I first heard about Special Olympics Kansas when Josh was 3 – but had to wait until he was 8 years old to enroll as an athlete. I was excited to get him into Special Olympics because it would be a safe, understanding environment where he could be himself and not be judged, but still be challenged.
Josh’s first sport was bowling, and he has added Unified soccer and Unified Basketball. Being a Special Olympics athlete has brought out a competitive side in him that I have never seen before, I love it! He strives to do and be better, he has learned about game rules and working as a team. He has matured and is doing things I didn’t expect.
It brought tears to my eyes when Josh was asked to travel to Colorado for the Unified Sporting KC game. He was able to travel without me, which was a growing experience for both of us.
SOKS has opened up a world of possibilities and a side of Josh I didn’t dare dream about or even see. He looks forward to his sports and training. When I watch him, I don’t see Autism or a disability. Now I see the things he can do and the future looks so much more possible and obtainable.
I don’t know if Special Olympics Kansas can comprehend how a simple game of basketball or soccer has such a profound impact on social, emotional, physical and mental health of not only the athletes, but the families as a whole. It’s a culture– more so than just a sporting outlet.
Special Olympics breathes life into a person to become and do more, despite their disability, as it disappears into an ability.
It has allowed me, as a mom, to once again dream for my son!
A blessed and grateful mom of a Special Olympics Kansas athlete,