Special Olympics: Redefining Boundaries

How the Special Olympics is a platform to redefine the boundaries of what is possible for all of us.

Fifty years ago, the world began to change for the better as Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy-Shriver turned her frustration over injustices endured by people with intellectual learning disabilities into a movement that would change the lives of millions. What started as a summer camp, is today the largest sports organisation in the world for children and adults with intellectual learning disabilities. What better example to share with our students of how 'great oaks from little acorns grow'. As the special olympics movement continues to grow, the joy of Unified Sports is bringing together people with and without intellectual disabilities across the world.

The first ever Special Olympics World Games will be held in Abu Dhabi between 14th and 22nd March, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE's Armed Forces. These will be the most unified games in the 50-year history of the Special Olympics movement! What a privilege it is to be able to show our support for People of Determination in Abu Dhabi and to share in the UAE’s vision of a unified and inclusive society. The Special Olympics is yet another occasion to show the importance of accepting and embracing differences in the Year of Tolerance.

The British International School Abu Dhabi is immensely proud to support the World Games. The BIS Abu Dhabi Special Olympics Committee aims to provide opportunities for every student to learn from and engage with the ethos of the Special Olympics. To enable our students to be a part of the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world is certainly something to celebrate! We are embracing this opportunity by arranging visits for students across the school to attend games in venues across Abu Dhabi; a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of our staff and students. We are hosting a guest speaker from the Official Special Olympic Committee to speak to our students about the experiences of competing athletes and will be tailoring learning experiences across the curriculum to further promote resilience, perseverance, acceptance and inclusion. We can all learn so much from this event. We are very proud of the many students, staff and parents volunteering at the games; a tangible example of how “alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” (Helen Keller).

We strive for our students to ‘Be Ambitious’ in everything they do, we endeavor to instill a growth-mindset in our students; encouraging students to turn a “can’t do it”, into a “can’t do it yet”, the Special Olympics provides a platform to redefine the boundaries of what is possible for all of us. The Special Olympics not only gives visibility to people with intellectual disabilities but reinforces the fact that every child can learn, just not always in the same way. And that is perfectly fine.

Aine McGlue - Assistant Headteacher, Director Student Wellbeing and
Alan Cocker - Deputy Head of Primary