When the people we entrust with our health and wellbeing use the term "retarded," they grant legitimacy to a word that has been deemed offensive by the culture at large. They cause harm to the very people they have pledged to heal.
When a student walked past my brother and yelled the "r-word" (retard) at Kevin and his classmates, I knew I had to stand up for my brother. I avoided physical confrontation, but I used my most powerful weapon -- my voice.
While Sport for All does promote an inclusive message, an important dimension seems to be missing from the Sport for All mission that lies at the core purpose of Olympic Day and Sport for All -- all abilities.
I have been a volunteer tennis coach for the Special Olympics in Mercer County, New Jersey for over 10 years, and I can confidently say that it has been one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of my life.
When my son and daughter were both born with Down syndrome, I knew the likelihood of receiving even one college acceptance letter may not be a reality. But the day John received his letter of acceptance from the Special Olympics I experienced the equivalent.
As a parent of a child with an intellectual disability, I have seen so many of my peers go down a road of despair and disappointment as they contemplate the future. The Special Olympics allowed me to choose a path filled with hope and potential.
Through her tears, she spoke about her son's intellectual disability and explained that her husband will not accept him because of his condition, "because in my country, the belief is that we did something wrong ... our son's condition is a curse."