Harris Poll: Special Olympics is Top Disability Organization

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Special Olympics was named the Top Disability Organization in the prestigious Harris Poll 28th Annual EquiTrend Study released April 20. The poll reveals the strongest brands in nearly 100 categories across a wide variety of industries including media, travel, financial, automotive, entertainment, retail, restaurant and household brands, based on consumer response. Measuring brands’ health over time, the EquiTrend Brand Equity Index is comprised of three factors – familiarity, quality and purchase consideration. More than 97,000 U.S. consumers assessed more than 3,800 brands as part of the study.
Related Website: Learn more

Wellness Wednesday from Special Olympics

Taken from Special Olympics Facebook page: For today’s #WellnessWednesday, we’re asking for input from our adult athletes who are interested in sharing their insights with the Health Disparities Project team at the University of New Hampshire. This five-year research project has focused on identifying why access to health care and health outcomes differ among people with different types of disabilities. They are asking adults with disabilities to answer a brief health survey before the project releases its major findings in Washington, DC, this fall at the annual Research-to-Policy Roundtable meeting. The link to the survey is:https://unh.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_8jJ6rl41yrnjVIN.

While the website says the survey closes on July 25, it has been extended to July 30 so more Special Olympics athletes have time to participate, if interested.

Vital Signs just released today

CDC Physical Activity May 2014More than 21 million US adults 18–64 years of age have a disability. Half of adults with a disability get no aerobic physical activity. Working age adults with disabilities who do not get any aerobic physical activity are 50 percent more likely than their active peers to have a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, or heart disease, according to a
Vital Signs report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Physical activity is the closest thing we have to a wonder drug,”said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Unfortunately, many adults with disabilities don’t get regular physical activity. That can change if doctors and other health care providers take a more active role helping their patients with disabilities develop a physical fitness plan that’s right for them.”
Most adults with disabilities are able to participate in some aerobic physical activity which has benefits for everyone by reducing the risk of serious chronic diseases. Some of the benefits from regular aerobic physical activity include increased heart and lung function; better performance in daily living activities; greater independence; decreased chances of developing chronic diseases; and improved mental health. Read the CDC’s Vital Signs report here.

Special Olympics can help with this issue. We provide physical activity to those with intellectual disabilities through our year round events and programs. To learn more check out our website.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

On Tuesday, December 3rd, the United Nations will celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities.” The Theme is, “break barriers, open doors: for an inclusive society for all.”  This day is a great day to talk with others about Project Unify.

How ill you spend this day?  Learn more here.

Project Unify

What Can YOU Do

Did you know that 50% more Special Olympics athletes have jobs than do their counterparts who are not involved in Special Olympics? Special Olympics works with the Campaign for Disability Employment to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities by encouraging employers and others to recognize the value and talent they bring to the workplace.

“Because” is a new, inspirational video public service announcement for What can YOU do? the Campaign for Disability Employment. The PSA shown below challenges viewers to rethink how they perceive career prospects for youth with disabilities and to recognize that we all benefit when young people with disabilities are able to develop their skills and talents into successful careers. Learn more about the Campaign for Disability Employment.

Leveling the Playing Field

Friday was a groundbreaking day for people with disabilities in the US. The Department of Education released new guidance to schools requiring equal access to sports for people with disabilities. One of the clarifications says, “Exclusion of students from sports activities is not permissible.  Therefore, if children with disabilities cannot be accommodated within existing programs, alternatives need to be developed.” This is wonderful news for our organization and our advocates. Special Olympics Louisiana looks forward to establishing new and enhancing existing relationships with the schools in Louisiana to promote equality for all students.

Read the full release from Special Olympics Louisiana here
Read more about it here
Read the USA Today article here

Special Olympics teaches…

CEO CornerSeveral months ago I was talking with a parent of a Special Olympics athlete.  I asked the Dad how Special Olympics had impacted his family.  His response was, “Special Olympics has made it okay for people to look at people with disabilities”.  Immediately I knew what he meant.  Many of us were raised not to stare at people with disabilities.  Special Olympics made it okay to look, and made it okay to engage persons with disabilities in conversation and to have them as friends.  If you have a child with a disability, if you are a volunteer, what has Special Olympics taught you?

– Pat Carpenter Bourgeois, President and CEO of Special Olympics Louisiana