Special Olympics International Launches LET'S CHANGE THE GAME Challenge on the Eve of the Special Olympics World Games and the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
As America prepares to host the Special Olympics World Games and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, The Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight into Intellectual Disabilities in the 21st Century reveals a nation in the midst of change. The groundbreaking poll from Shriver Media and Special Olympics International, supported by the Richard and Cecilia Attias Foundation, conducted online by Harris Poll in July 2015, reveals that the more than half of Americans who have personal contact with someone with intellectual disabilities are increasingly accepting and positive. It also exposes that lack of contact has left a legacy of misinformation, dated stereotypes, ignorance and fear in the other nearly half of Americans. When it comes to attitudes towards people with ID, experience is the game-changing ingredient.
"Fifty years after my mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded Special Olympics in our backyard and ignited a passion and purpose for athletes around the world, we thought it was a critical time to take a deep dive into our national attitudes. We wanted to know where we are today, where we are going and who is going to take us there," said Maria Shriver, founder of Shriver Media and Special Olympics International board member. "As a mother and activist I am deeply encouraged that young people, especially young women, are paving the way to a more conscious, caring and compassionate society."
The Shriver Report Snapshot breaks as Los Angeles prepares to welcome more than 6,500 athletes and 2,000 coaches representing 165 countries at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. The global event is the largest held in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games.
"The Special Olympics movement has been a catalyst for connecting people with intellectual disabilities and encouraging greater understanding and inclusion across the world," said Janet Froetscher, chief executive officer of Special Olympics. "Through our Special Olympics Health programs, Special Olympics Unified Sports programs and Unified Strategy for Schools and Youth, we have witnessed transformation of attitudes and perceptions about people with intellectual disabilities. The Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight into Intellectual Disabilities in the 21st Century reveals that experience, inclusion and intervention are the ways to combat isolation, intolerance and injustice. All of us have the ability to change the game and create inclusion in our communities and we are so excited to have everyone come PLAY with us."
The #LetsChangetheGameChallenge is a call to action to people throughout the country to Play, Learn, Accept and say "Yes!" to including people with ID. Visit SpecialOlympics.org to take action.
"The findings of The Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight into Intellectual Disabilities in the 21st Century are both eye-opening and game changing. It is clear there remains a significant amount of confusion about intellectual disabilities among Americans and we are honored to partner with Shriver Media and Special Olympics International to start this meaningful conversation," said Deana Percassi, vice president of Public Relations Research for Harris Poll.
The Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight into Intellectual Disabilities in the 21st Century was made possible by the generosity of the Richard and Cecilia Attias Foundation. "Through the outstanding work of organizations such as the Special Olympics, we have seen how sport can play a crucial role in promoting tolerance and diversity in communities. The findings of the Shriver Report Snapshot demonstrate how we must work together to create broad-reaching measures that put inclusion at the top of our agenda," said Richard Attias. Shriver Report Snapshots are an extension of the award winning Shriver Report series. They inform, provide insight and ignite impact around the biggest social issues of our time.
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