Gymnastics for Children with Special Needs
On October 1, the Tulsa World of Gymnastics (TWOG) in Tulsa will celebrate 35 years of promoting and developing children’s fitness with a day of games, jumping, climbing, swinging and drawings for free birthday parties and free gymnastics for a year.
“We’ll have strolling magicians, face painting, the TWOG Frog mascot and loads of other activities,” Owner Linda Bradshaw said. Over the last 35 years, there have been thousands of Tulsa area children who have passed through our gym program.
Besides developing world-class gymnasts, TWOG is involved in community events, including those supporting children with special needs. The gym participated in sending staff members to the “Over the Edge” fundraiser. TWOG was the top fundraiser in the state. The gym also participates in the Special Olympics World Games and sponsored athletes to the World Games in Beijing, China.
“Currently, we have a boys’ autistic program and always do inclusion with special-needs children when possible,” Bradshaw said. “We’ve also had an adults program for 15 years. Some of these adults began with us when they were only 15 years old!”
Tulsa World of Gymnastics also provides opportunities for young children with special needs to grow their strength, balance, and coordination. Activities and specific types of movement include the back and forth movement in swinging, the rotational movement as in twisting, and the up and over movement used for rolling.
“These activities are directly connected to the brain stimulation made through the activation of an important system that lies deep within the inner ear,” Bradshaw said, “the vestibular system. It is the Olympic gold winner when it comes to brain development.”
Bradshaw said that children suffering from cognitive disabilities are most likely going to suffer from physical impairments as well. These children have substantial problems with motor skills in areas such as hopping, skipping, and jumping. Involvement in gymnastics can help develop fundamental motor and physical fitness skills.
“Combine special activities with mats and equipment geared for little ones who want to be on the move,” she said, “and you’ve got a happy child who is having fun. That physical education programs can considerably improve the lifestyle of a child with developmental disabilities.”
TWOG has preschool classes, developmental beginner, Special Needs/Special Kids, exhibition groups, competitive team program, and a Parent’s Fitness Center (no charge). Birthday parties available. Daily Open House. Call 918.664.8683 or visit wwwtulsagymnastics.com.