Starting ’em Young

Young Athletes engages families by highlighting the power of play. Young Athletes includes a series of structured physical activities, songs and games to teach basic motor development skills for children with and without intellectual disabilities, ages 2 to 7 years old. BY REBECCA RALSTON In a small community near Phitsanulok, Thailand, a young boy named Kongpob Yangkam lives with his grandparents and 17-year-old sister. Kong, as his family lovingly calls him, has intellectual disabilities and […]

Jim Balamaci, steadfast advocate for Alaska’s Special Olympians, dies at age 63

Author: Beth Bragg| Sports – Anchorage Daily News A celebration of life will be held Sunday, March 11, at 4 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center. Everyone is welcome. Jim Balamaci, whose passion for Special Olympics spanned four decades during which the World Winter Games came to Anchorage and one of the world’s only training centers for developmentally disabled athletes was built in Mountain View, died Thursday. Balamaci, a Special Olympics volunteer since 1979 and […]

Joining The Fight For Human Rights

Special Olympics has found that people with intellectual disabilities are being excluded from national laws and policies in countries around the world. BY JAVIER VASQUEZ To the rest of the world, human rights are assumed and not questioned. Special Olympics fights for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) to obtain the same human rights as everyone else. Human rights are defined as universal freedoms and entitlements all human beings share, whatever their race, nationality, place of […]

Shared Vision For Inclusive Health

Formally established in 2001, Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes has provided more than 350,000 vision screenings for people with intellectual disabilities BY NIKKI VILLANUEVA “It’s amazing he was even walking around.” That was the reaction of Fotis Velissarakos, the volunteer doctor in charge of the Special Olympics Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes venue in Athens to Hicham Novara, a swimmer from Morocco competing at World Games in 2011. Novara came to Velissarakos with extremely […]

Improving Health Worldwide To The Most Underserved

People with intellectual disabilities face health care providers who don’t have the knowledge or willingness to treat them. Despite severe need and higher health risks, people with ID are often denied health services. BY KRISTIN HUGHES SROUR, MBA If you want to help straighten her bones, dig a hole in the ground, have your daughter stand in it and then pack it with soil. Do this every day for six hours. This was the advice […]

Odds and Evens Playing Nicely Together

ANCORA IMPARO BY RICK RADER, MD ■ EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Unified Sports provides people with and without ID (intellectual disabilities) the opportunity to play on the same sports team, creating a space for friendships, physical activity and fun. The classic image of the young girl with Down syndrome running with determination across the finish line to the cheers of her families, friends and coaches has always done what it is intended to do—let you know of the […]

You’ve Got A Friend In Me

BY PEG GRAFWALLNER Ani has friends through Special Olympics; but, we always have to remind her to make conversation and be part of the group, since she is content to watch the activities around her. friendships have always been difficult for Ani. She would much rather be with adults than people her own age. I think it’s because adults have always shown more patience when speaking with her. At times, Ani can be difficult to […]