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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

World Special Olympics in China- Get it Down 31 for 21 : Post 3

Get It Down; 31 for 21
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One of our local Special Olympians is in China for the World Special Olympics so I have been following it today. His name is Sam McNew and he is an awesome weight lifter. He was recognized by the House in Indiana. Go Sam! The 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in Shanghai, People's Republic of China, from 2-11 October 2007. The event will mark the first time the World Summer Games will be held in Asia, and only the second time they will be held outside the United States

I heard a news segment on CNN news and it was all agush about the huge turn out in China for the opening ceremony; how Special Olympics is such a growing event because intellectual disabilities are so more accepted now; more opportunities etc. How China is now accepting those with intellectual disabilities so that they aren't sent off to live in institutions. I just found this article on Wall Street Journal that states

Over the past few days, Mr. Hu has been photographed spending time with China's mentally disabled population, praising people who work with them and promising more help. As recently as the 1990s, a senior Chinese leader said China had no mentally disabled. As in many countries, traditional values shamed families with disabled members. Many mentally disabled people were literally kept out of public sight, with some families not admitting to their existence.

But attitudes are changing and the Special Olympics seem to have capped a turnaround in China, at least at the top.

All I could think of was the fact that if this were so, if intellectual disabilities are so more accepted now that a World Special Olympics brings in more than 80 thousand to the opening ceremonies in a country that just started accepting those with intellectual disabilities and bringing them "out of the closet", then what in hell is happening in the US? We have had legislation on the books for more than 32 YEARS allowing children with disabilities to be educated among all students, yet we still struggle with our kids. We have had early intervention services in place for 32 YEARS and yet we can't find speech therapists or get appropriate medical assistance for our kids. And yes, the best of all, if the intellectually impaired are so more "accepted" now then why is the termination rate at 90% in the US and more detailed prenatal testing being pushed. Just doesn't make sense. Unless you consider the dichotomy we deal with every day. We have two visions. One from the medical community when there is a prenatal diagnosis and a couple of scared parents, and one from the public relations desk when those same kids are in classrooms, doing sports, and getting married.

So we need to know how to get the PR into the medical community and this is more than just the GIFTS book. It has to be huge. I know part of the assistance will be with NDSS and NDSC combining forces which I hear is coming soon.

So for now, enjoy the World Special Olympics. And Go Sam.