Do you know of anyone with experience in getting Downs children interested
in running? I have a nine year old that I would love to get involved in
He will be able to participate in Special Olympics this Spring and
I anticipate trying that, but thought I would ask for any helpful hints or
experiences that might help me prepare him or spur his interest.
His name is
Ben and he does not have any severe physical conditions like heart murmur or
anything like that, although he does tire easily.
I think it would be a
great way for him to fight the weight gain many Downs kids struggle with and
will keep him healthy. Plus it is something that he is physically
coordinated enough to do with some success.
I sure would appreciate any ideas you or anyone else might have regarding an
approach to getting him interested. I found your address by looking in my
Runner's World magazine and finding that there is a kids' running Web page. I
thought that was terrific.
Nicholas, Run for a lifetime,
You are doing the right thing by getting Ben involved with the Special Olympics. It is a wonderful organization. I just read the book Way to go Alex to my class. They loved the book. It's by Robin Pulver. It's an inspirational story about a young Special Olympian. It's just a great story, but I couldn't read it without almost crying so I had my one of my best readers, Elizabeth, take it home, practice it,
and read it to our class. PLEASE pick up this book at the library and read it.
Of course you can get Ben ready by running with him now. Follow the same ideas I put forth in my Running with Josie article. The same motivators will help Ben, but he'll need an adult with him. Make it fun. Please spend lots of time browsing on our Web site. You must know the kinds of things that work well as incentives for Ben. See if you can adapt any of our programs for him. Perhaps the Run the Seasons progam, where each time you run, you bring back something seasonal to record on a chart. It will help him know and understand our world better.
Best of luck. Keep us posted. I've also received a response to you from Jen who is a Special Olympian coach. I will post it soon.
Best of luck to you and your son.
Note from the kid's editor: I plan on attending some Special Olympic track events this spring. I have always wanted to do this.
Photo of Matthew Linde, RW, Carol Goodrow, KR, and Parker Morse, RW at Runner's World, Emmaus, PA, July 2000, by Melanie Strong, RW.
Do you have any questions about a child's running program? Feel free to email the kid's editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.