Symposium on Sport and Persons with Disabilities: Special Olympics and Beyond

By Burton, Allen W. | Palaestra, Winter 1992 | Go to article overview

Symposium on Sport and Persons with Disabilities: Special Olympics and Beyond


Burton, Allen W., Palaestra


The annual University of Minnesota Sport Science Institute was developed to provide a convenient, time-intensive avenue for professional development in key areas of sport and physical activity. After focusing on sport psychology in 1990, the topic of sport and persons with disabilities was chosen for the 1991 Institute because of a high level of local interest in this area and, even more importantly, plans to hold the 1991 International Special Olympics Games in the Twin Cities. The main advantage of coordinating the timing of a symposium on sport for persons with disabilities with the International Special Olympics Games was that a great pool of experts on this topic -- who may or may not have been affiliated with Special Olympics -- were readily available.

Given this idea, then, specific goals of the 1991 Sport Science Institute were established. They were to provide participants with (a) a current perspective of sport and persons with disabilities, emphasizing sport opportunities, models for inclusion, instructional methods, social and psychological considerations, and current research; (b) opportunities to interact with local, national, and international experts and leaders in the area of sport for persons with disabilities; and, (c) an incentive to become involved in the 1991 International Special Olympics Games, either as volunteer or spectator.

The 1991 Institute

The 1991 University of Minnesota Sport Science Institute was held July 18-21, 1991, just preceding the beginning of the International Special Olympics Games. Meetings were convened at several sites around the Twin Cities, including University of Minnesota, General Mills Corporate Headquarters, and a conference center in a suburb of Minneapolis. Participants had the option of attending the Institute for one or two quarter credits in either kinesiology or recreation. The final title of the Institute was Sport and Persons with Disabilities: Special Olympics and Beyond. The last phrase--Special Olympics and Beyond--was added to indicate coordination of the Institute with the International Special Olympics Games, and also to emphasize that Special Olympics represents just one sport alternative or philosophy for persons with disabilities.

Staff members from Special Olympics International were presenters at nine of the 22 sessions, addressing various aspects of and issues related to Special Olympcis. These topics included sport philosophy (Mark Edenzon), ethical foundations (Robert Cooke), role of the family (Jim Santos), integration (Dicken Yung), coaching certification (Glenn Roswal and Deanna Schneulle), sport psychology applications (Glenn Roswal and March Krotee), Special Olympics and education (Patricia Krebs), Special Olympics Enrichment Units (Patricia Krebs), and Special Olympics Motor Activities Training Program (Martin Block).

The other 13 sessions were conducted by university professors and other professionals in the area of sport for persons with disabilities. …

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