Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

A Study of Mothers of Intellectually Disabled Children Participating in Special Olympics

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

A Study of Mothers of Intellectually Disabled Children Participating in Special Olympics

Article excerpt

Intellectual disability is a condition of arrested or incomplete development of the mind, social and physical self-concept as well as improvements in physical abilities. It is described by impairment of skills that contribute to the overall level of intelligence, i.e. motor, language, cognitive and social abilities and its manifestations can be seen during the period of development. Retardation can occur with or without any other mental or physical condition. (WHO, 1992), Some associated co morbidities, i.e., the additional disabilities found in children with intellectual disability are attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), visual impairment, hearing impairment, autism, down's syndrome and cerebral palsy. An appropriate sports or fitness program for persons with mental retardation can promote enhancement of social and physical self-concept and also physical abilities, with further movement toward complete social integration (Riggen & Dale, 1993). Special Olympics began in 1968 with the first international Special Olympics games at soldier field in Chicago, with Eunice Kennedy Shriveras the founder. Special Olympics India started in 1987, later it was changed to Special Olympics Bharat in the year 2001 (Special Olympics coaching guide, 2003). Various sports and competitions at local, district, state, national and international level are organized by Special Olympics. Athletes cross each level to participate at higher consecutive levels depending upon their abilities and performance. Each athlete is given a chance to get trained and compete in sports. Special Olympics Bharat also has a large pool of coaches and trainers that it draws on, for training athletes. Coaches also undergo constant training to equip themselves to cater to the needs of growing number of athletes as standalone coaches and trainers and also as physical educators at local levels and special schools. Some major initiatives of special Olympics include athlete leadership program which allows athletes to explore opportunities for better participation in the movement beyond sports training and competition i.e as coaches, officials, team captains, spokes people and board and committee member .Another one is healthy athlete program that helps to improve their training and competition by focusing on overall health and fitness by basic health screenings, provision of preventative and some treatment services, educational information, and referrals for follow-up care. Young athlete program is also one such initiative specifically designed to introduce children between two to seven to prepare them for competitions when they are eight years of age. Another one is the project UNIFY, an education-based project that uses sports and education programs to activate young people to develop school communities where all youth are agents of change i.e advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities. For families of intellectually disabled there is a family forum where families form the support system for Special Olympics athletes giving them support and encouragement. Lastly Special Olympics get into it, program consists of online resources that include lessons, activities, videos, athlete stories and supplemental materials (Face Sheet Special Olympics Bharat, 2016). Special Olympics is open to mentally retarded individuals who are physically capable of competitive activities, and also to those incapable of activity. In this, sports training and athletic competition in Olympic type sports are provided to the intellectually disabled athletes throughout the year thus providing them with a regular opportunity to be active participants, to develop physical fitness, other skills as friendship with their families, relationships with peers, since formation of peer relationships is an important developmental task during childhood and adolescence. It leads to successful transition to adulthood and also helps them to experience strong and long term friendship bonds, display courage, experience happiness and be associated with the community at large (Bukowski & Hoza, 1989; Dunn & McGuire, 1992). …

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