Susan's Blog

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Are You Game?

Take a look at this article. Has there ever been an organization that has grown, evolved, and delivered on its promises the way Special Olympics has? For Nat, who has been a Special Athlete since he was 10, SO has meant a social life, acceptance, teamwork, fun. For us as a family, SO has given us a common bond, a biannual event to share together (basketball State Games in the winter; swimming State Games in the summer). And it has given us a place where Nat’s talents are obvious and admirable. Plus, we have made some very wonderful connections ourselves in the parents. I now know parents with kids Nat’s age from all over the state, and they are beginning to think about housing communities, like I am. It is very possible that we can pool our resources and services from the state and create a housing community for our kids, whom we met through SO.

I think that the skills Nat has learned there are part of what has enabled him to hold down a job and also to go off without us on social excursions. He has learned the value of being with other people (other than us), listening to them, following directions, and making his needs and desires known. Maybe he doesn’t use words, but it does not matter. He understands people and they understand him. What more do you need, truly?

If you live anywhere near Boise, Idaho, get yourself over to the World Games, beginning of February. I may even go, if I can bear a 7 hour flight. You will just be astounded. I think your life will change if you watch the Games. Sit among the families, listen to their conversations. Talk to the volunteers. Meet the athletes. And then write to me about what you have learned, what it made you feel.

If your special needs child has not yet tried SO, I think you should give it a try. If one sport doesn’t work, try a different one. You never know when a whole new passion will be kindled.


Yesterday in the pool my son held on to the noodle and was propelling himself using his legs. He was so happy. We may be onto something here.

— added by Someone Said on Sunday, January 25, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Go, N!!! That’s using your noodle!

— added by Susan Senator on Sunday, January 25, 2009 at 11:03 pm

Thanks for sharing this article Susan. I was also recently invited to a new Fan Community online that Special Olympics has started. You should check it out and promote your blog there!

Have a great week!

— added by Anonymous on Monday, January 26, 2009 at 8:38 am

How do you get started? Is there a web site or some other way you “join”? I doubt very seriously if there is anything like this where we live; if there is, they don’t offer publicity about their organization and I know other parents with special needs children and none of them participate. I am kind of wary as I don’t want to get into the competitive sports thing with my son. But again, I know very little about this organization or what is involved.

— added by Sharon L. on Monday, January 26, 2009 at 2:14 pm

It’s all good. There is nothing to worry about. This is where acceptance and teamwork and sportsmanship are nurtured. Trust me.

There are very likely teams and sports near you; they don’t advertise well because they are nonprofit and free for any child, so there is not a lot of money. You have to ask around, but you can also go to and you will be guided to teams in your region. It is not competitive in any kind of mean-spirited sense. It is about being the best you can be. The philosophy is explained at the website.

— added by Susan Senator on Monday, January 26, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Susan, great post and a great article – thanks for sharing. I had no idea that the World Olympics were taking place soon, and in the US to boot! Boo hasn’t been too interested in sports, although last summer he participated in Challenger baseball, a similar concept but lesser known. An amazing experience for all.

— added by Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) on Monday, January 26, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Susan; thank you so much for posting that article! I had no idea that they would have all kids participate-that is truly wonderful!

For the past two years, (since Nick was diagnosed), I have headed up the volunteer effort for our states SO. What an immense feeling it is to be part of something so wonderful! Nick will definitely be involved when he is old enough. Michael (my oldest), usually tags along with me to watch the OPening Ceremonies, and he has said many times how he wished he could participate as well. I love seeing the kids/adults so happy-their joy is so contagious!

— added by Amy on Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 12:48 am

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