SSD Special Olympics Mission Statement
To provide sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for students being served by Special School District, in order to give them opportunities in the community that develop physical fitness, courage, and friendships with other athletes and non disabled peers.
Welcome to SSD Special Olympics
We hope you will take the time to read through this and get your students involved! It really is an excellent opportunity and experience for both you the teacher as well as your students. If after reading this, you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 314.989.7524.
Physical education (PE) plays a critical role in educating the whole student. Like other academic courses of study, physical education is based upon rigorous national standards that define what students should know and be able to do as a result of participation. Physical education is unique to the school curriculum as it is the only program that provides students with opportunities to learn motor skills, develop fitness, and gain understanding about the importance of physical activity. The SSD Special Olympics program was designed to serve as a resource for teachers to enhance the physical education curriculum. By participating in the Special Olympics program students will be provided an individualized, developmentally appropriate, and personally challenging instructional program that will advance the knowledge, confidence, skills, and motivation needed to engage in a lifelong, healthy, active lifestyle.
According to the National Standards, the Federal Law (PL 94-142, PL `0`-476, PL 105-17) mandates that physical education be provided to students with disabilities and defines Physical Education as the development of; physical and motor skills, fundamental motor skills and patterns (throwing, catching, walking, running, etc.), and skills in aquatics, dance, and individual and group games and sports (including lifetime sports.) Adapted physical education is Physical Education which has been adapted or modified, so that it is as appropriate for the person with a disability as it is for the person without a disability.
The SSD Special Olympics program not only serves as a resource for teachers to access in order to assist them in meeting the National Standards it is also aligned to many of the Missouri Grade Level Expectations (GLE’S) for physical education as they relate to the MAP and the core subject areas as they relate to the MAP-A. Each year, following participation, in the SSD program teachers will be required to complete an evaluation showing which GLE’s were met by participating in the program.
With the increase in obesity nationwide, the benefits gained from physical activity include: disease prevention, decreased morbidity and premature mortality, and increased mental health and self-esteem. The benefits of physical activity and participation in athletic programs such as Special Olympics can also affect academic learning. Regular aerobic exercise produces an increased number of capillaries servicing the brain which allows for a greater exchange of nutrients and waste products. This optimizes oxygen and glucose delivery to the brain which can help improve brain performance.
Additionally, participation in the Special Olympics athletic program incorporates concepts of math, reading/English language arts, and science into the physical education realm.
The ultimate goal of physical education will always be participation in health-enhancing physical activity for a lifetime which the Special Olympics program at SSD helps to promote.
During the school year, the Special Olympics Missouri/SSD program offers a variety of athletic competitions and trainings. SSD Special Olympics is open to any student enrolled who receives services from SSD. The program best facilitates students in a self-contained program in a partner district or one of our buildings, however it is available to all students enrolled who have a teacher willing to serve as a coach. The participation of a student in the SSD Special Olympics program should be a team decision (parent, student, teacher, and administrator). If the team feels that the student would benefit from participation in the program and the student is receiving services from SSD, the student is welcome to participate. If a student does not have a cognitive diagnosis and is already successfully participating in sports within his/her home school, the SSD Special Olympics may not be the best for this student.
Area events and trainings are offered throughout the year with an average of three events per month. Local high schools and sport facilities usually host these events. Some events are limited in participation due to available facilities and several popular sports have multiple competition sites to accommodate interested athletes. Student volunteers from these host sites are directly involved in the planning and execution of the event as members of organizing committees and "buddies" for the athletes the day of the event.
Athletes participating in these competitions are encouraged to train prior to competition. Athlete skills testing should be completed prior to each event and the scores sent to the Special Olympics SSD office so that athletes are heated against other athletes at their age and ability level. It is important that assessments are accurate in order to assure appropriate competition levels.
There is no cost to the teacher and/or the athletes who participate. All events occur during the course of the school day. Some sports are from 10 AM - noon and others from 10 AM - 1 PM. We look forward to seeing you at our events!