I went to two different events but both were related in the fact that they had to do with helping students with mental and/or physical disabilities find positive outlets to become members of their communities.
The first presentation I went to was about Special Olympics. I was really excited to go to this presentation! i could not wait. It was really informative and it helped to re-instill the feelings I got when I first decided to go into Special Education and why.
The look of pure joy and fun on the athletes's faces, competing at the different Special Olympics games gave me goosebumps.
I never knew they had so many programs!
AND not only did they have events for athletes with mild to moderate physical/ mental disabilities but they had events specifically designed for those athletes with sever physical/mental disabilities.
I also learned about this amazing program called unified sports. I had never heard of it until I went to this lecture. I think that unified sports is an amazing idea.
For those of you who don't know what unified sports are; unified sports consist of teams made up of athletes without any form of disability as well as those who have a disability. They compete against other unified sports teams. They not only have fun but they all learn something. They gain new friends. They gain a sense of belonging. They gain a sense of confidence.
The Special Olympics and Unified Sports are doing so much more then bringing athletes together, they are also providing health care for these athletes. And the athletes love when it comes to time for their check-ups.
The sense of joy, pride, confidence and accomplishment that Special Olympics is providing for these athletes is incredible! And they not only provide these resources to teens through adults, but they also have started a young athletes program to get little kids involved in sports!
For more information, check out the link below:
MOTOR ACTIVITIES PROGRAM
The second lecture I went to was Youth Action for All Abilities.
I did not like this one as much. I chose it because I thought it went hand in hand with the Special Olympics. And it did to an extent. However, I was just not as engaged in this lecture as I was in my first.
The lectures were members of the Rhode Island YouthACT team and members of the Youth Advisory Council.
They discussed their program and how the provide an after school club for students with learning disabilities who otherwise, may not become involved in a school club.
Their message and program was great to learn about. However, I felt as though they spent too much talking about the history of disabilities and the injustices people with disabilities faced rather then on the purpose and desires of their program.
I really enjoyed hearing the personal stories from some of the lectures who were actually members of the group.
Again, I just wish they spent less time on the history and more on their program.
Overall, it wasn't a bad experience. Except for the fact that it was geared toward nursing and health majors when a majority of those in attendance were education majors. It got off to a slow start but once I was in the Special Olympics lecture, I didn't want to leave!