Lori Branam

Email: lahall@alumni.iu.edu

City, State, School: Bedford North Lawrence High School Bedford, Indiana

What disabled sports programs does your school offer? Bedford North Lawrence High School unified track provides the opportunity for students with and without disabilities to train and compete together. Unified Sports® was first developed by Special Olympics as a means of providing a quality experience of sports training and competition in an inclusive environment that allows friendships to form. It is the vision of this joint IHSAA/ Special Olympics Indiana (SOIN) sports project to allow high school students with and without intellectual disabilities to collectively represent their high school in an IHSAA sanctioned activity by participating together on a Unified Sports® team.

What are some successes you have had participating in your sport? This is the first year of our Unified Track and Field team in our area! We have a blended team of athletes that are excited about their first meet this weekend! Here is our Facebook site : https://www.facebook.com/Bnlunifiedtrackandfield/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Did you experience any challenges? The biggest challenge is changing the perception of our community on the ability of our athletes. We are making progress with this challenge and feel that we will increase awareness and inclusion to our community one meet at a time! Class room teachers have already reported an increase in social and communication skills. Athletes are taking skills they are gaining on the track home and to the class room.

What advice would you give to anyone with a disability who wants to participate in sports? I would advise parents and athletes to encourage their schools to start a unified / integrated team!

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