Every day, Special Olympics Florida works to break-down barriers and stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities. That’s why we should all celebrate nine-year-old Kayla Kosmalskin’s featured appearance on a Miami runway for a Gap fashion show. Kosmalskin, who has Down syndrome, was one of thirteen models featured.
Paired with the announcement that Madeline Stuart, an 18-year-old model with Down syndrome, landed a spot on the New York Fashion Week runway, both stories represent steps in the right direction for inclusion and acceptance of people with disabilities.
At Special Olympics Florida, inclusion is at the heart of our mission. As a matter of fact, it’s in our mission statement:
To provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for people with intellectual disabilities who wish to participate, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.
The ultimate objective of Special Olympics Florida is to help people with intellectual disabilities participate as productive and respected members of society at large, by offering them a fair opportunity to develop and demonstrate their skills and talents.
Many times, people who have an intellectual disability are singled out or bullied for being different. Both stories have received global attention to confront these behaviors. It’s an example that by working together to increase the public’s awareness of the capabilities, talents and skills of all people with intellectual disabilities we can create a stronger community that fosters respect and shows that everyone should be valued.