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Coppell Special Olympics Orientation

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Tiffany Reynolds

on 12 February 2014

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Transcript of Coppell Special Olympics Orientation

Obstacle 1:
Why are we
even here?

Obstacle 2:
But how do I
act around the athletes?

Obstacle 3:


A New Techie's guide to being awesome at EVERYTHING!
The Coppell Special Olympians are fun-loving, quirky people just like you and me! Treat them with respect and patience and you will find that they make awesome friends and teammates!
It's simple...
(but mainly at working with Coppell Special Olympics Athletes)
A quote from an email sent out by our Special Olympics contact inviting athletes to attend today...
If that wasn't enough...
"This isn't just about checking off some volunteer time for the learners at New Tech. The learners are passionate about being involved in our Special Olympics delegation. They want to be educated about what it means to be a person with "special needs". In the video it talks about "bridge builders" for "future leaders." This is our athletes' and New Tech learners' opportunity to build bridges in our school and community."
Let's not ruin her good word... How we conduct ourselves today will determine what our relationship with Special Olympics will look like for the rest of the year
no pressure
No but really... I could be sleeping right now...
(even if they do have a cooler title)
Athletes are people before they are a disability!
This means that there are no "downs kids" or "wheelchair kids"--there are kids with Down Syndrome and kids in wheelchairs, but we DO NOT classify a human being by a physical or mental disability they may or may not have.
Special Olympics is not a place for kids to go mess around and get a medal, these athletes must train hard and follow rules to earn their victories
Athletes are in season year round and are required to train vigorously for at least 8 weeks to be considered to compete. There are competitions that start at the local level and go all the way to international level. Athletes must compete and qualify in order to advance based on skill and rules. Athletes can be disqualified, athletes can get last place, athletes can be disappointed, but these athletes have learned the skill of pushing past defeat and accomplishing more than they thought they ever could (even if that means not winning a shiny medal).
Special Olympics Motto:
"Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
Just because the athletes have special needs does not mean that how they are now is the best they can ever be! Don't just praise them for what they can already do, encourage them to try harder and accomplish more!
When you expect that an athlete can only do so much because of their disabilities you are indirectly limiting them. Praise a basketball player for throwing the ball, then show them how to shoot the ball correctly and keep encouraging them to shoot until they catch on! Don't get me wrong, this will take a LOT of patience in some cases, but don't give up hope on them because as soon as you are satisfied that they are the best they will ever get, then they stop growing.
For the sake of the athlete, please try to keep age appropriate and socially acceptable interactions
You may come in contact with an athlete that has discovered the art of baby talking to get more attention. While it might be ridiculously adorable, it won't help them when they're trying to get a job later on down the road, so let's try to encourage age and socially appropriate interactions. Other adorable things that you must resist the urge to succumb to are things like an athlete who likes to pet hair, kiss hands, or anything that you would feel uncomfortable if a stranger off the road did to you. You never know when that same athlete will go up to the wrong person trying to be affectionate the same way they have many times before and get into serious trouble because someone doesn't realize they have special needs. If you're feeling mean about it, just think about which is worse, ignoring it now and risking letting them get in trouble in the future, or asking them to stop now and not risking their safety. Just be smart.
Don't be scared to interact with your athlete, embrace them and try as much as possible to get to know them before they have to leave!
As we're thinking of things to be thankful for, I think we would be crazy to not be grateful for the fact that we go to a school that allows us to have these awesome Wonderful Wednesdays. If you haven't felt like you've been getting much out of Wonderful Wednesdays (yes that means you laying on the table trying to fall asleep), I suggest you at least try have fun and engage with your athlete today. It's true when they say you only get as much out of a day as you're willing to put in.
Next Steps
3. Discussion Questions:
1. Assign 2 buddies
(NO NTC's)
2. Begin making
welcome posters
1. Does anybody have any questions about what is going to happen today or special needs?
2. Is anyone nervous about what’s going to happen today? (It’s completely normal to feel that way and feel free to share your thoughts. )
3. Talk about what to do if you are not directly involved in what is going on. Try to stay involved and do the activities, remember you get to watch/play a football game later. Please be respectful and involved, the athletes might take it personally if you don’t. Today is about the athletes and having fun, let’s all have fun together! If you have any questions or concerns throughout the day, let us know!
If you need any help throughout the day there will be special olympics representatives in the hall to help!
Full transcript