GymABLE is an inclusive programme targeted at providing gymnastics opportunities for people with disabilities.
This programme is an umbrella brand for all initiatives, activities, and events within Gymnastics Ireland (GI) that seek to include people with disabilities in any capacity within gymnastics, as an athlete/gymnast, coach, judge, volunteer or other.
GymABLE is for anyone with a physical, intellectual and/or sensory need, irrespective of age, gender, or ability. Gymnastics Ireland is committed to providing opportunities for everyone to participate in gymnastics.
Finding a Club
Member clubs will all have their own approach to iInclusion, so while a club may have an inclusion policy and have signed the Sports Inclusion Charter, they may not have a GymABLE programme delivering disability gymnastics classes.
There are a number of ways to find this out
Using our Club Finder tool you can locate a Gymnastics Ireland Member club near where you live
Once you have found a club near to you check their website to see if they are an inclusive club
Contact the club directly to ask if they have their Gymnastics Ireland Club Accreditation (Gold, Silver or Bronze)
You can also check if the club has signed the Active Disability Ireland Sports Inclusion charter here…
If you are unable to find a club or have a question about their GymABLE status get in touch by emailing [email protected]
This very much depends on the needs of the individual. Sometimes disability specific sessions are the best environment for the optimum learning. Other times, immersion into mixed ability sessions are more appropriate, or inclusion into mainstream session.
Please contact your nearest Gymnastics Club and ask about their GymABLE programme for more details.
Gymnastics is one of the world’s most inclusive sports so all genders, young or old, able bodied or disabled can take part as it promotes an active, physical lifestyle and develops key motor skills.
Physical strength, flexibility, agility, coordination and balance are the core components of the sport. However, participation in gymnastics activity also develops confidence, creativity & leadership, not to mention a healthy body and mind.
Yes, Gymnastics Ireland is continuing to develop pathways and programmes for gymnasts of all abilities through our National Events and pathway and working with other NGB’s, which include:
GymSTART Floor and Vault competition
Individual club events
Special Olympics Ireland competitions (dependant on criteria)
GymABLE specific events
Getting Started at your Club
The best place to start is to familiarise the management and club coaches with the Gymnastics Ireland Disability Inclusion Policy.
Identify a GymABLE Club Lead and assign them the role. This role can be anyone in your club. It is vitally important that they a passion about their new role and feel supported by the club, as it is their responsibility to help achieve the clubs’ goals.
Contact Gymnastics Ireland. Let us know who the lead is and how we can contact them
Create a vision for your GymABLE programme. This will be your roadmap for the design and development your clubs new GymABLE programme.
Research. There are many ways to research, from reading articles, watching videos, to connecting with other clubs with a GymABLE programme your Local Sports Partnership (LSP), and other organisation in your community that work with disabilities.
Create an Action Plan. Brainstorm and work with other members of your club, staff, coaches, judges, and parents to create buy-in to your new GymABLE programme. This which will strengthen the success and sustainability of the programme.
Facilities: Start by looking around your gym and make sure:
the space inside and outside is accessible, has easy access for personal equipment like wheelchairs and frames, has quiet spaces for gymnasts who need to step out of the session but don’t have to leave the session, like a sensory area
the toilets and change areas accessible for everyone
the equipment is stored away when not in use
to use signage that is clear distinguishable, with large font and pictures.
Promote your GymABLE programme on all club social media platforms to your members, your LSP and any other disability organisations in your area.
Sign up to become a GymABLE accredited club with Gymnastics Ireland
Sign up to the Active Disability Irleand’s Sport Inclusion Disability Charter
You can also contact GI directly to discuss your options.
Please contact [email protected] to put you in contact with the GI GymABLE Disability Lead.
The GymABLE club accreditation scheme is a registered standard at Gymnastics Ireland.
This scheme has been developed by Gymnastics Ireland using the Active Disability Ireland’s Sport Inclusion Disability Charter as a guiding tool.
It is a three-step pathway designed to support clubs around disability inclusion. These awards are in recognition of all the positive work clubs do for disability gymnastics and will demonstrate to members the club’s commitment to disability gymnastics.
Step 1 - Bronze Award
Step 2 - Silver Award
Step 3 - Gold Award
You can find our more here.
The GymABLE award scheme has been designed along similar lines to the well-established GymSTART award scheme, with a focus on creating a fun and progressive reward-based programme designed to support both gymnasts and coaches.
These awards are a form of physio-fun that encourage children with a physical disability to explore the world of gymnastics, provide opportunities to complete physical challenges, gain core strength and increased mobility while earning awards and celebrating personal achievement.
Clubs are encouraged to use these awards in whatever way suits the club and the gymnasts they are working with.
If you want more information about the Gymnasts Award Scheme, please contact [email protected]
No, your club does not necessarily need any specific, new, or expensive equipment to run a GymABLE programme. Your club may already have everything you need.
However, there are specific gymnastics equipment suppliers who have disability adapted equipment which can be purchased but it is not essential when starting your programme.
No. Coaches do not need a special qualification but it is advised.
Gymnastics Ireland is committed to the continued professional development of all our coaches.
Our coach education programmes provide a comprehensive approach to developing coaches from participation to elite level.
Currently under the GymABLE Educational coaches’ pathway we have the following courses available:
Disability Gymnastics Awareness Module
This is an informative-based Add-On Module focused on disability awareness and will cover the social model of disability, terminology, barriers and solutions, practical advice and examination of key theories and models for inclusion.
GymABLE Workshop - Behaviour Management in the Gym
This 1-hour workshop provides an overview of the types of behaviours seen in a gymnastics club setting and the possible reasons for these. It examines different types of behaviours and offers some tried and tested solutions. The participants are actively engaged in problem solving and discussion is encouraged throughout the session to explore ideas for appropriate behaviour management/changes.
GymABLE Workshop – Down’s Syndrome Workshop
This 1-hour workshop is designed to give coaches more in-depth information on Downs Syndrome and how the learner can apply their new learning into the gymnastics club environment.
GymABLE Workshop - Cerebral Palsy Workshop
This 1-hour workshop is designed to give coaches more in-depth information on Cerebral Palsy and how the learner can apply their new learning into the gym environment.
GymABLE Workshop - Progressive Conditions Workshop
This 1-hour workshop is designed to give coaches an overview of some of the more common progressive conditions to develop a greater understanding of the effects of a degenerating condition on the gymnast both physically and psychologically.
While GI will always promote education and continued professional development, you don’t need to complete all the GymABLE Modules or workshops before starting your GymABLE programme.