~YOUnique Fitness ~

Music, Movement, and Mindfulness for Different Abilities

Community Classes

Classes beginning June 23

at World Rhythm & Motion Studio in San Luis Obispo (near Trader Joes)

Use Registration links on our CALENDAR

SCHEDULE VARIES over the summer months but generally alternating week to week by age group: Ages 5-11 and Ages 12 – young adults. Once summer has passed we will follow a routine for 1st and 3rd Saturdays ~ Ages 5-11; 2nd and 4th Saturdays ~ Ages 12 – young adults; 5th Saturday ~ TBA (varies according to holidays). Our calendar will announce which age group is to attend.  If there is enough interest, a weekly class will be made available for each age group by adding a new time!

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“YOUnique Fitness” offers social/emotional/physical fitness classes integrating the wide-ranging benefits of music, movement, and mindfulness, where everyone is welcome and everyone succeeds! Some children (and adults) with different abilities or special needs challenges (such as Autism, Down’s Syndrome, ADHD, and more) aren’t always able to successfully participate in activities with their peers, or have difficulty fitting in or keeping up. Now they can! The benefits are numerous but, best of all, children will think it’s just for fun! Be YOUnique! BeYOUtiful!

PLEASE NOTE: Students must be able to independently follow directions (obviously there is a learning curve) and be motivated to be a part of this class. If student is unable or unwilling to follow directions, parent or guardian will be required to participate. If student continues to have challenges, individual therapy sessions will be recommended in my home studio (Los Osos). 

Approved Vendor for Inspire Charter Schools.

MK YOU also offers a private individualized program in Los Osos.

“Dee’s classes are an excellent combination of physical and mental exercises that have helped my ASD son to self-regulate his body and his mind.  The brain exercises include emphasis on receptive deficiencies (listening, paying attention, etc.) and meditation (which helps him-self regulate his emotions).  The physical exercises include music and movement routines as well as yoga positions (which require the students to follow instructions and mimic body position).  All these exercises address deficiencies that are all too common among children and young adults on the autism spectrum as well as other physical and development disabilities.  I would recommend this program to anyone who cares for one of our special people.” ~Daniel C (son with Autism)

YOUnique Program:

As a Speech-Language Therapist, Certified Autism Movement Therapist, Certified Mindfulness Educator, and Yoga Calm Certification pending, I brought unique training opportunities to the children I worked with in school, as well as to community programs in Northern California before moving here to the Central Coast. The video below is of some of my former students in my tiny therapy room in a public school several years ago. We used to meet the first 15 minutes of each school day to do music & movement. When we first started, each one of the students were unable to follow directions, coordinate the moves, and work as a group. With practice they were able to do these movements with greater ease, flexibility, and as a group. I had removed all the furniture from the room and installed mirrors on the walls so the students could see their bodies in motion and learn to match their movements with mine. Recognized as a related service, music and movement therapy serves as an integral component in helping the child with special needs attain educational goals either through direct or consultant services.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION:

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

It’s a whole-brain approach to learning and fitness:

By combining patterning, visual movement calculation, auditory processing, rhythm, sequencing, and more, the class is a whole-brain approach to learning and fitness. We blend Music and Movement Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy, Mindfulness, and sensory-emotional-behavioral integration & regulation. We are literally awakening the brain by introducing a structured and fun form of therapy through music, dance, and improvisation, among other things, while building independence and self-determination skills. The benefits are numerous but everyone thinks it’s just for fun! 

Through cognitive re-mapping, YOUnique Fitness is a structured program integrating music, movement, and sensory integration to connect the left and right hemispheres of the brain for a “whole brain” cognitive re-mapping approach that significantly improves concentration, focus, social interaction, flexibility in thinking, speech & language skills, behavioral & emotional skills, academic readiness for learning and academic performance, and sensory integration. Rapid movement activates the amygdala, the brain’s emotion center and that up and down, forward and sudden halt, and side to side movements help organize the brain, making an individual more available for learning.  Dr. Temple Grandin, PhD, well known author, professor at Colorado University and autism advocate tells us that “repetitive rocking motion that requires a person to continually find and re-find their balance stimulates areas of their brain where learning receptors are located.”

Our activities include:

  • Whole brain functioning therapy to enhance flexibility and connections in the brain through the science of music, movement, and yoga combined, both through imitation and improvisation;
  • Pro-social participation: developing positive connections and engage in a warm and welcoming environment of positivity, kindness, respect, acceptance, and inclusiveness;
  • Mindfulness: connecting self and others through the heart and mind. Sensory, emotional, behavioral regulation strategies including visualization, imagery, relaxation, and guided meditation for learning life-long tools for calming and stress reduction.

