I have Autism. So what is Autism? Autism is a disorder that has many characteristics and each Autistic person has their own experience with how they deal with their disability but, in my case, I can’t filter out the millions of different sensory stimuli that we all experience every day. When I was 18 months old I learned to block out about 90% of what was going on around me, I stopped talking. I had a hard time interacting with my family and I wouldn’t play with my toys like other kids would but, I would line the toys up in patterns. I would throw mega tantrums because I couldn’t communicate and I was frustrated.When I was diagnosed back in 1996 the doctors told my parents that I would probably need to be institutionalize by the time I was a teenager. The doctors weren’t even expecting that I would be able to talk.
I didn’t start talking again until I was four when my step dad got me to say “may I have a chip please” by having me repeat each word after him. Language has always been difficult for me because during the time when kids usually learn language, I had blocked myself off so I wasn’t continually overwhelmed by the world around me. It’s like English is my second language(and still is to this day). As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned how to filter but, I didn’t get good at it until I reached about 9th grade.
Special Olympic is very important to me because although I have tried to be involved with other sports with my “typical” peers, I was never able to communicate well enough to be a part of a team. Communication has as much to do with reading body language and facial expression as it does with talking. Non verbal communication is the hardest thing for an autistic person to understand.
Special Olympic It has opened doors for me that was once dark and closed. Those doors are the doors to opportunity. Through Special Olympics I have become a more confident person. The sense of community in Special Olympics is very similar to Nova. In both places I’ve found that people accept others for who they are and people don’t have to try to be someone that they aren’t. Through special Olympic and Nova, I’ve made more friends in the past 4 years than I’ve ever had.
Since I learned how to swim three years ago I enjoyed keeping track of my times and seeing my improvement. In the Pacific Northwest swim league I swim against my own times rather than trying to win races because I’m swimming against people that in some cases have been swimming since they were three. If you don’t concentrate on your own accomplishments you could get frustrated and burnt out. When I’m swimming with special olympics, I’m swimming against good swimmers but, they also have similar challenges that I do with coordination and language processing. It’s very cool to be able to actually have the possibility that I could win.
The first meet I went to in Special Olympics was the region meet during my 10th grade year. My parents gave me all the usual talks about how I should just do my best and have fun and that it doesn’t matter what place I take. I was really nervous. I knew that I would be closer in ability to these swimmers but, I also knew that I needed to swim as best as I could. I swam hard and I got a bronze metal. I was totally excited because this was the first metal I’d ever gotten. I swam two more races and got another bronze and then a gold swimming my favorite stroke, the back stroke.
Besides the competition at state which is held at the King county aquatics center, there are other activities that are happening that same weekend. At the aquatics center they have an arts and crafts room set up that you can go down and blow off some nerves and talk with other swimmers. At joint base lewis mccord all the other sports compete the same weekend. At that location they have a dance on Saturday night and then on Sunday they have a carnival event that you can go to (if you aren’t too tired from competing)
Since that time I have competed at all the regional meets and I’ve been to state all three years too. To go to state, you need to win a gold. Some silver medalist also are able to go by that is determined by a drawing to fill the extra spaces left. There is also the chance to go to Nationals or Internationals. To go to those meets you have to get at least a gold. All gold medalists have their names put into a lottery to go on to that next level of competition. When they drew for the internationals in Greece, One male and one female from Washington state went. That’s two people from our state across all the different sports. It’s a great honor to be the person that represents our state or our country.
What is also great about special olympics is that no one “ages out”. In the Pacific Northwest swim league you have to leave before you turn 19 and then you could join Masters which is 18 and over. One of the other challenges of Autism is change. I know that Special Olympics will be part of me for the rest of my life. With so much change that is happening with graduation and starting college, special Olympics is one of the “constants” in my life. It keeps be centered. I swim once a week with Special Olympics for two hours, every Saturday but, I also swim with the Pacific Northwest league 4 days a week. I need that activity to keep me from getting antsy and I sleep better. I just overall feel better.
