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Thread: Skaters with disabilities

  1. #1
    Rinkside
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    Skaters with disabilities

    Hi, I’m an adult skater in the U.K. and have a visual impairment. The main issue I have is, I have around half the peripheral vision I’m supposed to, which makes certain things interesting!

    I’d be interested to hear people’s experiences at their rinks. Do you have any skaters with disabilities, adaptive programs, etc? I’m part of Inclusive Skating and take part in their events, but otherwise I’m able to participate in all aspects of rink programming - shows, exhibitions etc.

  2. #2
    On the Ice
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicki7 View Post
    Hi, I’m an adult skater in the U.K. and have a visual impairment. The main issue I have is, I have around half the peripheral vision I’m supposed to, which makes certain things interesting!

    I’d be interested to hear people’s experiences at their rinks. Do you have any skaters with disabilities, adaptive programs, etc? I’m part of Inclusive Skating and take part in their events, but otherwise I’m able to participate in all aspects of rink programming - shows, exhibitions etc.
    Hi There,

    Well as if this sport wasn't difficult enough! Actually, just the other day at our rink I saw a skater with a vest on that said "Blind" on it. She was hugging the boards on a busy public session, but she was out there. It was very impressive. I know my daughter's coach has a special needs skater she works with, but I'm not sure what the need is. I can't use the word disabled, because if they can get out there how disabled are they!

    Skate on!

  3. #3
    On the Ice jersey1302's Avatar
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    Since you can see and are not actually blind, you shouldnt have much of an issue, just be careful when you are on crowded rinks where you might not see anyone coming from the side. You're just going to have to get used to having your head on a swivel more than others haha. My bf has no peripheral vision in one eye and has only 30% of his vision in the other entire eye.. so he's kind of in the same situation. He just needs to pay a bit more attention but it really isnt that big of a deal. If you were playing hockey or some sort of contact sport it would be a lot more alarming haha.

  4. #4
    On the Ice
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    There is a blind skater from the Philadelphia, PA area named Stash Serafin. He is amazing.

    I saw him skate in an exhibition sometime in the 1990s. An assistant brought him out to the middle of the ice. He started his routine and basically skated in one big circle, confining his spins and jumps within that circle. Jumps - including an axel!

    Here's a video of him performing and he has improved a lot since I saw him:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2gTyHKIHOk


  5. #5
    Rinkside
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    I used to skate on a public session with a regular who was blind. We took turns skating with him as he did need a companion at all times.

    I also used to skate on freestyles with a girl who was legally blind. She had enough sense of what was going on around her that there were never any collisions and she did spins and double jumps as well!

    My local rink just started an adaptive skating program.

  6. #6
    On the Ice
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    I used to skate on sessions with a woman who wore a prosthesis on one leg. She didn't do advanced skating, but she got around there. Another rink where I skate has a Special Olympics skating program.

    I myself have a vision condition which leads to me having, apparently, depth perception that's different from how other people see, and also what I call "only peripheral vision" in my right eye. So with my right eye, it's like peripheral vision in my left eye, but that's the only sight I have in my right eye, if you know what I mean. But I've had this all my life, so I'm used to it. To me, it's normal; it's just how I see. So I never needed to adapt. I skate a lot. As far as I can tell, my vision doesn't impact my skating, but who am I to say? I'm used to it. What it does impact is my ability to play sports where balls fly toward my face, as when a ball is moving that quickly, I'm not always entirely sure how far away it is from smacking me in the nose, so those, I avoid.

  7. #7
    Rinkside
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    So good to hear these stories! My conditions also impact my depth perception and my balance, so it’s taken me a while to get where I am now.

    Our rink is tiny - fits inside the two blue lines of a standard rink, so busy sessions can be a little scary! However I’m used to my sight, and everyone knows me so it generally doesn’t present any issues.

