Skaters self-refer into Inclusive Skating. Classification provides information on needs and challenges and compensation to be added to the skating score.
Skaters self-refer and everyone is welcome. There is no entry test. Classification is a process that usually takes 2 years and takes place over several events. Inclusive Skating uses a functional model of classification. We watch the Inclusive skater during competition and practice. Usually skaters will meet or have a discussion with at least one of the classifiers at a Classification meeting.
During Classification skaters give classifiers information on their needs and challenges so we can give help and support. As a result of Classification skaters are given an impairment compensation, depending on how their medical conditions affect the ability to learn, practice or participate in skating. The skater's facilitation needs for competition are also established.
Inclusive skaters have many types of disabilities, and many have more than one type of disability. A medical diagnosis is not required and medical forms are not compulsory. Many skaters have undiagnosed conditions.
Some conditions (such as mental illness) get facilitation but do not get impairment compensation and these skaters are always welcome to skate at Inclusive Skating events.
New skaters and local events can use the Table of Frequently used Classifications in the Handbook as a guide. Using our experience from classifying many skaters we have established common impairment compensations and facilitation requirements. These are listed in a table at the end of the Classification Handbook. Beginners are usually given a review classification
Please bring all information with you to a classification meeting and do not send or post anything. We will ask skaters to retain and keep a copy of their your own full medical records and we will not retain them. We will keep a record of any impairment compensation that is to be added to your skating score and record the necessary facilitation. We will also note what disability specific competitions you may enter. When completing your entry form and at the event always inform us about the current facilitation requirements and any updates on the skater’s needs.
A supportive environment is provided with extensive accreditation of the Inclusive Skater’s care givers. This policy is implemented through the Announcement and competition entry process. All accredited persons must comply with the Code of Conduct for Officials.
Facilitation to meet the skater’s needs can take many forms and is approved during classification. The Inclusive Skating Classification Handbook 4th Edition provides examples. The Technical Handbook provides the competition rules that authorize the use of facilitation.
Inclusive Skaters with a classified impairment have an impairment compensation added to their skating score. Skaters who do not, skate as Unified Skaters and have no impairment compensation added to their score. This Technical Handbook provides the rules that authorize and determine the addition of the impairment compensation to the skating score.
Technical Skating Levels for Single Free Skating Guidance
The Technical Skating Levels for Single Free Skating Guidance (see in related resources below) provides guidance for the selection of the Technical Levels and how that relates to the classification balance assessment. The guidance also provides a comparison with the Special Olympic rules and detail on the technical level that the skater should enter.
Disability Specific Classifications
Inclusive Skating also provides additional disability specific classifications. They are as follows:
1. Inclusive Skating for Genes - this classification and events developed in 2017. It includes anyone who has (or is presumed to have) a genetic disorder.
2. Inclusive Paralympic - this classification commenced development in 2015 and further developed at Glasgow 2019.
The classes are :
3. Unified Skaters - this classification developed in 2017. It includes 2 classes:
The Classification Handbook contains the information on what impairments are classified. The Classification Handbook provides guidance to the Classifiers to provide consistent assessments when they are classifying skaters. Specifically the Handbook provides criteria to:
Define whether the skater has an impairment.
Establish that the impairment leads to a competitive disadvantage in skating.
Compensate for the competitive disadvantage caused by the impairment by deciding what the whole person impairment compensation is.
Ascertain the technical level for elite participation related to the impairment and what is the impact on the specific tasks in that event.
Define what facilitation (if any) the skater needs whilst competing.
Code of Classification
The Code of Classification contains the formal rules for the Classification Process. These rules are required for ice skating to be recognised as a Paralympic Sport and the Code also provides good practice guidelines for Inclusive Skating Classification. Classification is a cornerstone of paralympic sport and provides the traditional structure for disabled competition. More fundamentally paralympic athletes must have an impairment in body structures and functions that leads to a competitive disadvantage in sport. Consequently the IPC stipulate that, “criteria are put in place to ensure that winning is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus, the same factors that account for success in sport for athletes who are able-bodied.”
Therefore, the Inclusive Skating Code of Classification follows the IPC strategy on classification and seeks to provide a basis for equitable competition through classification processes that are robust, transparent and fair. This includes the protest and appeals process.
