Despite severe need and higher health risks, people with ID are often denied health services. There is often a misconception that the poor health of people with ID is due to their disability.
Research has shown that it is in fact a result of a breakdown in health education, health promotion, and health care. This can and should be addressed.
Over the years, Special Olympics health programs have improved the health of our athletes. In many cases, the programs have profoundly changed--or saved--their lives.
Moise Ahoussimou, a poor West African boy with an intellectual disability and next to no vision, is one example. While volunteering with the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program, a doctor realized Moise had been blinded by cataracts. He was referred for a simple operation. Moise left his appointment with restored sight. He saw his father for the first time.
“I can see." He grabbed his father’s hand. “Hey! Dad, I didn’t know you are that tall!”