“Music, Movement & Mindfulness is so therapeutic for my 18 year old son with autism. He has been attending class with Dee for almost a year, and he looks forward to it every week. Total awareness of movement, breathing, yoga, and guided visualization is so good for him. He has learned calming and coping strategies for use in every day life, and he loves the rhythmic music and ‘how relaxed it makes me feel’.”  ~Andrea H (son with Autism)

The classes support anyone with challenges or impairments in any of the following areas:

  • Learning Disabilities
  • Attention
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Autism
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Speech, language, communication
  • Sensory
  • Emotional
  • Behavioral
  • Auditory processing
  • Poor coordination
  • Low self-esteem
  • Social skills
  • Difficulty making friends
  • and so much more!

“Ella speaks of you often and greatly  misses her time with you. Your tenderness and loving understanding made a lasting impact on our hyper-charged girl!” ~Regina F (daughter with ADHD)

Here are just some of the skills students may learn ~

Research is affirming that combining movement and music is one of the most effective ways of stimulating the brain to increase overall cognitive processing which can significantly increase such things as focus, speech and language, social interactions, and behavioral and emotional challenges

The issue:

  • The left and right hemispheres are not talking to each other
  • The connective tissue (corpus callosum) serves as the conduit or the bridge between the left and right hemisphere
  • Studies indicate that this bridge can be strengthened in order to transmit information between the left and right hemisphere which allows information to be transmitted that otherwise is not being processed. It jumpstarts impaired informational pathways.

Bridging the two sides of the brain to increase cognitive processing assimilation or “waking up the brain” is the goal of AMT. In order to actually move across the floor, listening to the music, and doing the patterns and sequences, they have to engage both sides of the brain.  (Joanne Lara, Autism Movement Therapy ) The mirrors help the students see what their body is doing in space.

“Music expresses feeling and thought, without language; it was below and before speech, and it is above and beyond all words.”  ~Robert G. Ingersoll

Strong Minds.

  • Attention and focus
  • Self-control or Self-regulation
  • Following directions
  • Cognitive Flexibility
  • Imagination and creativity
  • Leadership
  • Emotional regulation
  • Learning stillness

Strong Bodies

  • Flexibility
  • Strength
  • Coordination
  • Imitating rhythms and pattern

Strong Hearts.

  • Social awareness skills
  • Thinking about others
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Friendship
  • Character development

“Dee’s Music-Movement-Mindfulness classes have been a blessing for my 10 yr old special needs son.  The ‘low pressure’ and relaxed atmosphere have made it one of the few extracurricular activities that he has consistently enjoyed.  I find that has motor planning skills and love for music have increased over time.  Dee’s approach to working with special needs kids is a benefit as well”  ~K (son with Autism & Down’s Syndrome)

Classes beginning June 23

at World Rhythm & Motion Studio in San Luis Obispo (near Trader Joes)

Use Registration links on our CALENDAR

$12 per class credit card or $10 cash/check

SCHEDULE VARIES over the summer months but generally alternating week to week by age group: Ages 5-11 and Ages 12 – young adults. Once summer has passed we will follow a routine for 1st and 3rd Saturdays ~ Ages 5-11; 2nd and 4th Saturdays ~ Ages 12 – young adults; 5th Saturday ~ TBA (varies according to holidays). Our calendar will announce which age group is to attend.  If there is enough interest, a weekly class will be made available for each age group by adding a new time!

PLEASE NOTE: Students must be able to independently follow directions (obviously there is a learning curve) and be motivated to be a part of this class. If student is unable or unwilling to follow directions, parent or guardian will be required to participate. If student continues to have challenges, individual therapy sessions will be recommended in my home studio (Los Osos). 

Questions? Requests?  Contact Dee

 

“I like your class because Ki gets to interact with a different adult and other kids.  He gets to challenge his brain in different ways. Following your directions physically, responding verbally to your questions and coming up with his own version of rhythm sticks for his classmates to copy are all great things for him to develop/practice.  I think the yoga portion is a little challenging for him but is also good for him because it is calming and he struggles a little with the stretching involved in other sports.  It may take him a little longer to catch onto things but he is so excited when he gets it.  He gets it more and more every week and he practices things at home. Ki always looks forward to you class and talks about it all the time at home.  I think he likes the independence of going to class and interacting with you and his classmates.  For a long time, he took gymnastics weekly but eventually, he got too big and the next class was too long and a little too overwhelming for him.  Your class has been a really good option for him.  I am hoping that as time goes on, he will develop relationships with his classmates.  Social interaction with peers continues to be a challenge for him.  As you and your toes know, he does well at creating relationship with adults. ” ~Christine Y. (son with Down’s Syndrome and Autism)