Stories about: Dr. Emily Jean Davidson

Encouraging exercise in children with special needs

yoga-downs-syndrome-special-needs-exerciseThree years ago, Emily Jean Davidson, MD, MPH, decided to become a yoga instructor. Her niche was unorthodox: she wanted to teach inclusive yoga for children with Down syndrome and other medical and developmental issues.

Davidson, a pediatrician specializing in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in the Down Syndrome Program and the Complex Care Services at Boston Children’s Hospital, is passionate about promoting exercise in children of all abilities.

“A lot of parents of children with developmental disabilities struggle to find time and/or opportunities to engage their children in healthy physical activity,” says Davidson. “If you’re taking your kid to lots of appointments with specialists, sports and active play can fall by the wayside.”

Often, she adds, programs are designed exclusively for children with one particular condition, such as a ballet class for children with Down syndrome or a swimming program for kids with asthma, and that means others are excluded.

“The good news is there are lots of recreational programs out there,” says Davidson. “You just have to look into your local community’s offerings.” …Read More