A new program in Utah, the Unified Sports Program, is helping students with intellectual disabilities develop skills that will lead to better employment and and independent living (Deseret News, May 3, 2014).
Special Olympics Utah and the Utah High School Activities Association partnered to initiate the [Unified Sports] program in Utah this year, assisting schools in ensuring that students with disabilities have access to extracurricular sports — a recommendation from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in January 2013.
Intellectually disabled students are apparently five times as likely to be employed after high school if they have actively participated in Special Olympics activities, said Special Olympics CEO Amy Hansen, who called it a “landmark opportunity” for the students. She said the disabled participants also live an average of five years longer when they’ve had the interactive experience.
“It helps them learn life skills that empower them throughout their lives,” Hansen said.