications
Size of the sheet: 210x297mm
Medium: crayons
Sheet type: A4

Third prize winner- Artist Atharva chaple

Judge’s Feedback-

Ravinder Tanwar- Lovely depiction of daily life.

Niyaz Hussain- You were able to capture the image of a thoughtful girl, through your art!

3rd position- Artist Name – Sarang Sachin Jaltare
Age- 28
Disability- Autism spectrum( asperger)
Place- Hyderabad

Art specifications
Size 12 by 12 Inches
Acrylic colours on Canvas

Third prize winner- Artist Sarang Sachin Jaltare

Judge’s Feedback-

Ravinder Tanwar- nice and balanced textures.

Niyaz Hussain-You did a great job on the beautiful vase and background work!

Consolation prize winner

Name of the child: Glevina Dsa  
●Age: 19 yrs
●Diagnosis: Autism
●Place: Bangalore, Karnataka 

Artwork specifications :-

●Size of the sheet:  A4 size
●Medium (e.g., oil paint, etc.): Pearl Acrylic paints
●Sheet type (canvas or other): 140gsm paper

Consolation prize winner- Glevina Dsa

Judge’s Feedback-

Ravinder Tanwar- Lovely and eye- catching art.

Niyaz Hussain-Beautiful elements in your painting!

Consolation prize winner

Name of the Child : Shashwat Shukla
Age : 23Yrs
Diagnosis : Autistic
Artwork Specifications:
Size of the Sheet : 100CM X 67CM
Medium : Oil Pastel
Sheet type :Mountboard

Consolation prize winnerShashwat Shukla

Judge’s Feedback-

Ravinder Tanwar- A simple yet beautiful artpiece.

Niyaz Hussain-The elephant painting is a wonderful piece of art !

To be continued tomorrow …….