In 1998 Kathy Randolph saw an ad for the book Yoga for the Special Child in Yoga Journal and ordered it. It arrived out of the first printing in English, since it was written by Sonia Sumar in her native language Portuguese. Kathy read it in one weekend, and immediately signed up to take the Yoga for the Special Child training in July of 1999, the next available class. She started teaching her first Yoga for the Special Child private class two days after arriving home from the training, and had enough students to start group classes by October, 1999. In the meantime Holly Laughton took the training in September of 1999. She began teaching immediately upon her return. Stacy Gumfory-Esquibel took the training in 2001. All three teachers are still teaching in 2008, but more are needed.
Since that beginning in 1999, Yoga for the Special Child has been recognized as a valuable therapy by local parents, physical therapists, occupational therapists, doctors, and case workers for local agencies. Yoga for the Special Child is recognized as therapy by the State of Nevada, and families may be able to receive funding from Sierra Regional Center, Rural Regional Center, Washoe County Social Services, VSA, TruVista and others. Local schools, preschools, after school programs and day camps also offer Yoga for the Special Child in their classrooms. The demand for more classes, especially in after school time slots, has exceeded what three teachers can offer. Yoga for the Special Child has been taught in Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Fallon, Fernley, Gerlach and Colfax. Requests have also been received for classes in Truckee and Tahoe.
In order to meet the call for more private and group classes for local children and adults with special needs, Sonia Sumar, an internationally renowned yoga therapist and the creator of Yoga for the Special Child, brought her Basic Certification program to Reno for the first time in June of 2008. A class of 17 new teachers graduated as Certified Practitioners of Yoga for the Special Child. Six of these new teachers are from our area, and all of them are now teaching. Our new teachers are located in Reno, Sparks, Virginia City and Incline Village, allowing the program to reach students in a much larger area.
In 1999, Ian Zehner was the first Yoga for the Special Child student in Reno. Since then hundreds of children have been served, both in private and group classes at The Yoga Center in Reno, and at area preschools, schools and after school and summer day camp programs. Many of them still enjoy children’s classes, and some of them now continue their yoga practices in adult classes. Adults with special needs have attended classes at The Yoga Center and in various local facilities including Washoe Arc, High Sierra Industries, group homes, rehabilitation centers and clinics.
We are delighted to welcome our new Yoga for the Special Child teachers, and hope we never fail to serve a student because of time conflicts or full schedules again. We are actively seeking people from our area to take the June 2009 training and hope to see you there