Breathing patterns can have a deep effect on our health. In times of stress, breathing can become fast and shallow. Teaching children deep breathing exercises can help them calm down, focus, and relax. Teachers and therapists often use a Hoberman Sphere as a visual guide to teach students deep breathing techniques.
Slowly expanding and contracting the sphere is a great visual support for teaching your students with autism and communication challenges how to take deep breaths.
To begin, ask students to breathe in deeply from down in their belly as you slowly expand the Hoberman sphere. As children are breathing you can have them place their hands on their belly so they can feel it expanding like a balloon.
Once the lungs are full of air and the sphere is round, ask students to hold their breath for a count of three.
Next have students slowly exhale as you slowly close the sphere. You can have students place their hand in front of their mouth so they can feel the air come out of their mouth.
Repeat this exercise ten to twelve times.
This simple self-regulating exercise can become a powerful tool to help the children you work with learn to calm and refocus.