Nicole Koleshis
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OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY

 
I have had the pleasure of working (and playing!) with Nicole since 2004, when she first landed in Seattle as a transplant from Massachusetts. We worked side-by-side as Speech-Language Pathologist and Occupational Therapist in Seattle Public Schools for 10 years, during which time Nicole demonstrated the breadth of her skills and innate intuition in teaching children with a vast range of disabilities. I watched as she inspired her students and classrooms with her love of Yoga, as she became the district-wide specialist in Sensory Integration, and as she headed down the path of becoming a master Kids Yoga Teacher and Trainer. She brings true talent and joy to all the lives she touches. I cannot recommend her more highly.
— Ann M. McCormick, M.S., CCC-SLP, OMT

Even as a teenager, I felt called to contribute to the health and wellness of others in a holistic way. This calling eventually led me to Yoga, but Occupational Therapy was what started it all.

I graduated from the University of Hartford with a B.S. in Occupational Therapy in 2002 and received an Advanced Certification in Sensory Integration (SIPT Certification) from the University of Southern California in 2006. My OT career began at a Special Education Collaborative in Massachusetts. Inspired by how much joy and well-being my personal Yoga practice was creating in my life, I started teaching Yoga and mindfulness to children. I was amazed at how receptive the children were and how beneficial the Yoga was. Yoga soon became an integral part of my OT sessions and served as my main intervention strategy during my 12-year career as a school-based OT in Massachusetts and Seattle.

I have significant experience working with children with a variety of diagnoses, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, and Down syndrome.

I believe that children with special needs can have a better quality of life through engagement in yoga and mindfulness practices. I combine my knowledge, expertise and passion of yoga, mindfulness, occupational therapy and sensory Integration to offer the following: 

coaching & Mentorship

  • In-person or online coaching and mentorships for Kids Yoga Teachers, OTs, PTs, SLPs, special educators and parents / caregivers who are interested in bringing Yoga and mindfulness into the lives of children with special needs.

  • Coaching & Mentorship sessions are designed based on what YOU want to learn about!

  • Topics include, but are not limited to:

    • The hidden (and not so hidden) benefits of Yoga for kids with special needs

    • Information about specific diagnoses

    • Behavior management support

    • Sensory Integration 101

    • How Yoga increases motor skills

    • The social communication aspects of Yoga for kids with special needs

    • How to design a classroom Yoga + Mindfulness program

    • How to integrate Yoga into therapy sessions

    • How to choose appropriate, beneficial and FUN Yoga poses, breathing exercises, mindfulness activities and more

    • How to get buy-in from administrators, directors, and parents

    • How to market yourself, your classes or therapy services with this focus and specialized offering

Consultation

  • Location-based (i.e. school, home or community) OT consultations, involving skilled observations, sensory diet development with a Yoga and Mindfulness focus, and implementation guidance

  • Workshops for special educators, parent groups, other therapists and pediatric professionals on topics such as how to add Yoga to a daily schedule, Mindfulness activities for children with special needs, sleep, eating and transitions

  • Speaking engagements on a variety of topics, including Yoga, Mindfulness and Sensory Integration Activities for Children with Special Needs

  • Staff in-services with self-care and practical takeaway components that are easy to implement in everyday life

  • Specially-designed Yoga classes for children with special needs that can include siblings and parents or caregivers

Nicole has been sharing Yoga with our classrooms since 2014, and we are continuously impressed with her ability to connect with our students and staff. Nearly 40% of the children in our classrooms have special needs, and Nicole uses her talent as an instructor, and training as an Occupational Therapist to ensure that every child gets to experience the benefits of Yoga. She has also conducted wonderful training events for our staff and families. Children and staff alike look forward to Tuesday afternoons with Yoga Nicole!
— Laura Kneedler, Northwest Center Kids Senior Director