Social interaction is very important. Especially to those with intellectual disabilities. For many years people with intellectual disabilities were treated with little respect and isolated.
Then Eunice Kennedy Shriver came along and began Special Olympics and gave athletes a place to shine and feel respected in the community! This is where I met new friends and learned to cycle. I have been a Special Olympics Maryland athlete for 19 years and I ride 1,200 miles a year around my home town. My younger brother, Kevin, races Cyclocross, a crazy sport that involves a lot of all-terrain riding.
One night he asked me if I would ever try Cyclocross. I said yes. He asked his coach if I could compete in a race. I not only competed in a race last weekend but was presented with a jersey kit from his team! This made me excited AND accepted because his team viewed me as a cyclist, not as someone with a disability. I now have a new community of friends that see me for who I am, not my label.