About 2 weekends back, I had the chance to observe and interact with a group of children with intellectual disabilities. These children were basically born with Down’s syndrome but to me, these kids truly are quite special. Yes, unlike normal children, they take a longer time to comprehend things, even things as simple as opening the door. But having worked with some before during my college days and now with this group. I know that just like every other child out there, they try their very best to do everything that was given to them.
In this case, it’s swimming. You must be thinking, “Why the heck are you, a guy who can’t swim is doing working with a bunch of kids at the pool?”. Well, the one that’s doing all the swimming are these kids, I’m there to observe, encourage and help motivate them. Simple right?
Alot of times, most people fail to forget that these children with disabilities are just like any child out there. They too have ambitions, they too also want to play, have fun, be loved. These selected few has been encouraged by their family members and the coaches to swim. They had their chance at trying out the sports they like and they went for the swim. 2 of them are quite new, only have been swimming actively for the past 5 months but still, when you look at them at the pool, I could tell that they are truly giving it their all.
Why work so hard? That’s cause the Special Olympics World Games are just around the corner and they hope to do their best to be selected to represent their country. This is an international sporting competition for athletes with intellectual disabilities, organized by Special Olympics and shouldn’t be mistaken for the Paralympic Games that’s held together with the Summer Olympics. The Special Olympics are so huge that it had to be organized a year prior to the summer Olympics and is attended by a lot of athletes from around the world.
Was told that 2 of the kids felt so motivated that they had been training since early in the morning, as early as 5am and by 4pm, has swam a combined total of 1,000 laps and it could be more too as they only started counting the laps that was swam from 9am and not the earlier stretch. Was told by one of the child’s mom that the reason why they encourage the kids to swim so much is cause they have so much pent up energy that if they don’t try and release all those energy, they’ll be hyper active late into the night. And as all parents know, we wouldn’t want to have a hyper active child running around while we try to rest for the night. Right?
The day I had with these kids had truly been a memorable and enjoyable one. I hope them all the best in their quest to be selected to represent their country and I look forward to having a chance to work with them again in the near future.