About Disability Gymnastics
Disability Gymnastics involves the coach adapting gymnastics skills to ensure that disabled people can fully access gymnastics and are enabled to take part at the level of their choice.
Historically people with a learning disability had access to gymnastics through the Special Olympics movement. However in the UK, there was no similar provision for those with physical or sensory disabilities.
As a result, British Gymnastics has established Disability Gymnastics, to develop and provide training and competitive opportunities for all disabled people. Disability Gymnastics is 'Pan-Disability', (in other words; it means that it is accessible to people with any impairment). The Disability Gymnastics competitive structure is growing fast and at the pinnacle of this structure, National Disability Gymnastics Squads are also now in place for Men's, Women's, Trampoline and Rhythmic Gymnastics.
In order to provide appropriate levels of training and competition for disabled people, a National Development Plan and Voluntary Competition structure was introduced in Men's and Women's Artistic, Acrobatics, Trampoline and Rhythmic Gymnastics. This structure follows the prescribed discipline format, albeit with appropriate modifications. Our vision is for Disability Gymnastics to be integrated in to every mainstream competition where appropriate, from grassroots club competitions right through to British Championships.
Work has also been undertaken to allow for those gymnasts who aspire to compete internationally. As British Gymnastics has been and still is leading the world in the development of Disability Gymnastics, it was decided to host the first International Disability Gymnastics Competition in Belfast in 2000. This was combined with a symposium and workshop, sharing the good practice here in the UK. A second International was held again in Belfast, in 2003.
All disciplines of the sport have a role in the promotion and inclusion of disabled people. Whether accommodated within mainstream clubs or in specialised/dedicated disability centres or sessions, it is every coach's responsibility to provide appropriate training for individuals of all abilities.
To this end, British Gymnastics has developed a Disability Gymnastics Coaching Module and this is made open and available to coaches of all disciplines. With more than 1,000 British Gymnastics coaches having completed this module and numbers still rising; gymnastics is fast becoming more and more accessible to disabled people in a growing number of clubs all over the UK.
If you would like to find gymnastics opportunities for disabled people in a club near you, please click here