Rhythmic Gymnastics as a Way to Improve Coordinating Abilities of Hearing-Impaired Children



T.V. Abyzova, Ph.D.
A.A. Akatova, Dr.Med.
A.N. Legotkin, Ph.D.
Perm state humanitarian-pedagogical university, Perm

Key words: coordination abilities, hearing impairment, hearing-impaired children, rhythmic gymnastics, disabilities.

Relevance. People with different disabilities can be found in all countries of the world and in every social group. Their number in the world keeps growing significantly. In accordance with the statistics of the World Health Organization concerning the industrialized countries, the number of children under 16 years old suffering from hearing impairment of different etiologies exceeds 600 thousand in Russia and is growing steadily. The quality of life of hearing-impaired children is deteriorating. They cannot communicate with others which inhibits the further full development of their central nervous system [2, 4, 6].

One of the key problems of the physical development of children with sensory impairments compared with healthy children is the reduced development of coordination abilities (CA), and it is especially evident at the secondary school age. Coordination improvement is aimed at preparing children with hearing impairment for increasingly complex conditions of modern production and the high pace of life [1, 2, 4]. Solving this issue has national significance and requires an integrated scientific approach, finding effective means, forms and methods of organizing life of children with health deviations, including the system of specialized educational institutions [1, 4, 6]. Currently, specialized (correctional) schools use traditional programs and methods that do not pay enough attention to the development of CA, making this research direction relevant. However, methods of physical development including those of CA development of hearing-impaired children, require further working on. Taking into account the unquestionable positive effect of individual elements of different sports and types of physical exercises, methods of influencing physical development of a child, we studied elements of rhythmic gymnastics to develop a set of physical exercises aimed at developing CA of hearing-impaired children [3-6].

The purpose of the research was scientific substantiation of the effectiveness of the influence of the exercise set on the basis of elements of rhythmic gymnastics on CA of hearing-impaired children at correctional school of type II.

Materials and methods. The study was conducted at a specialized (correctional) secondary school of type II in Perm. Hearing-impaired children of 10-11 years old (n=22) took part in the study; there were 10 boys and 12 girls.

During the research, the pupils were divided into two representative groups. Sets of exercises based on elements of rhythmic gymnastics were used in the 1st (main) group (n=11). Parents of the research participants signed an informed voluntary consent to participate.

Pupils of the 2nd (control) group (n=11) followed official PE curriculum.

The study lasted 12 months. 

To achieve the set goal the following tasks were sequentially completed:

1) CA assessment of hearing-impaired children;

2) development of a set of exercises based on elements of rhythmic gymnastics to be included into the physical training process;

3) assessment of the impact of the designed set of exercises onto coordination abilities of hearing-impaired children.

In the course of the research methods of studying CA were used (in accordance with [3]). During the experiment all the children were assessed in terms of: absolute figures of CA development in cyclic locomotions (shuttle run - 3х10 m) and acrobatic exercises (three forward rolls); kinaesthetic differentiation abilities (test “Throwing a ball at a target with one’s back to it”); orientation in space; dynamic and static equilibrium. The results were processed using mathematical statistics methods.

When designing the set of exercises with elements of rhythmic gymnastics their correctional orientation was considered: their influence on the ability to keep static and dynamic equilibrium; differentiation ability; orientation ability; ability to respond; development of eye estimation and coordination precision. Basing on the above rhythmic gymnastics exercises were selected that also meet safety requirements, are easy to explain in the course of learning and easy to do.

The designed set consisted of two exercises of each coordination type with a ball and a ribbon that alternated. The set of exercises lasted 7 minutes and was done 3 times a week during the school year (9 months).

It was also taken into account that the exercises designed to be included in the warm-up part of the class can create additional opportunities for physical development of a child.

The set of exercises passed an expert assessment of its validity in terms of the content and constructiveness that confirmed the possibility of its practical application.

