Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) showcases and celebrates inclusion and the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities (ID) every day around the world, through the power and joy of sport. On Thursday, Dec. 3, SOTX is inviting the world to come out and “Play Unified” in recognition of the United Nations’ annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
The theme for this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is “Inclusion Matters: Access and Empowerment for People of All Abilities.” A global leader in promoting inclusion, Special Olympics is calling upon all citizens, governments, corporate leaders, and the world’s youth to learn more about and engage with people with intellectual disabilities by participating in a Special Olympics Unified Sports® event in their community. Unified Sports brings together people with and without intellectual disabilities as teammates, using sports as a shortcut to friendship and understanding. The premise is simple: when we Play Unified, we Live Unified.
“Unified Sports has grown in importance for the athletes and the partners,” SOTX President & CEO Margaret Larsen said. “The satisfaction and accomplishment both sides experience is the simple formula for success.”
“Special Olympics’ critical work in sports, health, education, community-building, early childhood development programming, self-advocacy training, and much more addresses very real issues and stigmas people with intellectual disabilities face,” said Mary Davis, Acting CEO, Special Olympics. Davis adds, “We are empowering people with and without intellectual disabilities, worldwide, to be agents of change for inclusion and respect.”
People in societies around the globe often still hold many misperceptions and negative attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities. Negative attitudes have been shown to be barriers to inclusion for people with ID in the community, but research has shown that these attitudes can be changed through increased interactions that are positive experiences, which challenge existing stereotypes. Special Olympics utilizes sport to fight the stigma faced by people with ID, demonstrate their abilities, and change attitudes.
About International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Since 1992, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been celebrated to promote increased awareness and support related to the full social inclusion of people with disabilities worldwide. The IDPD serves as an opportunity for development, government, corporate and civil society stakeholders alike to highlight the needs of individuals with disabilities, and draw attention to the core benefits of creating fully inclusive strategies, policies and communities. In addition, the IDPD affords stakeholders from across sectors to further promote the importance of key international treaties, like the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UN-CRPD), as critical frameworks to utilize in creating fully inclusive communities. Learn more at http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1637
About Special Olympics Texas
Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) is a privately funded non-profit organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect. SOTX provides continuing opportunities for more than 53,400 children and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout the Lone Star State to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. To learn more, visitwww.specialolympicstexas.org or call 800.876.5646. Engage with us on: Twitter @SOTexas; fb.com/SpecialOlympicsTX; youtube.com/specialolympicstexas