Nasik, India: During the All Maharashtra Conference recently held in Nasik, India, I witnessed an amazing presentation by a teacher in a school for deaf and mute children. There was a group of 10 children who has been practicing Laughter Yoga 5 days in a week for about 20-30 minutes since the last two years. The school found that in comparison with other children who were not exposed to laughter sessions, this experimental group had remarkable improvement in their speech and communication skills.
Laughter Yoga was introduced to these children by a medical doctor Dr. Sushma Duggad, chief coordinator of Laughter Clubs in Nasik. According to the teachers, regular laughter session has brought lot of joy and happiness into the lives of these disabled children and has helped them to overcome their depression.
The laughter session with these children first started with the help of sign language, then some warming up exercises to open up their voice – a kind of yodeling like aaaa eeee oooo accompanied by body movements which was followed by ho ho ha ha and different laughter exercises. After the demonstration on stage, I observed that most children could speak much better and were able to express themselves more clearly by altering the pitch and tone of their voice.
As a result of constant encouragement by their teachers, there is a lot of positive change in the attitude and behavior of these children. There was a problem child, who hardly made an attempt to speak, and whose negative behavior was of concern for the teachers, became more amiable and restrained from destructive behavior after attending the laughter sessions. He even started to speak some words in a nasal tone and his conduct changed entirely. I was very touched and was in tears after listening to this story. I had no idea that laughter was in actuality changing the lives of people around the world especially those with special needs.
Watch this video and see how Laughter Yoga has benefited these children.