For Coaches Resources for coaching gymnasts whom are physically disabled

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Proud Parent
May 7, 2020
Hello. I have been coaching MAG rec classes for a few months now and absolutely love it! This week started our new session of rec kids. Unbeknownst to me or the head coach, two boys that are brothers are also physically disabled. They are in two different classes as they are two different ages. The younger brother does not have any legs or rather, much shorter legs that stop above the knee. He also has one hand not fully formed. We were able to navigate rings, hibar, tumble track and trampoline. Really there wasn’t any issue, just required a much heavier spot of course, especially as one hand doesn’t have a firm grip. But this was just the first day, and I can foresee some skills/drills becoming harder for him. Especially vault.

His brother was in my 2nd class. His brother does have two legs, but unfortunately is missing an arm. The hand he does have, is also not fully formed. He does have some use of it, but can not grip a bar or rings by himself. All he will be able to do that I can think of is pull-ups. And that will not only get boring quicker, but it does require me doing 90% of the lifting. I do not know how he will be able to train in half of the events, especially PBars.

How can I best coach these boys and do right by them? What resources are there for me to study? I know I can help them, they did have a wonderful experience last night and kept hugging me and thanking me. Please keep in mind I have a class of 8, so while my attention may be on the one child, I have 7 others who also require my attention. I also don’t want to limit the majority of the groups training due to the limited ability of one. I know there are special Olympics out there so I am sure this is possible for them. I just need help.

I’d like to add that the parents never mentioned anything at registration to the head coach or myself. I imagine due to fear of not being allowed to participate. Because of that, it is even harder to navigate these waters as the parents haven’t come forth with what these children’s limitations or abilities are. I am figuring out as we go, and that can pose a safety issue as well. Coaches, guidance please. Thank you!