A NEW KIND OF JOY: The Story of the Special Olympics by James Haskins

A NEW KIND OF JOY: The Story of the Special Olympics

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A Sunday supplement-style report on the evolution and good work of the ""Special Olympics"" project--an outgrowth of the Kennedy Foundation--which sponsors physical training programs and athletic meets for the mentally retarded. The first Olympics took place in Chicago in 1968, and in 1975 the fourth, expanded version involved 3,200 athletes from all states and eight foreign countries. Until the Games, not too much attention was given to organized physical education for the ""different"" young person. The author highlights some important accomplishments of the Special Olympics: improvement in physical coordination, sharpened abilities to handle relationships at home and in strange environments, growth in self-confidence. And there are those appealing case histories, from the triumph of severely retarded Stevie, who performed a ""deep and dramatic"" bow, twice, after completing his swim, to the case of Joe, a formerly overweight and sluggish boy with Downs' Syndrome, who lost weight and gained skills and a new pride with his running and jumping. Haskins interviews parents and teachers, and some of the participants--two are delightfully articulate. Certainly an adequate review of a praiseworthy enterprise, although considering the variety of institutional and family backgrounds as well as the many kinds of disability, one could wish for a more searching treatment than this rosy string of success stories.

Pub Date: July 9th, 1976
Publisher: Doubleday