Since beginning this journey with Jonathan and autism, it definitely has not been easy.
Even before we had a final diagnosis Jonathan was placed into a learning environment at school called EBD (Emotional Behavioral Disabled). This is where he was placed into a classroom setting with no more than 6 other students. They do not transition outside of one building and was not allowed to participate in any type of gym class. He could not differentiate between an accident or on purpose for the sake of playing sports. Anytime they tried to get him to engage in sports, it did not end very well. Usually, it would end with a phone call to either my husband or I that he was being suspended for not keeping his hands to himself.
About 4 years ago our paths crossed with Special Olympics. We decided Jonathan needed some type of physical activity to get him our of his room and around others. He needed social interaction with others. His fuld irst sport was track. He was extremely shy. His first event would be the 50 meter dash and then the running long jump. Jonathan told us he liked to run. Which made us feel good. He did really well at first summer games. Even though he did not think so. After this session we waited to hear back when the next sport began.
Well it was almost a year before we got back into the swing of things with Special Olympics. The difference this time was now Zachary would be joining. I finally reached out to the area coordinator (at that time) who got me in toucg wh with the coach from Daytona Beach. We drove all the way over to Port Orange so the boys could participate in a few soccer practices. They really loved soccer. I felt at the time the coach was awesome. She actually got Jonathan to engage.
Well then she informed us about swimming, when it would be starting, where. We decided that they would participate. To get them interacting with others, and most importantly physical activity. So our whole family has become involved in some way with the Special Olympics. If not an athlete then a coach or volunteer. We have a whole new family with Special Olympics.
Since Jonathan’s first trip to state aquatic he has come along way because of all this interaction and activity. He’s lost alot of weight and now he wants to become an athletic volunteer. It is totally amazing the effects speical olympics has had on my children and my family!!!!