• Click here to download a customizable Special Needs flyer for your gym! (Word doc)
Testimonials

"Special Needs is a wonderful benefit for our gym. Not only is gymnastics great for kids but when a child with special needs does gymnastics, you can multiply the benefits by 100! By using gymnastics to benefit children with special needs it helps in many areas besides what is common knowledge. Gymnastics also helps with their speech by working their core, their confidence, self-esteem, etc.

"We have a student with Downs Syndrome who was taking gymnastics classes at our gym. We started a Special Olympics program in our gym. After her first meet and winning gold all around, I asked her mother what daughter said about winning. Her mother said that her daughter didn't really say anything. It was foreign to her. She had never won anything. She was always the one trying to keep up. The subject of winning was never discussed. Today, she loves to talk about winning gold. She will decline to jump on the trampoline if it means more time to work on the bars.

"We have had children come into our gym who can't run, jump, walk on a beam, hang on a bar, even after years of therapy. We start working on those things in the gym and they become a different child. Within a short time they are hanging and swinging on the bars, walking down the high beam and jumping down by themselves, running laps around the floor, talking more and clearer, dressing themselves and even initiate conversation!

"Having people with special needs in our gym also benefits all those that are working with them. We have our team girls that volunteer and want to make sure that they are on the schedule to work with the classes for special needs. What type of people are those team girls going to grow up to be? It is really a great benefit for those that want to work with special needs in the gymnastics community."
April Sawyer, Showcase Gymnastics, Katy, Texas

Click here to read more testimonials from coaches across the country.


Mentor Clubs

Click here to view a list of all USA Gymnastics Mentor Clubs featured in the ‘How to Start a Special Needs Program’ guide.

Mentor Clubs serve as advisors to all clubs wanting to learn more about helping gymnasts with special needs or how to start a program. Please feel free to call or email the contact individual listed for each club.

A Special Day for Special Kids – an event hosted by the Gymnastics Training Center of Rochester (Mentor Club)


Opportunities for performance or competition for gymnasts with special needs
  • Click here to visit the Gymnastics for All webpage and learn more about HUGS
  • USA Gymnastics for All – Gymfest & TeamGym: Group Gymnastics -- known officially by the FIG as Gymnastics for All -- is one of the eight gymnastics sport disciplines officially recognized by gymnastic organizations worldwide. This diverse sport program, while being the largest with regards to gymnastics membership, provides opportunities and activities for all ages and levels of abilities. General Gymnastic activities contribute to the development of general sport skills, fitness, health, important movement patterns and daily life skills.
    Gymnastics for All offers two divisions for gymnasts with special needs. See the GFA Rules and Polices (section 2.05) for more information.
  • Festival Rhythmic Program - Offers two divisions for gymnasts with special needs. View the Festival Rhythmic Program Regulations (page 7) Level SA (Special Athletes with Disabilities) and Level SU (Special Athletes with disabilities and their typical partners).
  • Click here for the latest news on Special Olympics Team USA
  • Special Olympics: Opportunities to compete or volunteer

  • USA Gymnastics Special Olympics Championships


Rice University Engineering Students Make a Difference


Rice University students create balancing device for Special Olympian


Benefits of Gymnastics for Children with Special Needs