Sargent Shriver Peace Corps Founding Director, Special Olympics Leader, Dies at 95

The world today remembers Sargent Shriver, founder of the Peace Corps, former ambassador, and Special Olympics Chairman of the Board Emeritus, who died Tuesday at 95.

Sargent Shriver was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 20003, and his daughter, Maria Shriver, became a visible Alzheimer’s activist. His late wife, Eunice Shriver, founded the Special Olympics, and Sargent Shriver was a leader the Special Olympics, as well, helping it to grow into an international organization. Special Olympics athletes who are trained as public speakers are given the special title Sargent Shriver International Global Messengers.

R. Sargent Shriver, the Kennedy in-law who became the founding director of the Peace Corps, the architect of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty, a United States ambassador to France and the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1972, died on Tuesday in Bethesda, Md. He was 95.

His family announced his death in a statement.

Mr. Shriver was found to have Alzheimer’s disease in 2003 and on Sunday was admitted to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, where he died.

via R. Sargent Shriver, Kennedy In-Law and Peace Corps Founding Director, Dies at 95 – NYTimes.com.

Pediatrician prescribes Special Olympics for children

Dr. Rolanda Maxim encourages parents and doctors to take a different perspective in helping children with developmental challenges improve their social, gross motor and communications skills. And she thinks Special Olympics is a program that doctors and parents can agree on.

That’s exactly why Dr. Maxim, medical director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at the Knights of Columbus Developmental Center at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, wrote a prescription for Special Olympics Missouri for eight-year-old Morgan Davidson.

“We appreciate Special Olympics because, instead of addressing problems with medications, we can use natural ways of improving someone’s life,” Dr. Maxim explains.

via Special Olympics Missouri – Read Inspiring Stories.

Florida teen swims his way to 2011 Special Olympics in Greece

The sky is spitting an afternoon shower as Michael Tuason arrives for practice at the New Port Richey Rec Center pool with his mom. The tall, lanky teenager greets his waiting dad with a brief “hi,” then quickly strips to his bathing suit and tucks his black, shoulder-length hair under his navy blue cap.

Before long, the star of the Pasco Piranhas Special Olympics swim team is in the water, ready to go.

“How many?” Michael, 18, asks his coach, Rita Miller.

She barely gets out, “Give me 20,” before he’s off, swimming the freestyle and easily lapping the two other swimmers sharing the lane.

“Just look at him go,” Miller says, “He won’t stop till he’s done all 20 laps and then he’ll ask me again, ‘How many?’

“Now you see why he’s going to the World Games.”

via Autistic Pasco County teen swims his way to 2011 Special Olympics in Greece – St. Petersburg Times.

Autism and Summer: Summer Special Olympics

Nearly 3,000 athletes with autism, Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities are headed to Nebraska for the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games.

The Summer Games July 18-23 in Lincoln will feature athletes competing in 13 sports -  including swimming, soccer, track & field, bowling, golf, bocce, volleyball, gymnastics, tennis, powerlifting and  softball.

Organizers have erected a Special Olympics Town for the athletes, 1,000 coaches and 15,000 friends and family members expected to attend.

One feature – a 20-foot-long memory wall where people can write tributes to Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who died last year.

While this national event is huge – and the world Special Olympics next year in Athens will be even bigger, Special Olympics events are held nationwide and around the world.  (Sixteen Special Olympics soccer players showed the world just how talented they are during the World Cup.)  At any level, as the athletes compete, they change attitudes about intellectual disabilities, and they become more confident and empowered.

Do you have a family member competing in the Special Olympics? Everyone’s a winner in these Games!

via Pershing to be Special Olympics Town.

Tim Shriver to speak at Special Olympics health symposium

Tim Shriver, CEO of Special Olympics International and son of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, will be keynote speaker Saturday in Omaha at a Special Olympics health symposium on how to improve the health of people with intellectual disabilities.

Shriver titled his speech: “Have We Closed the Gap on Unmet Health Needs for People With Intellectual Disability?”

Have we?

No, he says. Many health-care professionals still don’t have the training to deal with the quality-of-life issues of people with intellectual disabilities. They have been trained to cure people, not support this population and help these people reach their potential.

via Tim Shriver to speak at Special Olympics health symposium.

Surfing in the Special Olympics?

In waist-deep water off Cocoa Beach, 32-year-old Dawn Blanchard is taking only the second surfing lesson of her life, yet she manages to stand, however briefly, on nearly every wave she catches. And each time she does, she flashes a double thumbs-up, beams joyously and announces, “I did it! I did it!”

This continues for two hours. Yet no one — not the surf instructors, not the considerable crowd of earnest spectators on the beach, certainly not Blanchard herself — seems to weary.

“It’s awesome,” said Deb Spence, a Special Olympics swim coach who cheers from the beach. “She’s actually doing a lot better than I did when I started.”

Blanchard is one of Spence’s Special Olympics swimmers, and this surf lesson is part of a grand experiment to try to introduce surfing as a Special Olympics sport. It’s a collaboration between Cocoa Beach’s iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop, which is picking up the tab, and Special Olympics Florida. The program launched a week ago with eight athletes, ages 18 to 43. All of them have intellectual disabilities, from Down syndrome to autism.

via Surfing in the Special Olympics? The seeds are being planted – OrlandoSentinel.com.