Doing physical activity results in multiple physical, psychological and social benefits, moreover, in the disabled it boosts their personal autonomy and social inclusion.
78 cerebral palsy and intellectually disabled students have taken part in the GaituzSport Stable Classes and Swimming which offer an educational, recreational, sport and therapeutic proposal.
The disabled need a socializing environment, and leisure is important in their personal development.
GaituzSport is a Social Innovation Project promoted by the Basque Adapted Sports Federation, i.e. a networking platform generating Community. Our priority target is to build an inclusive diversity friendly society via Physical Activity and Sports, facilitating access to the disabled to practise sport in equal conditions.
So, how do we go about it? By accompanying, training, creating awareness and researching to develop creative innovative methodologies which enable everyone to take part with an inclusive perspective at all times.
‘STABLE CLASSES & SWIMMING’ Programme
In the education environment via Kirolene, the Basque Government’s Sports Education Centre, we are developing an inclusive PE programme for disabled students, driven by the Education Department through the Educational Innovation Directorate in collaboration with Berritzegune Nagusia, as well as the Stable Classes & Swimming Programme.
This programme arose from the need to respond to the demands from disabled students, i.e. Stable Classes where they could take part in physical activity classes in the same conditions as their peers.
Doing physical activity results in multiple benefits for everyone, i.e. physical, psychological and social. It is even more important for the disabled collective to prevent sedentarism and health problems since lack of mobility can lead to obesity and associated chronic illnesses. From a psychological viewpoint, physical activity improves your self-esteem and personal esteem, further it is a critical inclusion factor.
Swimming is one of the most complete sports, because it uses all the muscle groups. For children and teenagers this exercise is basically aerobic and done regularly results in active enjoyment of leisure besides reducing the risk factors of illnesses. The water medium is the most complete and stimulating physical space for developing neurological, physical and psychological skills.
Programme Execution & Benefits
The GaituzSport Stable Classes & Swimming programme was run in the swimming pools of Gorostize Sports Centre in Barakaldo and Miribilla Sports Centre in Bilbao.
- 10 intellectually disabled students from Basurko and Trueba Schools took part in the Stable Classes & Swimming programme at Gorostiza Sports Centre.
- 4 cerebral palsy and intellectually disabled students attending the Stable Classes at García Rivero Centre in Bilbao took part in the sessions at Miribilla Sports.
Taking part in the Stable Classroom and aquatic activity programme from June 2019 to June 2020 are:
- 36 students from schools in Bilbao: CEIP Gallego Gorria
HLHI, CEIP Garcia Rivero HLHI, IES Ignacio Ellacuría-Zurbaran BHI, CEIP Luis Briñas HLHI, Colegio Ángeles Custodios Ikastetxea, IES Gabriel Aresti BHI, CEIP Artatse HLHI and IES Artabe BHI with intellectual and/or physical disABILITY and ASD are taking part in the Miribilla, Atxuri and Rekalde Sports Centres.
- 14 students from schools in Barakaldo: IES Gurutzeta BHI,
IES Antonio Trueba BHI, Ibaibe Herri Ikastetxea and IES Beurko BHI with intellectual and/or physical disABILITY and ASD are taking part in the Gorostiza Sports Centre.
The main benefits these students have obtained from swimming are improvement in their: health, integration and relationship with their environment. Specifically:
- Communication and socialization: Favouring interaction with others and enriching their world with the new sensations and situations.
- Personal autonomy in the changing-room and society: Walking to the municipal sports centre or via public transport. Correct use of the installations, orientation, correct use of changing-rooms, undressing and getting dressed, and showering, etc., are worked on and encouraged.
- Personal autonomy related to water: The more work done in the new medium, the more self-confidence in their own actions and control of the environment generally improves progressively.
- Boosting and developing physical skills (the lack of gravity favouring muscle relaxation, co-ordination of ventilation mechanics and increase in physical capacity, handling the evolution of orthopaedic alterations since the water medium favours the best alignment).
- Education: Learn and improve basic physical skills in the water medium, which contributes significatively to physical education.
- Recreation: A disabled person requires a socializing environment and leisure is important in his/her personal development.
Methodology & Aims
The project offers an educational, recreational, sports and therapeutic offer for young people between 12 and 16 attending stable classes. 6 GaituzSport technical professionals carried out the programme: a co-ordinator, 3 instructors specialized in sport, disability and inclusion; and 3 auxiliaries.
Targets are personalised in the technical professionals’ initial assessment of each programme participant. During the sessions, exercises and targets are adjusted to main needs and conditions of each student. Intervention is individualised to enable efficient compliance with the targets. Worthy of mention are:
- – Fostering a favourable attitude towards doing water activities giving their benefits for physical, psychical and socio-affective health.
- – Improving breathing capacity and muscle tone enabling the student a greater independence.
- – Creating healthy habits against sedentarism and obesity.
- – Working on postural exercises in the water which favour users’ postural hygiene in and out of the water.
- – Propitiating leisure and personal autonomy since the person is free from any apparatus in the water.
- – Boosting self-knowledge, his/her limitations and experiment their potentials which can boost self-esteem and help to progressively overcome some barriers, fears and anxiety.
- – Fostering social relations of the collective outside the classroom.
- – Fostering values like respect, companionship, hygiene and order.
The final assessment of this Stable Classes & Swimming programme has been positive given the results obtained. The students participating, their families and education centres have expressed their satisfaction guaranteeing its continuity. GaituzSport professionals have seen from the individual assessments that physical activities, in particular swimming help improve quality of life and personal autonomy of the disabled.
At GaituzSport we shall continue to implement this physical activity educational programme and driving others which enable everybody to do physical activity and sport, always with a view to inclusion. This is our reason for being, networking and generating Community together to obtain an inclusive fairer and more equal society.