Second Grader Goes From "Army Crawling" to Level A Athletics to Soccer Skills with Project Unify


For a little boy, Omar has come a long way.

When he first started at our elementary school, Omar didn't talk much and wasn't able to walk. He would move around the classroom by "army crawling" on his belly. Sometimes, he'd also try to get around with the help of a walker. Mostly, other than floor or play time, Omar spent his day in a stroller or wheelchair.

Omar has significant vision loss and Down syndrome. But through our local Special Olympics competitions, he has made significant progress. Omar has been participating in Level A Athletics and last year, he competed in Soccer Skills events. This year, based on his progress and current ability level, he will play as a member of a unified soccer team, which includes student athletes with and without intellectual disabilities.

One of our teachers recalls that recently, when Omar was making his way down the school hallway, a second grade class came running into to cheer him on! The commotion brought out the other classes, too. They all know him, love him and support him daily.

Omar is now able to walk with and without his walker (with minimal assistance) and he absolutely LOVES to kick the soccer ball all over the court. The unified partners help keep the ball close to him so it doesn't get out of his line of vision.

Omar is also talking -- saying "kick the ball" with an enthusiasm that motivates himself and others. And each time, those simple words, spoken by a student with minimal language skills, are enough to bring tears!

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Special Olympics Georgia staffer Wendy Bigham posted this story by Coach Laura Ogas