Tri Star is leading the way with their inclusive practices catering for a range of abilities and has improved the environment/culture of the club through these inclusive practices.

Tri Star Gymnastics, a club commonly recognised for producing elite gymnasts have created a Disability Gymnastics Programme which is dedicated to providing lessons for school aged children with a physical or an intellectual disability. The vision is to remove barriers for children with a disability and to give opportunities to all, regardless of their ability. Through the Disability Gymnastics Programme, an environment has been created in the club where each individual is embraced and celebrated.

Tri Star approached Sport Auckland and shared their vision of an inclusive sport club and how they were going to achieve this.  It was clear that this project would have a positive influence on the culture and the environment at the club.  Sport Auckland was impressed by the vision and long term thinking and provided assistance through partially funding the programme.

As a gymnastics club, their main focus is on physical growth in whatever capacity that means for the individual participant. A further focus of the Disability Gymnastics Programme is on integration. Not only are Tri Star increasing the physical literacy of the child who is involved in the Disability Gymnastics Programme, but they are increasing the physical literacy of all participants, coaches and staff at the club. Adopting such inclusive practices has therefore benefited all whether they are directly or indirectly involved with the programme.

The Disability Gymnastics Programme began in January 2017 and runs in four 10 week blocks throughout the year where the children engage in one session per week. Participants begin in a 1:1 setting before progressing to small groups that are dependent on the needs and abilities of the child, therefore ensuring quality experiences for all involved.

“Tri Star gym is an amazing place where my 15 year old son with Autism feels safe and welcome. The coaches really take care of my son especially Leigh who is working with Mikey. I am pleased to say that your gym is an inviting place for all children, especially children with special needs. As a parent I always felt that this is the right gym for my son. You really take care of each individual child. Leigh, is amazing, friendly, always smiling and has a lot of patience.” Esther Vanaguntla

“We have noticed improvements in balance, coordination and focus. We are so grateful to TriStar and to Leigh for creating an inclusive, welcoming environment where children with disabilities can learn at their own pace.” Debra Bellon

“Archie looks forward to his gymnastics class each week with Leigh at Tri Star. He likes Leigh, likes seeing his friend in the class and enjoys the exercises. It’s a real work out for him at a pace customised to his abilities.” Josephine Tetley-Jones.

“Penny absolutely loves gymnastics- she used to dread gymnastics at school because she couldn’t do a lot of stuff but now she is confident and enthusiastic about it and is so proud to tell me all of the things that she can now do.” Vanessa Page