Special Olympics Tournament Teaches Social Skills
The program was held at Eisenhower Intermediate.
It was one of the only opportunities for students with severe disabilities to participate in an intramural sport, and that culminated in the Special Olympics Peer Basketball program at Eisenhower Intermediate School Thursday.
Caroline Czysz, a teacher at Eisenhower, has been working with the PTO since December to bring this program, which already exists at one of the primary schools, to the intermediate building.
“Both students with severe disabilities and their non-classified peers have been playing basketball every Tuesday after school since January,” she said. “We have worked on motor skills, sportsmanship, teamwork and acceptance.”
The athletes, Czysz said, are volunteers, and peers were recommended by teachers. Then, she said, four teacher volunteers served as coaches, four high school students served as assistant coaches and one peer model was from the middle school.
Czysz said the program has been nothing short of a success.
“I am so proud of all the athletes,” she said. “They have made lasting friendships and developed valuable social skills.”
The tournament itself included games played by athletes, coaches and high school boys, and there was a performance by the varsity cheerleaders.
And now, Czysz said, they are hoping to expand.
“Due to its success, we are hoping to expand the program for next year to include another season and sport, perhaps fall soccer,” she said.