Research results and their discussion. While studying CA of hearing-impaired children (n=22) the following was found:

  • 1.8% (n=18) of children have unsatisfactorily developed ability to keep dynamic and static equilibrium (5.33±1.23 s);
  • 68.2% (n=15) of children have absolute figures of CA development in cyclic locomotions (shuttle run - 3х10 m) that correspond to a low level (10.74±0.36 s);
  • 54.5% (n=12) of pupils have a low level (7.74±0.66 s) of CA in acrobatic exercises (three forward rolls), 18.2% (n=4) have a level below average (5.43±0.06 s), 9% (n=2) have an average level (7.74±0.15 s), and 4.5% (n=1) have a level above average (4.31±0.06 s).

54.5% of the subjects got the lowest score when tested for the kinaesthetic differentiation abilities (2.40±0.34).

Assessment of orientation in space showed that 41% (n=9) have results consistent with the indicators satisfactory (12.43±0.18 s) and sufficiently (13.05±0.0 s), 27.3% (n=6) of children – those of good (11.01±0.11 s), 32% (n=7) have results consistent with the indicator excellent (8.86±1.03 s).

The research results showed no statistically significant differences between boys and girls.

The received results indicate a significant reduction of coordination abilities of more than a half of the studied hearing-impaired children and serve as a basis for carrying out activities to improve their physical development level.

At the end of the experiment it was found that in the main group of pupils the number of children who had previously had unsatisfactory level of keeping static and dynamic equilibrium decreased from 81.8% (n=9) to 54.5% (n=6), while the corresponding figures in the control group remained virtually unchanged (5.26±0.82 s) and were observed with 73% of children.

However, a positive tendency of increasing the level of coordination development in cyclic locomotions (shuttle run - 3х10 m) and acrobatic exercises (three forward rolls) was seen in the first studied group, resulting in the following. 

Shuttle run - 3х10 m. The number of persons with low results decreased by more than 1.5 times: from 64% (n=7) to 36% (n=4). The number of persons with average results increased by more than 1.5 times: from 36% (n=4) to 64% (n=7). At the same time performance indicators in the control group of pupils became worse, namely, the number of persons with low results increased from 54.5% (n=6) to 72.3% (n=8), and only one child showed improvement from the low level to the average level, that being statistically insignificant.

Three forward rolls. The number of persons with a low level of this indicator decreased from 54.5% (n=6) to 18.2% (n=3), and the number of persons with the average and below average levels did not change: 27.3% (n=3) and 36.4% (n=4) respectively; the high level was registered for the first time with one of the pupils (9%). No changes of this indicator were observed in the control group.

Statistically significant improvement of results was noted in kinaesthetic differentiation ability and orientation in space ability, which resulted in improvement of the average group results from 4.0±0.20 points (satisfactory level) to 7.20±0.50 points (good level) and from 12.30±0.13 s (satisfactory level) to 11.38±0.16 s (good level) respectively (p<0.05).

Hence, the study confirmed our hypothesis that the application of the set of exercises based on the elements of rhythmic gymnastics at physical education classes helps to improve CA of hearing-impaired children. However, the findings extend the existing ideas about the possibility of the corrective effect on the level of physical development of hearing-impaired children and suggest the possibility of their widespread use at physical education classes in correctional educational institutions and at home.


1. It was found that the majority of hearing-impaired children of the secondary school age have significantly reduced CA. Most significantly reduced abilities are that of keeping dynamic and static equilibrium (81.8% of children), correctional ability in cyclic locomotions (68% of children); half of the children need correction of their kinaesthetic differentiation ability in acrobatic exercises, 41% of children have insufficiently developed orientation ability.

2. The set of exercises with elements or rhythmic gymnastics is not time consuming, is easy to explain and to understand, easy to perform and is positively perceived by boys and girls.

3. The set of exercises based on the elements of rhythmic gymnastics, designed and used in PE lessons can improve CA of 76% of hearing-impaired children.


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Corresponding author: vilat57@mail.ru