Special Olympics/Therapeutic Skating

The current emphasis on the importance of physical fitness has focused attention on healthful exercise for everyone, including those with permanent physical, developmental or intellectual disabilities. Medical, sports professionals and skaters have suggested that supervised ice skating is a beneficial physical activity for providing healthy exercise and enjoyment for people with many different needs.

Because skating requires an erect posture and a certain measure of control, participation in the sport has been found to contribute to better breathing, improved circulation and balance, better posture and overall strength. Skaters with permanent physical, developmental or intellectual disabilities tend to become more outgoing as they overcome their restrictions through pleasant recreation. Skating provided opportunities to meet new friends with a common interest and to identify with a group. The participants have fun as they develop greater confidence and self-esteem. The skills that a challenged skater develops may open new doors in other spheres of life, providing opportunities for greater success in life.

Watch the video below of B.L. Wylie, the Parents Committee's vice chair for Basic Skills, explaining what parents can do to ensure their child has the best experience possible in the Therapeutic Skating Program.

Benefits of Skating
  • Fitness-cardiovascular conditioning
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Flexibility
  • Socialization
  • Self-esteem

Since ice skating is an individual sport, skaters can progress at their own rate according to their ability. Skating is also a safe sport relative to many others. Finally, skating can be a life-long activity, done individually or with family and friends.

Volunteers with programs for the mentally or physically challenged receive satisfaction from helping a challenged and possibly insecure person develop new abilities and improved self-esteem.

Try skating ... it does a body good!

Elaine Theisen Fund

The Elaine Theisen Diamond Ice FSC Fund for Special Olympics and Therapeutic Skating (Elaine Theisen Fund) was established in 2012 to provide grants to Special Olympics/Therapeutic Skating programs or to member clubs who wish to enhance or expand their operations to attract, involve and encourage new generations of skaters.

One grant will be awarded annually to an existing Special Olympics/Therapeutic Skating program within a U.S. Figure Skating member club or to an U.S. Figure Skating member club who wishes to develop a new Special Olympics/Therapeutic Skating program. The selected club or program will most effectively demonstrate how the grant will be used to expand upon or improve opportunities for Special Olympics and Therapeutic Skating participants.

The 2016 Elaine Theisen Fund grant cycle opens on May 1, 2015. Applications are due Monday, August 31, 2015.

Click here for more information and to apply.

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics Competitions
Special Olympics Tests
  • Special Olympics Test forms and links will be posted soon

Related Links

For more information, go to the Special Olympics Committee site.

Click on the image below for more information about the Skate Coach App Series for Special Olympics: