“I don’t have a dis-ability, I have a different-ability’- Robert M. Hensel
Special Olympics has changed the lives of many special children who have been deprived of getting a chance of self improvement. Everyone has a certain inherent energy in themselves and if channelized properly, it will lead to better creativity. The same is true with Makwana Utsav, a little boy from Bhavnagar, Gujarat, who was hyper active with an IQ of 35-49, who had delayed speech problem like many other children with Intellectual disabilities. His dream of playing football was not realized until he was brought to Ankur School, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, which is closely associated with Special Olympics. Participating in the Young Athlete activities transformed him into a new individual. Today, he emerges a confident young boy who can do any sport activities on his own which is no less than a miracle.
He enjoys dribbling and passing the ball. He is very good at throwing the ball and has acquired many other skills. He is calm and composed and focused in whatever activities he takes up. He never leaves any activities half done. He surely shows signs of growing into a good sportsperson. No one in his close surroundings could believe that a child with Intellectual Disabilities could play football regularly.
Makwana Utsav was diagnosed with Moderate Intellectual Disability, where symptoms became clear within the first few years of life. He had difficulty in speaking and hence never used to communicate with others. For his parents it was a challenge to deal with a child with special needs along with their daily struggle. Makwana’s father works as skilled labor in a factory while his mother is a home maker. He came to Ankur as a five year old struggling to utter a word or two. Ankur and Special Olympics Bharat has shaped him well. He has improved his concentration and has got better control over his movements now.
Makwana, now 14 yrs old, joined SO-Bharat 4 years back. After being introduced to the Young Athlete activities his school ensured that he practiced daily. Over a period of 4 weeks changes were observed in his behavior. Although his communication is restricted, his comprehension and willing to do as told has improved. He has become self-reliant as far as daily activities are concerned. He likes to take part in Special Olympics activities from time to time.
Special Olympics have been urging people worldwide to treat the disabled section of society with care and respect. They are human beings and deserve better treatment. Makwana’s story brings a ray of hope to many children with Disabilities who are waiting to get a new direction in life, to develop will power and be a winner!