The Code of Classification must be read in conjunction with the Classification Handbook.
Frequently asked Questions
1. Classification – When is this done?
Usually, this is done at your first National Championship Inclusive Skating Event. You will be given a time to attend for classification at the competition event. Where possible, we will have the meeting before the skater’s first competitive skate. Where possible classification meetings can be done online.
To make classification as relaxed as possible we aim to complete assessments within 20 minutes, with as little intrusive questioning as possible.
We also watch the skater during practice and the compulsory elements. So, there is usually a delay in releasing the results of the event. Don’t worry, the impairment compensation is added on to the skating score so your skating score never changes.
2. Classification – who is there?
The classification panel usually has three members with at least one person knowledgeable in ice skating and a doctor or occupational therapist, and they will ask the skater about their disability and how it affects their skating.
It is very helpful for a parent, carer and/or coach to attend, particularly where the skater may find it difficult to explain their medical condition or where their first language is not English.
As Inclusive skating is establishing itself worldwide, you may find that an extra classifier is present, so that they can learn how to classify skaters in their own clubs and countries.
3. Classification – What happens?
It is the classifier’s job to work out how the particular conditions of the skaters will affect the ability to skate and assign an impairment compensation. If possible there will be a discussion with you and/or your parents and carers before the event. This discussion may be online. If there is insufficient medical information, or evidence or the disability does not directly affect skating, it may be impossible to give an impairment compensation. You will still be allowed to skate in the competition, you just will not be able to get any impairment compensation added on. If the skater requires a supportive environment to be able to skate then this will be considered during classification.
Alternatively, if the skater meets the minimal impairment criteria but there is not sufficient evidence to decide on a specific impairment compensation the Classification Panel may give an impairment compensation of 5%. If evidence does become available later the impairment compensation can be adjusted accordingly. If the skater’s medical condition can or does change then the skater can also be given a review classification and can be reassessed.
It is also very helpful if you can tell us whether the skater will need adjustment of the competition rules to help them. This will be discussed with you at classification.
4. What other information will be needed?
The skater needs to provide evidence of identity (such as a passport).
5. What is Facilitation
We will try to make it possible for every skater to skate their best, and will enable adjustments that are needed because of a medical condition. Here are some examples:
Shortness of breath: The skater can stop for a brief period between compulsory elements or during a longer free skate . The skater may also be allowed to skate a reduced program and the number of technical elements will be adjusted accordingly.
Total / partial blindness: A facilitator on the ice during the warm-?up and whilst the skater is performing.
Severe intellectual impairment: A facilitator on the ice during the warm-°up to remind the skater of the compulsory elements
Deafness and visual impairment: Earphones with instructions from a facilitator during speed events.
Visual impairment: A facilitator with a bungee cord to help guide the skater’s direction during speed events
Balance: The use of a harness or frame
Diabetes: First to skate after the warm-up
We are keen to find out what adjustments are helpful to skaters so if you have found something that helps, please tell us and we will be happy to consider this, so long as it is reasonable for the particular type of disability.
Facilitators are only allowed on the ice if they have been approved during classification. We also wish Inclusive Skaters to achieve independence where this is possible.
6. Does the classification need to be repeated at each event?
No, most disabilities are stable over long periods so when the skater has been classified it will normally be accepted at later events. However, if the skater’s health improves or deteriorates, you need to tell us before the next event, so that the skater can be reassessed. If the condition is one that is expected to deteriorate or improve, or where there is a degree of uncertainty about medical details, the doctors can give a review classification and you can be reassessed when necessary.
7. How are Disability Specific events classified?
Some Disability Specific Events that are being held by Inclusive Skating, such as British Blind Sport or Special Olympics, are classified by another organisation. Please bring/ or send in evidence of this classification with you. Some Disability Specific events such as Inclusive Skating for Genes are assessed at Inclusive Skating Classification.
8. Can we have an informal classification?
Yes, we aim to make it as easy as possible for skaters with challenges to get started. For local club competitions skaters may be given an estimated review impairment compensation classification. This estimate is based on examples of previous classifications and is usually available for typical impairments that we have previously classified.