BySummer Huechtker|March 6, 2020 at 6:43 AM EST - Updated March 6 at 8:46 AM
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Special Olympics South Carolina organization is providing free health evaluations to more than 100 students with disabilities from five different Charleston-area schools Friday.
“Special Olympics South Carolina is the sixth largest Special Olympics program in the country. So we’re really excited to be able to say, hey, we are a sports organization, but we’re also all about education and health,” Special Olympics South Carolina Director of Program Services Kara Harmon said.
The organization is partnering with MUSC Children’s Health, SC Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities, and other state physicians to provide the medical screenings
These students are all coming from Unified Champion Schools, public schools with active Special Olympics programs.
Different stations will be set up across the Charleston Convention Center providing evaluations from dentists, optometrists, audiologists, and podiatrists. There will also be health education sessions on hygiene, healthy eating, and physical fitness.
Special Olympics South Carolina officials say they decided to do this after discovering that students with intellectual disabilities are one of the most under-served populations globally across the health care field.
They also say athletes with special needs are more prone to health disparities like obesity and high blood pressure.
Friday’s clinic is both for kids with special needs to get the proper medical care they need as well as to train medical workers on how to properly work and communicate with them.
“This is really an opportunity to teach our athletes how to be advocates for themselves when they go to the doctors and also give them resources and education to properly take care of themselves,” Harmon said.
Special Olympics SC says that some physicians are not as experienced with performing exams for kids that may require additional attention.
That's why MUSC is partnering with the event. They hope to educate future physicians on how to care for those with special needs.
Special Olympics SC is able to hold Friday's event because they received a grant from the national Special Olympics group. The goal is to develop a healthy network of physicians for athletes with special needs.
To get involved with Special Olympics South Carolina as a volunteer or a participant, visit their website:http://so-sc.org/volunteers/
The event runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday.
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