As an enthusiastic supporter of the Special Olympics who has worked for more than two decades with Special Olympics International, Harvard Law School Professor William P. Alford welcomed the opportunity to help bring about the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games, held in PyeongChang, Korea, earlier this year. He explains that the millions of athletes who participate in Special Olympics internationally range from children with very basic motor skills to world-class basketball players who have been known to give former NBA stars, including Special Olympics board members Dikembe Mutumbo and Sam Perkins, a very challenging game.
“One of the major messages of the Special Olympics is that having a disability need not be seen as being as limiting or disqualifying as some people might assume,” says Alford, director of East Asian Legal Studies and chair of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability (HPOD). “These games show us extraordinary determination and level of accomplishments and are inspiring.”
More sobering, though, are the economic challenges and human rights issues—poverty, limited access to education and health care, and a lack of adequate legal protection—prevalent among the more than 200 million people with intellectual disabilities worldwide, the majority of whom live in low-income countries.
Read the full story on the Harvard Law School website.