Children with special needs navigate the world around them differently than their peers. In their schooling, friendships, and daily lives, they face physical and mental challenges that can keep them from enjoying the freedom of childhood.

This makes activities like gymnastics important to help them challenge themselves and build confidence. 

A child with Cerebral Palsy may have trouble with fine and gross motor movements. Children on the Autism spectrum might struggle with group settings and following routines.

Whether your child is struggling with a rare disease or a disability, practicing gymnastics can help them in various ways. 

“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,” says April Sawyer of Showcase Gymnastics in Texas. “We start working on these things in the gym and they become a different child.”

Gymnastics can help children with disabilities participate in activities with their peers, gain confidence, and strengthen their bodies while having fun.

At Mountain Kids, we believe that every child deserves to grow and learn.

We have 2 adaptive dance classes for kids 3.5-6 years old and for 7+. We also work with local organizations like Imagine! to provide sample classes of gymnastics, Ninja Zone, and dance to adults and children in our community.

So, what are the benefits of gymnastics for disabled children?

1. Accomplishing New Goals

When sports and activities programming is only designed for neurotypical children, it does a great disservice to disabled children. All children can benefit from specialized learning and individualized programs.  

Gymnastics is all about mastering goals. And when a child accomplishes a new goal, they build confidence and self-esteem

coach of a child with Downs Syndrome explains what a difference this makes: “She was always the one trying to keep up. The subject of winning was never discussed. Today, she loves to talk about winning gold.”

Whether it’s a Special Olympics program at the gym or adaptive exercises that challenge kids and provide opportunities for success, your child can benefit from gymnastics stretching, movement, and the opportunity to socialize and have fun.

2. Building Muscles 

Gymnastics allows children of different abilities to build strength and coordination.  

Our instructors are dedicated to helping your child grow and thrive at our gym. Our adaptive classes are taught by a registered dance/movement therapist and focus on body and mind integration and the development of both dance skills and life skills through movement.  

No prior experience is needed and there are no specific dress or shoe requirements. All abilities are welcome — differences in movement and ability are celebrated and creativity shared! 

We are expanding our adaptive gym, so whether they’re swinging from a beam or jumping on a trampoline, they’ll get a good workout and always be supervised and safe.  

Consider it an extra form of physical therapy.  Your child will work on developing fine and gross motor skills with small movements. Depending on the kind of disability your child has and the program they’re in, repetitive movements may also help them develop physical skills as well.  

Learn more about our gymnastics and Ninja Zone classes for all kids > 

3. They Learn Structure and Routine 

All children need structure to succeed, and kids with disabilities need even more. That might mean more time to complete tasks, additional equipment or aids, or simply breaking down large tasks into smaller parts.  

This isn’t always easy to navigate as a family, in school systems, or in programs to keep your kids active and healthy.  

Gymnastics at Mountain Kids is always a safe place for kids to explore and learn needed routines to prepare them for school and life. Our instructors employ positive reinforcement while challenging your child to work together in groups and independently on their own.  

We understand that physical movement can be scary for some kids, which is also why our instructors are patient with kids with all kinds of abilities. This is especially important for kids going into Preschool for the first time who need to learn social skills in a classroom. 

Read our guide to helping your Preschooler thrive this year with gymnastics > 

4. They Interact with Peers 

Studies have shown that children with disabilities are more restricted in participation in typical school activities like sharing ideas in front of the class. This can lead to a lack of confidence as kids may worry about getting things right in front of their peers and classmates.  

At Mountain Kids, we help every child grow their confidence so that they can interact and engage with other kids and adults in their lives. This includes helping them manage their emotions, behaviors, and listening to their bodies.  

We help children with disabilities acclimate to our gym setting and allow them to learn at their own pace, while also helping them engage with larger groups of peers.  

We combine physical activities with cognitive learning, problem-solving, and socialization so that every child can follow instructions and stay safe while in the gym.  

5. They’re Challenged 

Mountain Kids is always a safe place for kids to explore their limits.  

We provide helpful accommodations in adaptive classes while encouraging each child to do their best. This allows them to challenge themselves and discover new talents and confidence when doing difficult tasks.  

“Anything you’re doing for a kid who has a special need also benefits a neuro-typical child,” says Beth Gardner of the Inclusive Gymnastics Program. “We all need the same movement.”   

This provides another avenue for disabled children to thrive that they might not have in school or medical settings.  

Enroll Your Child in Inclusive Gymnastics Programs Today 

All children deserve to be included in incredible programs that help them grow and thrive. We love working with children of all abilities to challenge themselves and grow through movement and play.  

Through our adaptive dance classes and equipment, we have many ways to adapt to the needs of your child.  

Give yourself an hour and let us work with your child to develop motor skills, confidence, and more at any of our gymnastics classes!

Check out our entire program of gymnastics, dance, and more for kids > 

Mountain Kids will be closed July 4-July 6. All Classes Resume on July 8th.