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Mindfulness practice can help school children

School-based mindfulness programmes improve decision-making skills of children with autism and also improve their attention spans and reduce anxiety levels, says a study published in the journal Research in Developmental Disabilities (August). According to researchers at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, mindfulness practice in neurotypical children improves decision-making skills and reduces anxiety, a common complaint of children diagnosed with autism

The researchers conducted an eight-week mindfulness program (mindful breathing and focusing attention on the body, thoughts and emotions) to 27 autistic children aged 10-17 at Newmark, a private school in New Jersey for children with special needs. “We found that the children improved their executive functions like controlling emotions, maintaining self-control, focusing attention and being flexible in changing their perspectives,” says lead investigator Helen Genova, assistant research professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

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