Our Reality TV Moment

Boy smiling sitting on bleachers holding a basketball wearing a red Special Olympics tank top with a team sign, "Hurricanes" in the background.
Thorin, Kari’s son, at unified basketball practice in Portland, Maine.

The following is re-posted from Kari Wagner-Peck’s blog, “A Typical Son”. You can follow Kari’s blog and learn more her work here.

Taublieb Films came to Portland, Maine from Malibu, California a couple weeks ago to film us. Our family will be part of Special Olympics 50th Anniversary documentary-short film series produced in collaboration with ESPN.

Thorin has loved Special Olympics since he was nine. Most of his other activities are inclusive—which means he is usually the only kid with a visible disability and almost always the only kid with Down syndrome. Special Olympics has been an important community for Thorin.

The film crew was Paul (Taublieb), David and Dave. They were awesome and authentically into learning about disability. Dave is 21 years-old and putting himself through college. After Thorin read from The Magic Tree House Series Dave said, “I read those, too!”

Dave, a videographer holing a boom mic and sitting next to Thorin on bleachers. Thorn is holding a head set and handing it to Dave.
Dave and Thorin on set at Thorin’s unified basketball practice.

When he noticed Thorin watching Ben 10 on his iPad he said, “I liked Ben 10!”

Kari and Thorin filming at their home in Portland, Maine. Kari and Thorin sitting on a couch with a green blanked covering their legs while Thorin reads a book as Keri flips the pages.
Kari and Thorin filming at their home in Portland, Maine.

When I relayed that the best way to clean an apartment with a kid was to crank En Vogue and sparkle, sparkle. Dave said, “That’s what my mom did.”

Dave saw Thorin—who has Down syndrome—was like him. And that has been the entire point of my writing about our lives for the last eight years.

Dave said, “I think most people want to do or say the right thing but they might not know what that is.”

I told him, “Be okay with making mistakes. That’s what I tell Thorin everyday.”

How did we get to be a part of this surreal moment? Not entirely clear but super grateful to contribute. Our story is part of a segment titled ‘Parents With A Megaphone.’ The film is about three parents who have children with Down syndrome and are advocates. The real stars of the short film are Gail WilliamsonJamie Brewer’s agent among many other actors and John C. McGingley notably from Scrubs.

As my friend Gina said, “You’re the regular parent. The one who thinks they can’t do anything. That’s important right now.”

50 Game Changers: Parents with a Megaphone

Parents with a Megaphone

ESPN and Special Olympics have teamed up on a year-long storytelling initiative telling the stories of game changers and game changing moments toward inclusion. Check back each week for a new story of inclusion.