There are countless benefits associated with gymnastics for all children, including those with different needs and learning abilities.
Some are apparent and obvious, such as improved strength and coordination, while others aren’t immediately realized, such as improved breathing patterns leading to decreased fight/flight response resulting from increased core strengthening.
Increased Overall Strength
Improved Motor Planning
Improved Self Regulation
Ability to practice social skills
Here are a few resources outlining various successes from gymnastics as recreation and as therapy.
Moving Therapy to the Gym: The Benefits of Gymnastics for Children with Autism - “Gymnastics gives children with ASD an opportunity to experience the joys of success through their individual achievements, or from the success of their teammates. Moving therapy to the gym could provide immeasurable opportunities for children with ASD, and promote generalization of learned skills to his/her natural environment.”
Promoting the Participation of Children With Disabilities in Sports, Recreation, and Physical Activities - From the American Academy of Pediatrics. “All children benefit from physical activity, and children with disabilities are no exception. Participation of children with disabilities in sports and physical activity programs promotes physical, emotional, and social well-being.”
Gymnastics for Children with Special Needs - We Are Needed and We Can Change Lives - From USA Gymnastics. “Gymnastics is a valuable organic source of physical activity that appears to nourish the brain with sensory input. Gymnastics seems to also contribute to sensory integration. Through gymnastics, all children get to experience the benefit of moving their bodies; climbing, reaching, grasping, even falling. As described in this article, the gymnastics environment can be used to construct a therapeutic playground, assisting some special needs children to become motivated and organized.”