Adaptive rock climbing is a kind of sport and active recreation for people with disabilities, which consists in climbing on natural (rocks) or artificial (climbing wall) terrain.
Adaptive rock climbing is aimed at people with disabilities. This is not only a sport, but also a method of rehabilitation, not only physical activity, where all muscle groups work, but also a test for coordination of movements and logical thinking. Another plus is that most people with disabilities belonging to different nosological groups have no contraindications to it. Adults and children who do not have hearing and vision, with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy and arthritis, with spinal injuries and muscular dystonia can engage in adaptive climbing.
— From the first moment of life, the child is in a gravitational relation to the surrounding space. His or her vestibular apparatus develops in the womb and at the time of birth, constant vestibular impulses help them form healthy structures of the brain and body. The entire internal environment of the body: muscles, bones, etc. continuously generate proprioceptive sensations that serve as meaningful information for the brain. The brain is guided by them in the same way as by other signals from the senses. All this is critically important for the work of the child’s brain and success in mastering the world, – says the head of the psychological and pedagogical service of the school “Insight”, methodical director of the Center for Early Development “Impulse” Elizaveta Makeeva.
— With developmental disorders, these functions often suffer, which means that his adaptive abilities are also disrupted, which leads to a decrease in the ability to master this world, to rejoice from vestibular and proprioceptive sensations, to coordinate his body parts relative to each other and boundaries in the surrounding world, to be agile and successful. Therefore, numerous courses on adaptive, therapeutic physical education and sensory integration necessarily include a block aimed at the development of vestibular imbalance and coordination in various motor activities,” continues Elizaveta Makeeva.
— One of the successful options is adaptive rock climbing. Perhaps there, as nowhere else, it is possible to use the entire three-dimensionality of space. In a suspended position, the child experiences a lot of new sensations, feels his body parts and spaces around in a new way, each task involves the direction of movement, muscle mobilization and good coordination training. Climbing, from the point of view of biomechanics, is the most voluminous activity. As a result of this motor experience, under the supervision and with the support of experienced professionals, the child becomes more collected, focused, trains strength and agility, begins to feel his or her body better, feels a sense of renewal, relieves tension, calms down. Children get the joy that the body listens to them better, they become more successful and they transfer this competence to other spheres of life, explains Elizaveta Makeeva.
For children with a weak tone, a climbing wall is an interesting and exciting way to train their strength. For children prone to hyperactivity, it is a way to organize activity and work out a healthy vestibular-motor function.
— My daughter Adeline has been climbing for several months, and I am very pleased with the results she has achieved. Every morning she gets up and asks, “Will there be classes at the climbing wall today?” Very happy when they really are on this day! The child gets a lot of pleasure from participating, has already taken 3rd place in the adaptive climbing tournament. Adeline is becoming more confident in her abilities and acquiring new skills. In addition, I want to note the special attention to the safety and comfort of students, and this gives us, parents, great peace. I am sure that my child is in safe hands and receives the best education,” says Elina, Adeline’s mother.
The children themselves really like to climb, after a little warm-up they literally stick to the wall. How it all happens: putting on safety gear, snapping the carbine, the guys begin to climb. There are 5 “paths” on the wall with different locations of ledges, there are easier ways, and there are also paths at an angle. Having reached the very top, you need to touch the ceiling and then calmly descend. But as soon as their feet touch the floor, the guys immediately climb back and climb another “path”. All this action takes place under the strict control of the coach, Marat Tuganbayev.
— It’s also a great mind workout. It would seem that what does this have to do with it? But before climbing to the top, you need to accurately calculate the path – what to grab, where to put your foot. After all, if the trajectory is drawn up correctly, then it will be possible to climb among the first. The ability to analyze, to think a few steps ahead is an important skill,” notes the coach of the adaptive climbing section, Marat Tuganbayev.
— Load on all types of muscles. Fine and large motor skills are being worked out, the tenacity of the hands improves, tension is removed from the joints, their mobility increases. Children’s climbing provides good stretching for tendons and muscle fibers, – says Marat Tuganbayev.
— Climbing for children with disabilities brings great benefits. First of all, the child gets a good sensory integration, vestibular load, the child becomes bolder, stronger and more confident after a couple of weeks. For example, a child with ASD dropped a few extra pounds, reduced stims, became more socialized. Undesirable behavior has also changed for the better, since the child is focused on his actions at the climbing wall. It is also important to note that children develop coordination, a sense of balance and a vestibular apparatus. Without this, it will simply not work to climb up a steep surface. Climbing is not only a way of physical development, it allows you to gain self-confidence in your abilities, teaches you to fight the fear of heights and stress, to find new ways to conquer the peaks, – Marat Tuganbayev advances a thought.
— After a certain time, according to my observations, I noticed the following: children became physically stronger, self-confidence appeared, they stopped being afraid of heights, coordination of movements improved, some children became slimmer. Also, many children really like climbing,” Marat Tuganbayev concludes.
Thus, in the system of comprehensive rehabilitation and development of children with disabilities, the use of adaptive climbing is an innovative method. It has many features, it has its own specifics, which gives it certain advantages over other types of adaptive sports. It is certain physical exercises that contribute to the development of functional systems of the body, increase the overall level of health, immunity, adaptability, stimulate mental activity. For children with special needs, this is a step towards rehabilitation and expanding contacts with the outside world.