Since I’ve started competing with Special Olympics I’ve earned 5 gold metals at regional, a 5 gold at state, 3 silver regional metals and 4 silvers at state and 2 regional bronze metals and one bronze at state. And no, it’s not all about winning but, it feels so good to swim my best and get recognition for my achievements. This year at state I won two silver medals and a bronze but, I felt really proud of how I did because the races were so close. The guy that got the gold metals was 30 years old and was a lot more muscular than I am. In both races I was less than a half second behind him. I made him work for that metal :eek:)
Just this year special olympics has starting having Unified teams compete in relays at the meets. A unified team has two special Olympian swimmers and two typical swimers. It’s good because in some cases swimmers have not known anyone with a disability. It gives everyone a chance to make friends with someone they may not have had a chance to get to know. I know that Brian in involved with the soccer team through special olympics at Nova and they went to the Unified soccer league competition in West Seattle. This is a great way to get involved.
So, how did special olympics start?
In the early 60’s, Eunice Kennedy Shriver saw how unfairly people were treated people with mental disabilities, in most cases people would be sent to mental institutions because families did not have the support and knowledge to be able to care for their mentally disabled family at home. Even when I was diagnosed back in 1996 the doctors told my parents that I would probably need to be institutionalize by the time I was a teenager. The doctors weren’t even expecting that I would be able to talk. People back in the 60’s with disabilities were not allowed to go to regular schools and did not have any place to play. Eunice decided to do something about this issue.
The original idea was to focus on what they can do and not on what they can’t do Eunice believed from the start, with lots of training, the right encouragement and instructions, people of disabilities can learn with the enjoyment and benefits from participation individual and team sport alike. Through competition, people with mental disabilities benefit mentally, socially, spiritually a much stronger family bond. Through participation and observation, the community on a grand scale is united in understanding people with mental disabilities with the pursuit of equality, respect and acceptance. Eunice started her training in her own back yard in the summer time. In the summer of 1968, Special Olympics organized the first Olympic Games in Chicago Illinois and eventually became global. In December of 1968 Special Olympics got established as a nonprofit charitable organization under the District of Columbia law.
The object of the Special Olympics mission is to create an environment where people with mental disabilities can be respected, accepted and given a chance to become more productive citizens. All Special Olympics Sports at state, national and international games reflect the values, standards, traditions, ceremonies and events of the present day Olympics movement. There are many enriched sports to celebrate the moral and spiritual qualities of a person with mental disabilities to enhance their dignity and self-esteem. Every Special Olympian athlete will be trained in that sport with full participation regardless of economic issues under the most favorable conditions possible. The Spirit of Special Olympics includes all walk of life. For the oath of Special Olympics is "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let be brave in the attempt." An old saying that originated from the Roman Gladiators as they entered the arena.
Recently in Washington state a programs was started within special Olympics called ALPs which means the Athlete Leadership Programs. I was chosen to be a part of the program to become an ambassador for Special Olympics. Through this program I’m learning how to write and give speeches to different groups. We speak at fundraisers for Special Olympics because it does not cost special Olympians anything to compete so all funding for special Olympic has to be raised. We speak to politicians to gain support and funding from the government. We also speak to groups of people to get out the word about special olympics. Each of us needs to use the abilities that we were given because they are a gift.
Now that I'm at Masters Swim, I have to hike after dark 3 days a week and every Saturday morning I've been getting coach training from Special Olympics but I still get my workout on Saturdays I am currently on the R word campain that was signed by President Obama not too long ago to get people to stop saying the word "Retard meaning stupid".
If you have any questions of what you just read and if you wanted to question about disabilities and Homosexuality comparered to science, please don't hesitate to PM me. I have some friends and family who are homosexually and are more than happy to represent themselves, thanks :)

Studying History, science, mythology, Politics, swimming, geneology.
Jan 6, 1994 (Age: 30)
Clinton, Washington
Country Flag
USA - Washington
United States
Mother tongue
  1. English
Ethnic group
15/32 British, 5/32 German, 9/64 Irish, 1/8 Scots Gaelic, 5/64 French, 1/32 Welsh
Special Olympic Ambassador, City of Seattle/Filing Clerk
Which EU country have you been to ?
  1. None
Y-DNA haplogroup
mtDNA haplogroup




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