Did you know active children enjoy more academic success?


   Auburn Gymnastics Center offers children in Auburn, Foresthill, Colfax, Meadow Vista and the surrounding areas opportunities to improve more than just their physical skills. Research supported by USA Gymnastics indicates that the more a child tumbles, climbs, creeps and crawls, the more wired their brain becomes for academic success. Movement is the architect of a child’s brain. The two hemispheres of the brain are desiged to constantly communicate with one another. The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, and vice versa. Bilateral activities, common to the recreational, competitive and special needs programs at Auburn Gymnastics Center, require both sides of the body to work together and separately.

   Coordinated movement patterns learned at gymnastics classes create efficiency in the brain and efficient pathways create better students. For example, bouncing on the trampoline, tumbling down a mat, swinging from the bars–all these activities help wire the brain and integrate the systems of the body that tell us where our bodies are in space. The vestibular system integrates vision, hearing, balance and skin sensations. If children have poor sensory processing skills, they may improve these skills learning gymnastics skills or regulating behavior as expected in gymnastics classes.

  Natalie Otis, owner of Auburn Gymnastics Center, says that each child in their program isn’t just rolling and cartwheeling, each child is working on skills that will help with their overall development in relation to different systems in the body.

“We began a special needs program two years ago that alerted us to these systems and developmental markers and because we became trained to teach and help special needs children - all of our students now benefit from that knowledge,” she said. “We have truly become movement development teachers not just gymnastics coaches.”

  Sensory issues are common underlying factors in ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and developmental delays. When children are involved in movement activities that help organize the sensory system, quite often their symptoms lessen or go away altogether. Otis said her gymnastics center has experienced a dramatic increase in enrollment since she trained her staff to work challenge children in these areas.

“We have a caring and talented group of people who are always striving to help kids learn. We are more well rounded as a facility because we are looking for developmental stages,” she said. “We see magic take place through gymnastics daily and we believe for many excellence begins in our gymnastics center”


Spotting Learning Difficulties

The following list is circulated within the staff at Auburn Gymnastics Center making it easy for the coaching staff to look for signs that can point to possible learning challenges. The staff looks for these signs and finds ways to improve. Parents see the work in gymnastics classes transferring to better experiences out of the gymnastics setting.


1. Social and Organizational Skill Observations
   - Does a child run from equipment to equipment without self-control?
   - Does a child have difficulty following multi-step directions; must
     have directions?
   - Is a child hitting, biting are seem overly aggressive?
2. Sensory Processing
  - Is a student avoiding rotational movement or excessively seeking rotational movement?
   - Is a student avoiding appropriate touch from coaches and other children?
   - Is a student seeking  too much touch; clingy, whiny or hard to please?
   - Does a child walk on toes or use fists during mat work instead of  balls of feet?
   - Is a student excessively seeking or avoiding tactile sensations like chalk on hands?

3. Postural Control
   - Does a gymnast have extreme difficulty with balance skills or beam work?
   - Does a gymnast have difficulty with activities requiring the contraction of stomach and back muscles?
   - Does a gymnast have difficulty with activities requiring tucks and extension?
   - Does a gymnast have weak muscle tone and strength when performing bar work and general skills?
   - Does a gymnast have difficulty with upper- and lower-body integration?

4. Bilateral Integration
   - Is there a difficulty with two sides of the body working as a team or separately?
   - Is there a difficulty with sequencing, learning choreographed routines and timing?
   - Is there a difficulty with skipping and locomotor patterns?
   - Does the gymnast appear clumsy for most tasks?

5. Body Awareness
   - Does the child demonstrate unclear personal boundaries and is often in other children’s space?
   - Does the child get lost in transitions and can’t figure out where to go next?
   - Is the child frequently placed at front or back of line for discipline reasons?
   - Does the gymnast have difficulty mirroring movements?
    -Does the gymnast get easily frustrated and is quick to become angry?


   While most reading readiness programs state goals, such as writing one’s name independently or sounding out simple words, essential physical foundation skills need to be in place for preschool children to be able to keep up with intense academic demands of today’s kindergarten classrooms.


By kindergarten, all children should:
• be able to move eyes separately from head
• track and converge eyes
• have core postural muscles developed
• cross midline and possess bilateral integration
• know dominant hand
• hear individual sounds in words
• maintain a steady beat rhythm
• have an internal sense of balance
• explore their world confidently and imaginatively


  Auburn Gymnastics Center specializes in teaching gymnastics to children of all ages and

abilities and features a special needs gymnastics program that offers scholarships.

Call (530) 823-2031 or go to
www.auburn-gymnastics.com for more information.

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