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Prospect Center's Special Olympics competition puts students in spotlight

Post-Star - 8/1/2019

Aug. 1--QUEENSBURY -- The Prospect Center's Langan School hosted its third annual Special Olympics competition Wednesday morning, with nearly 60 students participating in a wide range of events.

The Prospect Center, a division of the Center for Disability Services in Albany, provides services for at-risk and developmentally disabled individuals with the goal of enabling and empowering those with disabilities to lead healthy lives.

The event is more than just a fun break from the normal school routine for students, said Anne Schneider Costigan, a spokeswoman for the Center for Disability Services, which provides services for the school.

"Today represents accomplishment. It represents achievement for our students, our staff and our families," Costigan said. "Students love athletics. Children love to feel that reward and receive a medal. It's a wonderful thing for any child."

The students involved in the event did not compete against each other but instead tried to beat their own records from training sessions earlier in the year. This kind of competition, called the Motor Activity Training Program, is unique to the Langan School, according to Costigan.

Costigan said it was the largest turnout of any competition day so far, and even though students chose only one station to compete in, they can participate in all of the other ones if they want to.

Nathan Belmore, a teaching assistant at the Langan School, said the students he works with start talking about the event months ahead of time.

"You can see them light up when they talk about it," Belmore said. "Roberto (a student) has talked about it for months, and this is the biggest turnout we've had. I think it brings this whole community closer and I look forward to it too."

Costigan also said it also gives parents a chance to see their kids participate in activities they may not always have access to, thanks to the emphasis on providing mobility equipment to get kids up and moving.

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