Usually, it takes a sibling, a neighbor or a friend. Somebody with an intellectual disability who is close to us and could make us understand how gifted he or she is.
But what if we have no opportunity to meet such a person?
Then we might have adopted certain stereotypes, or we might believe there is no way to communicate or to see his or her unique qualities. Approximately 2.5 percent of the global population has an intellectual disability, as many as 200 million people. We can spend our lives without having discovered their potential. Isn’t it unbelievable?
I never thought that a person with an intellectual disability was somehow defective, a less valuable human being. But I do admit that I had no idea how talented he or she could be. I was lucky enough to have an eye-opening experience as a journalist that changed my view completely. Last month, I went to Austria, invited by The Coca Cola Company, to cover the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Winter Games. Since 1968, the company has led a true commitment to showcasing the unlimited potential of individuals with intellectual disabilities and the power of sports to bring people together and transform lives.
Well, this trip transformed my life, too.
People with intellectual disabilities are empowered to achieve their dreams. I experienced this first-hand, in the heart of the four-mountain ski complex at Ramsau Rittisberg, on the first competition day.
More on Journey
- Getting to the Corps: Young (and Sometimes Unlikely) Conservationists Reflect on Their Time in L.A.’s Backyard Forest
- EKOCENTER: The New Buzzword On College Campuses
- Project Last Mile Expands to Strengthen Health Systems in Liberia and Swaziland
- More Than 3 Million Liters of Water Delivered to Support Peru Flood Victims
- Building a Stronger Community for Refugee Youth in Turkey