LIFE IS A SPECTRUM

It's Wordless Friday, because I was too inept to get this up on Wordless Wednesday ...

Billy is LOVING the soccer now!

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Hi Amanda:

Just checking in...looks like Billy is doing well!

Wendy

Mr

Wow wow.
Very great video.
It's so amazing!

Hi

Oh WOW he is so amazing ( and really really adorable )

AWWWW!

That is so sweet!!! I love the little victory hop at the end!!!! :) soooo cute! I am crazy impressed by him getting through the obstacle thing so well! Insane! I'm not sure if I could even do it! :)

Total 4 comments

S_YA_Billy6

This isn't actually a move from the Young Athlete's program. This is just something he was doing to entertain himself between events.

On Friday, Billy participated in a demonstration, with his classmates, of what he's been working on in the Young Athletes program at school.

Because qualifying kids can't join the Special Olympics until the age of seven, Young Athletes was started by the organization to teach sports skills to younger kids. Billy's school is the only one in our county where the program exists (it requires quite a commitment from the already-time-strapped staff), and we were delighted when it was announced earlier this year.

The best thing about the Young Athletes program is that it's inclusive of all kids. Neurotypical kids are Young Athletes too; in many ways, such as turn-taking, they might act as role models and mentors. In many skills, though, they're learning right alongside their pals with special needs. This wonderful program proves that an inclusion sports program, particularly for younger kids, is not only possible but a huge asset to the school and the kids involved.

Together, these hard-working athletes practice the basics of any sport: turn-taking, following multi-part instructions, working together on a team. They also develop specific skills like hitting and kicking balls, running and jumping on command, completing an obstacle course, etc.

Ms. Laurie, Billy's Young Athletes coach, told us that “At the start of the program, none of the kids could hit a ball off the tee,” but as they demonstrated on Friday, now they all can!

By the time they're seven, some of the kids in the program will have outgrown their developmentally disabled label; some will choose to move on to the Special Olympics. But all the kids will carry with them the important lessons they've learned about teamwork and the joy of sharing the athletic field with friends of all different developmental abilities.

It was inspiring to watch these kids. I felt a surge of pride as each one of them completed the obstacle course and such gratitude to the wonderful teachers and aides who made it possible. I strongly encourage you to ask about the Young Athletes program if you have a child under 7, and to volunteer with the Special Olympics, if possible, in your area.

To find out more about the Special Olympics and the Young Athletes program, CLICK HERE.

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The Young Athletes and mentors march in, carrying their toilet-paper-roll torches with solemn ceremony.

S_YA_BillyLaurie4

Billy learns to catch a ball dropped from above, thanks to Coach Laurie!

Reader Comments

What a great experience for all involved! Sounds like a lot of fun!! Maybe it will encourage some of the other schools to participate. That would be great! =)

What a Wonderful Program!

That's something that should be at every school!

Well, Audrey just turned 7 so I guess it would have to be on to the big leagues for her! If she had any athleticism at all that is. Sounds like a wonderful program...I'd never heard of it before.

I was also SO impressed with the older kids who volunteered to help during the presentation. They enthusiastically cheered on the Young Athletes and high 5'ed each kid once he/she completed a task. The whole experience inspired me, and of course, I was SOOOO proud of my precious nephew, Billy.

I was also SO impressed with the older kids who volunteered to help during the presentation. They enthusiastically cheered on the Young Athletes and high 5'ed each kid once he/she completed a task. The whole experience inspired me, and of course, I was SOOOO proud of my precious nephew, Billy.

Total 5 comments

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