ParaOrienteering means everyone can orienteer!

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How can you make orienteering accessible for peoplewith different kinds of disability?

This is something that SOFT’s Para group is working on.

Last year was the debut of the Para-I class at O-Ringen and the class will return this year. It is a class for competitors with an intellectual disability, which means they may find it difficult to understand, learn things and be independent. People with intellectual disabilities often have other conditions as well, for example epilepsy, heart problems, autism or hearing and visualproblems.

Simplified map

At O-Ringen this summer, the Para-I class will once again use the Inskolning (“Induction”) courses, which not only have an appropriate difficulty level but also featurethe happy and sad faces, which work as a visual support. O-Ringen 2015 in Borås produced a lot of visual support material. One wayto simplify the orienteering is to take away unnecessary detailfrom the map, making the map easier to read and interpret.

Multiple benefits

The great thing about simplifying the map this way is that peoplewith visual impairments can also benefit from using the same map. However, the maps need to be enlarged to the degree required by the competitor. The solution is to enlarge a couple of legs at atime and have several maps to use during the race. A guide can beuseful to help visually impaired competitors with tougher terrain.So far, this group does not have their own class but competes onwhichever Open course suits their abilities. Last year, Jan Thorin was the only competitor and the first person to compete at O-Ringen with a severe visual impairment. He has around 2% vision inone eye and describes his vision as like swimming in murky water. He used 7-9 maps (A4 and A3) for each stage, depending on the length of the course and how the controls were positioned. Wehope that more people with visual impairments will try oriente-ering at this summer’s big orienteering adventure.

Practice makes perfect

One or two people who took part in last summer’s Para-I class atO-Ringen continued orienteering into the autumn at events withInduction level courses. Here, they didn’t think there was any needto simplify the map and competed using the same map as others.The same was true for Janne with the visual impairment, who continued orienteering in Värmland throughout the autumn. Trickier courses and smaller maps were no problem as he learnedmore and more.


On SOFT’s website orientering.se/utova-och-folj/borja-orientera/paraorientering External link, opens in new window. you can find information and pictures of different activities for those who would like to find out more about ParaO-rienteering. There is also a folder for printing and instructions for how to include ParaOrienteering at competitions. We hope that infuture, clubs open up the possibility for more people to take part inour wonderful sport. Some small adaptations can make a big difference and many event organisers already have the skills to simplifymaps, if needed.

If you want to get in touch with us at O-Ringen 2024 to talk about ParaI or do you want to participate? Please contact:

Tina Eveborn: tina.eveborn@telia.com, 073-740 06 92

If you want to talk about ParaOrienteering with us working at SOFT - please contact:

Helena Hehlke: helena.hehlke@orientering.se, 070-204 83 12

Jenny Wegmüller: jenny.wegmuller@orientering.se, 076-103 77 13

Tomas Yngström: tomas.yngstrom@orientering.se, 070-381 00 07

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