Monday, May 3, 2010

PE: Special Olympics

It was so exciting to get Gess on the Special Olympics team. I was not aware that they started this at such a young age. Children only need to be 8 years of age to join the Special Olympics. Around here though, they do most of the practices and organizing through the public school so I had to figure out how to get involved. I went to our state Special Olympics website and found the contact information for our area and sent out an email. I was contacted by phone and we worked out the details and Gess was on the team. Each child that participates does need to take a physical. Children with Down Syndrome also must have an Atlantoaxial Instability test to make sure there is no risk to their spinal cord through physical activity.
They practiced during the school day at the High School. They were very accommodating and welcoming when we joined them there. We also practiced with Gess some on our own, mostly to make sure she understood how to stay in her own lane for the races. Since she does not have PE at school and access to the field at other times, we felt that might be important.
On April 22nd, our district held the Special Olympics and Gess was extremely excited! She wanted to win a medal so badly, and I am pleased to say she won 2! Gesserine participated in 4 events and won the following:

Tennis ball throw - Bronze Medal
Standing Long Jump - Bronze Medal
50m dash - 4th Place Ribbon
Team Relay Race - 5th Place Ribbon

Below are some of the photos of the even that day. It was really something to see people with special needs, get recognized and have such a fun day geared around positive reinforcement. We were so excited to see so many people in attendance and were thrilled with the amount of young adults who were volunteering to make this happen. College students were there cheering everyone on, they were not ridiculing and making fun of them. Events like this are so important because it truly does bring everyone together. I am grateful for everyone who helped to make this such a special day for my daughter and every child and adult with special needs who felt like a winner that day!

The Standing Long Jump


She was so excited to get her first medal!


She was so excited she couldn't stop looking at them!


Me and Gess waiting for the last event.


This one is my favorite. Note that she was holding a team mate's hand while giving a cheer for the team.

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