Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Focusing on the can-do, not the can't

The 2011 World Special Olympics held its closing ceremonies yesterday. A whopping 7500 athletes from 180 countries participated in the games. The awe-inspiring Kayla McKeon, who you met here, won a bronze in singles bocce and a silver in doubles. YES!!!

What's amazing about the Special Olympics is the focus on ability, not disability.

These athletes show the world that people with disabilities have capabilities. Boy, do they ever.

The athletes in the Special Olympics are competent, competitive, and talented. Like any other athletes out there.

The games were just a week long. They didn't receive as much media attention as they deserve, by far. But I know I know that they have changed minds and shown people just how able the "disabled" are.

It's one of my greatest wishes: If people were better able to look at Max and see what he can do, instead of what he can't do, he'd have a much easier time in this world. OK, he's not doing a 5000M run anytime soon, but there is plenty else he can do. Attention, world:

Don't look at him and see a child who cannot speak. Look at him and see a child who can communicate, in his own way.

Don't look at him and see a child who cannot yet walk jump or climb. Look at him and see that he can get around, and get where he needs to be.

Don't look at him and see a child who is cognitively delayed. Look at him and marvel at how bright and perceptive he can be.

Don't look at him and see a child who should be pitied. Look at him and respect him for the awesome kid he is.

I'm proud to have had the chance to do Special Olympics coverage, sponsored by Procter & Gamble, because I am grateful for their sponsorship of the Special Olympics—31 years, and going strong. This year, through their Proud Sponsor of Moms campaign, they donated $250,000 to support local programs and services all year long and make the moms of these athletes extra proud. Additionally, for every person who liked their "Thank You Mom" Facebook page or commented on it, they donated $1 to Team USA's journey to Athens, up to $250,000. Take a sec to show your support and "Like" the page or leave a message. You can also check out videos from the games there.

I leave you with the official music video of the Special Olympics World Games Athens 2011. Just look at all that amazing ability:

Now, what would you like the world to know your child can do?

Photos courtesy of Special Olympics


  1. Fantastic post - per usual!
    One of the terms I have come to love is "Alter-abled" We can do it, and we can do it well, we might just have a slightly different way of doing it.

  2. Special Olympic rocks! We are so lucky to be involved in the program with our son.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Be gentle.

  3. My son CAN make the world's worst day disappear with the sound of his laughter!

  4. How wonderful to "meet" you- I only wish it could have been in Athens. My 17yo autisitic spectrum son and I volunteered at the softball venue last week; our great victory... Nothing is impossible!

  5. As a Special Olympics coach this post warms my heart! It is true, SO just doesn't get the recognition that it deserves although the Australian newspapers did get behind our athletes which was really fantastic.

    SO isn't just amazing for the athletes, it's also life changing for the coaches. In the "real" world I'm different because I have a disability and I'm not like everyone else. At Special Olympics I'm a coach and a leader and many people are surprised to hear this.

    Max is AMAZING (and way too cute!) and he will change this world, one bowl of spaghetti at a time.

    I'm eagerly awaiting the return of of my athletes with their haul of medals - it's been a quiet week without them!

  6. How amazing. Love this post. Video brought tears to my eyes. Carsyn and I watched it together. He loved it.

  7. Another wonderful post. Yesterday Moe did a small obstacle course for the first time, swung on a bar, jumped off and rolled a ball into bowling pins!

    He can also sing beautifully.

  8. I will b posting about this soon

  9. As someone else already said....my son can make the very worst days wonderful with the sound of his laughter.


Thanks for sharing!

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