Ice skating can be both fun and beneficial for individuals with and without disabilities. Skating offers therapeutic benefits and can positively impact social skills, physical strength and balance, and improve mood. The skills learned on the ice can also transcend into other activities, thus improving quality of life.
Ice rinks across the country offer Adaptive Skating programs for skaters of all ages and levels. Find one near you on our Find a Club page.
Under the umbrella term Adaptive Skating, U.S. Figure Skating offers two curricula tailored to individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities: Special Olympics and therapeutic skating.
Skaters with mental disabilities can participate in U.S. Figure Skating’s Special Olympics program, offered through Learn to Skate USA. With a curriculum designed with these individuals in mind, the Special Olympics program gives skaters the chance to learn skills in a progressive order and challenge themselves both mentally and physically.
Special Olympics also offers competitive opportunities for its athletes. Skaters can compete in skills, singles, pairs, ice dance and synchronized skating events at Special Olympics competitions.
Learn to Skate USA offers a therapeutic skating curriculum designed for skaters with physical disabilities. Skating can help individuals develop better posture, muscle strength and more, and the therapeutic skating curriculum encourages skaters to continue in the sport for physical recreation and activity while taking limitations into consideration.
Elaine Theisen Fund
Established in 2012, the Elaine Theisen Diamond Fund for Special Olympics and Therapeutic Skating provides grants to Special Olympics/Therapeutic Skating programs or to member clubs who wish to enhance their operations to attract, involve and encourage new generations of skaters.