Monday 19 February 2018

Brendan O'Connor: My child isn't as important as yours

Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

There was a lot of backslapping about the Special Olympics during the week. It was 10 years ago that the games were held in Ireland and, in fairness, it was a marvellous event. But to read the supplements and look-backs during the week you would imagine that it changed everything forever in this country, ridding us of all prejudices against people with intellectual disabilities.

And while there is no doubt that the Special Olympics is a fantastic organisation, all the self congratulation might have been a little bit hard to take for the parents of children with special needs this week of all weeks. You see, it's all very well that we put Special Olympics athletes up on pedestals and go on about what great athletes they are, and what champions they are.

In a way it is easy to do that. In a way it can even be a little bit condescending to do that. Because it is easy to be sentimental about people with intellectual disabilities. Aren't they great? And so loving?

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