No one believes that if the R-word vanished, access to the best health care will suddenly appear and the medical problems faced by people with intellectual disabilities magically fixed, but language affects attitudes, and attitudes affect action.
The truth is, I wish I could just follow you around with an embarrassing mom bag of sunglasses and earplugs and sensory toys but you don't want those things anymore. You want to brave it on your own and I am so proud of you for that.
I have carried, just as carefully as any gold medal, the gift that Special Olympics has given to our family. A perfectly built place where my daughter will always belong, where she will win far more often than lose, because everyone has told her she can.
Olympic athletes train their entire lives. They devote every spare moment to their sport. For the Special Olympic athlete, we think it's fair to say that nothing comes easily. Just living in a typical world is an Olympic feat.
What can we believe about sports, and the people who play them? You won't find the answer on your local sports news, on ESPN, or in Sports Illustrated. No, to truly understand the power and beauty of sports, you'd have to be in Seoul, South Korea.
I hope that all Americans will take some time over the course of these Games to reflect on the value and contributions of people with disabilities, and how we can all take part in promoting the full inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in our communities.