Special needs

Paralympic Games: Why you and your kids should watch

Anchel Krishna explains the importance of televising the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

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Photo: Flickr

Follow along as Anchel Krishna shares her experiences as mother to Syona, an extraordinary toddler with cerebral palsy.

In case you didn’t know, the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games take place from March 7th to 16th. I’m even more excited by the fact that a number of Canadian media outlets have come together to broadcast the games, including Sportsnet. This is great because the 2012 London Paralympic Games didn’t receive media coverage in Canada.

Our very own Nadine Silverthorne wrote this amazing piece on the Olympic Winter Games—it was honest and inspiring, reminding me that although we’re not always where we expect to be, new dreams are just around the corner.

I’ve had my PVR set to record a number of the events. Syona is at the point where she’s kind of starting to pay attention to the TV (ok, well, Dora the Explorer anyway), but I figured we could sit down and watch some of the competitions and I could talk to her about Paralympic athletes and what the games mean. She may not understand all the ins and outs, but I want her to see diversity reflected in her world. And I want her to grow up knowing that if she wants to do be an elite athlete there is a trail that has been blazed for her to follow. Although, in all honesty, neither Dilip nor I are particularly coordinated or known for our athletic prowess so I’m pretty sure she is at a genetic disadvantage that is completely unrelated to her cerebral palsy.

Syona is also at the age where we need to start looking for some opportunities for inclusive recreation. So far, we’re planning to sign her up for adapted soccer this summer (she likes the idea of kicking), and maybe next winter we will start exploring some adapted winter activities.

Whether you have a child with special needs or not, watching the Paralympic Games is a great family activity. Paralympians are highly skilled, elite athletes and most of the events are just really cool to watch. It gives you an opportunity to discuss disabilities with your child and talk about how “different” isn’t something to be scared of, or something that is “less than” typical. It’s an opportunity to discuss how we come in all shapes, sizes, colours and abilities. It’s an opportunity to encourage your kids to be more inclusive. And all these great lessons can be taught from the comfort of home, while cheering for Team Canada. What could be better?

Are you planning to watch the Paralympic Games with your family?