The largest minority in the United States, although often overlooked, are those living with some sort of disability. On average, Americans with a disability make up 20% of the population. This group of people have historically been treated unfairly, and are still fighting for equal rights and representation today. When considering the social model of disability, a person’s disability is not caused by an impairment, but rather the way that society perceives and defines these individuals.
This poster series was created to show the abilities of these spectacular athletes, as opposed to their disability. To show how their goals, triumphs and qualities are no different from any other competitor. I AM shows the strengths and voices of those who are often not represented, and how sports positively impact their lives. These images and words from the athletes are shown as a way to see beyond a particular impairment. The goal is not to show these athletes as inspiration, but as equals; to highlight their capabilities, start conversation and change prior conceptions about disability.
The Special Olympics is a global organization consisting of over 4 million athletes over 172 countries living with a disability. The Special Olympics has reportedly increased athlete’s confidence, brought families together, improved overall health and gives these athletes a voice and respect. However, the Special Olympics isn’t widely talked about in many social circles or actively recognized. When approaching the topic of disability, most find it to be uncomfortable or awkward to discuss, which is why it should be talked about.
This series invites and encourages those who are unfamiliar with the Special Olympics, especially fellow athletes, to form relationships with those in their community that face certain challenges, and find that there are more similarities than differences. This will lead to deeper understanding, relationship, and inclusion.