Special Olympics

>> Monday, July 2, 2007

Yesterday was a big day in our family. Our 11-year-old daughter started Special Olympics. She's going to be competing in equestrian for now and will try other sports next season. She had her clothes laid out since last week...she's so excited!! The more I'm learning about Special Olympics, the more I'm really impressed. What a vision! Our daughter has a mild to moderate mental handicap and seems to be on the part of the spectrum where kids fall through the cracks. We've always known this as we've tried to advocate for her through the school system. There has never been a good program to plug her into at school. There are programs for kids who have mild learning disabilities and there are isolated classrooms for kids with more profound handicaps. But Claire doesn't fit into any of these catagories. Fortunately, our school system has been very cooperative and has found ways to meet her needs. But something new occurred to me when we were at our church camp a couple weeks ago. Claire was on the fringes the whole time. She couldn't keep up with the bigger kids and the little kids didn't want to have much to do with her either. I can understand...Claire can be intrusive and lack boundaries. This may, however, been the first time Claire noticed it. She went up to the top of her bunk and refused to come down. She had a sad look on her face the whole week. It broke my heart. I came right home and looked up Special Olympics. What a great opportunity for kids like Claire!! A place where she doesn't have to try so hard to fit in. She can be who she is AND learn something fun at the same time. Her first competition is in September and I can't wait for all of us to be on the fringes...cheering her on.


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