  8. #8
    Spectator
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    Way different of an issue, but I have an unknown connective tissue disorder and scoliosis (around 30 degree?) and have just started landing doubles. I actually find the ice way easier for me to navigate then walking or running. I know this is probably not very helpful for you, but hey, maybe someone else has a similar situation

  9. #9
    Rinkside
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicki7 View Post
    Hi, I’m an adult skater in the U.K. and have a visual impairment. The main issue I have is, I have around half the peripheral vision I’m supposed to, which makes certain things interesting!

    I’d be interested to hear people’s experiences at their rinks. Do you have any skaters with disabilities, adaptive programs, etc? I’m part of Inclusive Skating and take part in their events, but otherwise I’m able to participate in all aspects of rink programming - shows, exhibitions etc.

    Hi, I am a skater from Nottingham and know somebody who probably has something very similar to you.


    Whilst he struggles to see people who are in his way, he is still making a tonne of progress with double jumps (he’s an adult skater).
    He is competitive at an adult level, and is a beautiful artistic skater.

    This sport is what you make of it. Do it for the fun, and if you can’t do something then don’t worry,
    Thanks,
    Daniel Kaye

  10. #10
    Rinkside
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    Hi Vicki!

    I've never known a rink have a special program for skaters with disabilities/special needs but I think all rinks should have them. I've known several adults with Down's Syndrome who skate, some of whom have been very good indeed, and also a few skaters with visual impairments. One of my old chums (20+ years ago) had little to no peripheral vision, had his specs held on with strong elastic and skated very energetically and to a good level. We all knew to watch out for him, as there was little chance of him seeing us when he was preparing for a double lutz and if we got in the way, it was going to hurt!

    I've also danced with a chap who had a prosthetic arm and know another chap who was partially sighted when I was a teenager and who is now completely blind but still loves ice dancing and skates with his wife several times a week. Skating is for everyone!

    Personally, although I was previously both competitive and then coaching, I had a bit of a bad fall and I am now returning to skating after 18 years off and a rebuilt knee, which has involved a massive operation and completely relearning to walk. As the leg will never be stable and the nerves were all completely severed, I have to think before standing up and attempting to walk (if I don't, I just fall over as my right leg won't work) so relearning to skate is proving entertaining... But I had to try and now I've tried I want to master it again. It's quite terrifyingly slippery, though, and I do worry about the pain involved in falling on my right knee as it has metalwork in it. I also have a much better understanding now of quite how scary adult learners find the process of skating, whereas before I'm not sure I really had quite as much sympathy as I should have had...
    Last edited by WednesdayMarch; 06-12-2019 at 11:25 AM. Reason: Forgetfulness...

  11. #11
    Rinkside
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    Wednesday - I "know" you from the UK forum and think it's great you're getting back into skating

    There's one guest coach at my rink, who knows of my vision stuff, and still likes to get in the way of my program run throughs. Happened twice in one run through last week. My coach is not amused. Other than that, everyone at my rink is great, and Inclusive Skating gives me opportunities to compete, so I'm a happy girl

  12. #12
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    I have miscellaneous and assorted crap-o-vision and some kind of mysterious coordination/muscle problem. I've always been very grateful that I fell hardest for figure skating and not something that requires throwing or kicking or discerning fine details or other such things I'm abysmal at. I don't need to see a person's face clearly to avoid skating into them.

    My (rather small) rink doesn't have an official adaptive skating program, but I'm pretty sure there is a special needs skater or two taking private lessons, and there might be more in the LTS or adult classes. As for me, my not-enough-extra-money-itis interferes with my skating far more than my vision and coordination do.

  13. #13
    Rinkside
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicki7 View Post
    Wednesday - I "know" you from the UK forum and think it's great you're getting back into skating
    You do know me, indeed! I follow your adventures with great enjoyment. I particularly enjoy hearing about your lessons, which sound epic!

  14. #14
    Keeper of the Pull Arabians labgoat's Avatar
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    there was also US and World competitor Eve Chalom, an ice dancer with Matthew Gates see here at the 1997 World Championships

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rb9W058KFVk

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