Page 36 - BBHAC Winter 2015-16 Gazette
P. 36

34                                                                Feature


People with intellectual         Parents say their children in    to more involvement and
disabilities are encouraged      Young Athletes also develop      more opportunity for the
to join Special Olympics         better social skills. The        disadvantaged. After all, it is
for the physical activity,       confidence boost makes it        really quite big globally with
which among other health         easier for them to play and      4.5 million athletes in the best
benefits, helps lower the rate   talk with other children on      part of 200 countries. There
of cardiovascular disease and    the playground and elsewhere.    are 32 individual and team
obesity; also, they gain many                                     sports, winter and summer,
emotional and psychological      The problem we have in           plus some demonstration
benefits, including              the UK is that there are         sports and a total of 94,000
self-confidence, social          less active disabled people      events each year.
competence, building greater     compared to those who are
athletic skills and higher       able bodied and there is more    The recent excellent
self-esteem as part of the self  obesity amongst the disabled.    TV coverage of the Ski
development process.             All those with disabilities      Championships from France
                                 need more opportunities          really captured the ethos
Special Olympics                 and more support. It takes       of the Special Olympics
competitions are open            very special people to           movement with BBC South
to athletes of ages 8 and        volunteer and work among         East Sports presenter, Neil
upwards. For young people        this community but those         Bell, commenting as follows:
with and without intellectual    who do, will all testify to how  “I can genuinely say that I
disabilities ages 2-7, Special   rewarding it is.                 have never met a group of
Olympics has a Young                                              sportsmen and women who
Athletes programme – an          As an advanced Nation            so enthusiastically cheer on
inclusive sport and play         we always fare very well at      their rivals, these truly are the
programme with a focus           the Paralympics and did          Feel-good Games”.
on fun activities that are       quite well at the Special
important to mental and          Olympics World Summer                               Hugh Stanbury
physical growth. Children        Games despite the relative
engage in games and activities   lack of coverage in the
that develop motor skills        media. It would be great
and hand-eye co-ordination.      to see more coverage and
                                 hopefully this might lead
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