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Again another summer run for Special Olympics down my street! This is one of many events across our country that have been repeated for 42 years in our country.
Year by year other countries (now 180) around the world started to partipate in the Special Olympic movement for those with intellectual disabilities. In fact the Special Olympics is fastest growing grass roots volunteer movement on the planet . They are the world's largest public health organization serving 200,000,000 people with intellectual disabilities (3 percent of the global population).
How has this happened that one women (Eunice Kennedy Shriver) developed a sports program for the intellectually challenged in her backyard to where it is today. Obviously a total commitment and determination on her part.
But it had to be more than that. And it was to see the joy of a sense of accomplishment on the face of one of the athletes, to watch the athletes determination to work hard to get better, to realize that you didn't have to win, it was the effort you put in that mattered. And then one could see that there was a carryover in these athletes ability to function in the community due to these events. Then gradually society itself began to have a different opinion of people with Intellectual disabilities.
In some ways there is still a long way to go for the intellectually disabled to be fully included in society with equal opportunities for a full and productive life. But look how far we've come.
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