Why Special Olympics In Sunderland ?
As is often the case with youngsters with learning disabilities, they have little opportunity where they can become involved in a sport. They often have very little exercise and not a lot of social activity outside of School, work, and the family.
You will find there are many clubs for “disabled” people but to date I have found only Special Olympics in Sunderland solely for the intellectually challenged. Ask anyone for a sports club for people with learning disability and they will name a club for people intended for physical disabilities, by the same token ask “what is a disability?” and you will most likely be given an example of a disability that can be seen. I do not mean this in a detrimental way at all but in my experience this is how it is.
Yes, a lot of people with learning disabilities also have physical disabilities but with Special Olympics it is the Learning Disability that is focused upon.
I would never dream of suggesting that there is no other club willing to take in our athletes, there are many good ones, but within this club you would probably find the athlete will be very much in the minority in SO they are the body of the group.
The majority of our volunteers are either parents of people with learning disabilities; or are qualified in teaching /working with them. They understand the difficulties and peculiarities of many conditions. They know how to speak to the athletes according to their condition and make allowances for their fears and habits.
Volunteers are not professionals in this field, and do not profess to be but we do our very best for our members, and I think most would agree we are very successful at it, we have a very happy group and our athletes get on well together. We expect our athletes, volunteers and coaches to all behave with respect and kindness to each other and of course we all try our utmost to do this.
The main criteria to qualify for membership into Special Olympics is the athlete MUST have a diagnosed LEARNING DISABILITY. There are a very few exceptions to this rule but all are decided on an individual basis.
Anyone interested in joining should contact Kath Rooney, please see contact page.