Almighty God, through your Holy Spirit you created unity in the midst of diversity;
We acknowledge that human diversity is an expression of your manifold love for your creation;
We confess that in our brokenness as human beings we turn diversity into a source of alienation, injustice, oppression, and wounding.
Empower us to recognize and celebrate differences as your great gift to the human family.
Enable us to be the architects of understanding, of respect and love;
Through the Lord, the ground of all unity, we pray.
Credit: Xavier University
Please read this website made by an Autistic La Salle Academy student, Samira Sefiani-Lavine '24, who hopes to educate on Autism history, advocacy, and acceptance. This website is a comprehensive summary of the early research and advancements regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder.
From: The New York Times
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Parents of children with disabilities talk about how their children have navigated life challenges, like moving out, building a social group and finding a career.
Documentary Description: "A non-speaking young man dreams of autistic civil rights. After spending his early years in foster care, without access to language, DJ 'Deej' Savarese found not only a loving family but also a life in words, which he types on a text-to-voice synthesizer. In this first-of-its-kind collaboration between a veteran filmmaker and a non-speaking autistic, Deej challenges misconceptions of what an alternatively communicating autistic can do. As one of only two non-speaking autistics included in regular education from kindergarten through college graduation, DJ expands our understanding of what full inclusion entails and the possibilities it offers to everyone. "
Source: New Day Films
Click the titles or photos to see the trailers of the movies!
Source for Photos and Movie Descriptions: Easter Seals Canada
Dr. Albert Arcand has been involved with Special Olympics Rhode Island since 2000. He is a co-founder and the director of Special Smiles and was a member of the Special Olympics Rhode Island board from 2013 to 2018. Additionally, he has won various medals–including silver and gold medals–as a member of the SONK (Special Olympics North Kingstown) croquet team.
How did you learn about Special Olympics? How did you initially become involved?
I got involved with special needs children in 1992 when I was in dentistry and was working with special-needs patients during an externship at the Veterans Hospital in Nashua, New Hampshire, and after meeting people with Down’s syndrome and Huntington’s chorea, I immediately became enamored with those with special needs.
What is Special Smiles?
It is a program designed to contribute to a national database of dental health questions. It is all done from the same point of view; I teach all the dentists in my group a certain method to evaluate athletes so that the information can be given to the state. This information is very important because the state uses it to allocate funds.
What is your favorite memory from an event or practice?
I have many favorite memories from Special Olympics because I probably get more out of it than the athletes that I am working with. But, one special event was my most recent croquet championship. We [the athletes and other partners] are spoiled because the event is at the Ocean House in Westerly, which most people in Rhode Island know is one of the most beautiful places in the state. This year, I served as the physician at the event. There’s always a bunch of bees, so I had to have an EpiPen and other supplies. It was my first time having this role since I am a dentist. However, I have all sorts of emergency and medical training, so I was able to perform this role last minute. Those at Special Olympics are always grateful for physicians or dentists or whoever is helping out. I had a new athlete this year that I was a bit familiar with because I had helped train him. He was very good but a little unfocused. We actually won all of our matches, but we only got a silver medal. Nevertheless, it was a gratifying experience to play with and get to know a very happy guy.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being a Special Olympics volunteer?
The most rewarding aspect of being a Special Olympics volunteer is the heartfelt joy that I get at an event or any kind of athletic exhibition when athletes win awards. There is always a big celebration. The state police give out the metals, and the athletes are positioned on podiums like at the Olympics. Also, the parents and grandparents are always overjoyed.
What are other programs about inclusion that you have learned about throughout the years?
Inclusion is the heart of Special Olympics. However, there are other programs that also promote inclusivity, like unified high school volleyball. This year, my family and I got to go to the finals between East Greenwich and Hendricken at La Salle. It was absolutely heartwarming to see the athletes and the students from the different schools playing together; all of them are very aggressive and talented. Additionally, I know Barrington high school has a marvelous program for putting on unified plays. Furthermore, Ponaganset high school in particular is an absolutely exemplary inclusion-focused school in the state right now, and Tim Shriver–the Chairman of Special Olympics–even pointed this school out during his visit to Rhode Island.
By: Elle Arcand
National Council on Disability
Everyone's lives have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the lives of those with disabilities, in particular, have been immensely impacted. Read this summary about the effects that pandemic has had on people with disabilities.
Neil Baldwin Documentary- Marvellous
Description: "Marvellous - Neil Baldwin, born just after World War II, is considered to have learning difficulties but he has an appetite for life and, encouraged by his mother Mary, leaves his butchery job to join the circus as Nello the Clown, being undaunted when the circus moves on without him. He moves to Keele University, where Mary has a cleaning job, appointing himself the unofficial greeter to new students, a role rewarded by an honorary degree in 2013. He also gets to manage its unofficial football team, named after him, and in 1992 talks his way into becoming the kit man and mascot of his beloved football team Stoke City."
Source: YouTube, Movie Central
Conversation with Toby Jones
Toby Jones, who plays Neil Baldwin in Marvellous, talks about his role in the film and his awe of Neil's story.
"Neil 'Nello' Baldwin unveils Longton market sign"
"Former Stoke City FC kit man Neil 'Nello' Baldwin has unveiled a street named after him in an indoor market.
New signs were installed to help visitors of Longton Market, in Stoke-on-Trent, who struggled to locate traders' stalls.
Names were chosen that reflected famous people and places, and Nello Street was an obvious choice, said trader Chris Walker.
Mr. Baldwin was the subject of the Bafta-winning drama Marvellous in 2014.
"We did not think we would be able to convince him to come down," Mr. Walker said.
Mr. Baldwin, who has learning difficulties, won freedom of the city of Stoke-on-Trent in May."