Loading...

Follow Special Olympics Vermont on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

Spring has sprung here in Vermont and it’s a great time to make sure the whole family is up to date on dental exams and cleanings. Not only is having a healthy mouth important for speaking, learning, eating, and smiling, it’s also important for overall health. There are some special considerations for people with disabilities, but by establishing a “dental home” early in life and following a daily oral care routine, everybody can enjoy the benefits of a healthy mouth!

Special Considerations

  • Baby teeth may have delayed eruption (teeth come in later), with the first tooth appearing up to age two. All baby teeth are usually erupted by age five. Also, baby teeth may be lost later, usually by age 15. Delayed eruption can lead to malocclusion.
  • Malocclusion means that teeth don’t line up perfectly. It is found in most people with Down syndrome because of the delayed eruption of adult teeth and the smaller size of the lower jaw. Malocclusion can make it harder to keep teeth clean but your dental health care provider can give you ideas about how to make cleaning your teeth easier.
  • Mouth breathing is exactly what it sounds like, breathing through your mouth instead of your nose. This happens a lot for people with down syndrome because of smaller nasal passages. Mouth breathing can dry out the mouth and decrease saliva production. Saliva is important for neutralizing acid and helping to wash away bacteria; without it, the chances of getting tooth decay goes up.
  • People with Down syndrome often have a strong gag reflex due to the placement of the tongue and anxiety about their mouths being touched. Sometimes scheduling an early morning appointment (before eating or drinking) can help.

Tips for your trip to the dental office

  • Share with the dental office team the best way to communicate with you and make the appointment for the time of day that works best for you.
  • If you have any medical concerns, including heart problems, tell the dental office before the visit.
  • Consider silver diamine fluoride (SDF) as a treatment option. SDF is a liquid medication that can help stop dental decay and pain without using needles or drills. It turns the area of decay black and may not be useful in every case, but it can be a great treatment option in certain situations and may help avoid treatment under general or local anesthesia. See this SDF fact sheet for more information.

Tips for homecare

  • Plaque is that white sticky stuff that builds up on our teeth throughout the day. Bacteria live in plaque and when we eat food (especially food with a lot of sugar) the bacteria feed on it, break down, and produce acid which harms teeth. Help keep teeth healthy by removing plaque by brushing with fluoridated toothpaste and flossing.
  • It’s ideal if you can brush your teeth for a full two minutes. Set a timer or brush your teeth while listening to a song or watching a funny cat video on YouTube!
  • A lot of medications cause dry mouth (lack of saliva) and contain sugar. When possible, ask for sugar-free medications and rinse your mouth with water or brush after taking the medication.

For information about where to find a dentist call 211.

The post Tips and Tricks for Good Dental Health appeared first on Special Olympics Vermont.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

In February, Special Olympics International, in partnership with SCOTT Sports and Marty Smith from ESPN announced that 15 state programs, including Special Olympics Vermont (SOVT), would be awarded a SCOTT Sports road bike to present to a deserving athlete. As SOVT has numerous deserving athletes, interested athletes completed an application to describe how Special Olympics has impacted their lives, identify specific personal fitness goals, and tell us how they would use the bike to accomplish those goals.

After reviewing over 30 applications from our incredible athletes, SOVT selected Unified Champion School athlete and Bellcate student, Dakota Orenbach, to receive the bicycle. In his application, Dakota stated that participation in Special Olympics has allowed him to make new friends and become more confident. Dakota has been dedicated to his fitness journey this past year. He has lost 50 pounds since June. He will use the bike to maintain his healthy lifestyle, and avoid costly gym memberships. He will also use it to travel to and from work.

On May 14, Dakota went to Earl’s Cyclery & Fitness in South Burlington to pick up his brand-new SCOTT Sports bicycle. Several members of the Special Olympics Vermont staff, a teacher from Bellcate School, and the team at Earl’s were there to cheer him on.

Congratulations Dakota and thank you to Marty Smith, ESPN, SCOTT Sports and Special Olympics International for this great opportunity. We would also like to give a special thanks to Earl’s Cyclery & Fitness for all of their assistance in creating the perfect bicycle for our deserving athlete!

Click here to see video of Dakota receiving his brand new SCOTT Sports bicycle.

The post Special Olympics Vermont Announces SCOTT Sports Bicycle Winner appeared first on Special Olympics Vermont.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Special Olympics Vermont by Kelsey Conway - 2M ago

Special Olympics Vermont is a member of the Chronic Disease and Disability Advisory Group through the Vermont Department of Health. This is the second in a series of blog posts containing health information for our athletes.  

Do you know you should fill half your plate with fruits or vegetables each meal? Here are some tips to help you reach this goal every time you eat:

Breakfast:

  • Add veggies to scrambled eggs. Good choices include spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers and onions.
  • Add cut up fruit to low fat, low sugar yogurt.
  • Make a smoothie with lots of fruit and add spinach, kale or other veggies, too.
  • Make some thick oatmeal and top with raisins, apples, or other nuts, seeds, and fruit.

Lunch and Dinner:

  • Make a big salad and add a little protein such as a hard-boiled egg, a small amount of cheese, or some tuna or cooked, chopped chicken.
  • Add veggies to your sandwich, such as lettuce, tomato, cucumber slices, red or green pepper rings.
  • Cut up raw carrots, celery, cucumbers, peppers or cherry tomatoes to eat as a side dish.
  •  Roasting veggies is easy and brings out new flavors. Cut up whatever veggies you have on hand, lightly coat with olive oil and roast at 350° until done. Use roasted or grilled veggies as a side dish, put them on sandwiches, or add them to salads.
  • Add a piece of fruit for dessert. Good choices are apples, peaches, pears, grapes, oranges, bananas, berries, cherries.

Snacks:

  • Carrots or celery with a hummus dip provides both veggies and some protein that will help hunger go away.
  • Whole fruit is easy to carry wherever you are headed. This includes apples, oranges and bananas.
  • Dried fruit is another option for a quick and easy snack.

For more ideas go to www.chooseMyPlate.gov   

The post Nutrition Tips appeared first on Special Olympics Vermont.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Special Olympics Vermont is a member of the Chronic Disease and Disability Advisory Group through the Vermont Department of Health. This is the first in a series of blog posts containing health information for our athletes.  

Everybody knows the “rule”. To stay properly hydrated, drink eight glasses of water a day. Hmmm, think about that for a second; when has one size ever fit all when it comes to health and nutrition? Something’s off. Let’s take a moment to learn how to stay well hydrated throughout the day and while we’re training and being active.

Fortunately, our bodies come with a handy, built-in, system to ensure we don’t dry out. This magical system is thirst. Generally, we can rely on this sense to make sure we drink enough water. Some conditions require that we consume extra water: Heat (and sweating), increased activity, fever, increased salt intake, increased fiber intake, and vomiting or diarrhea all require extra fluid. Conveniently, thirst tends to increase under these conditions, so we have that going for us. Even so, these conditions require a bit of extra attention to fluid intake. In addition to thirst, it sometimes makes sense to also pay attention to the actual amount that we’re drinking. This is especially true for athletes.

Image retrieved from http://www.waterup.org/resources/

The amount of water that each of us needs depends on many things, age, gender, what we eat… and so on. Fortunately, there’s a trick to finding the right amount. Divide your weight by 2 to get a general recommendation. A person weighing 150 pounds needs about 75 ounces (9 cups) of water per day. Seem like a lot? Don’t forget that water also comes from our food, particularly fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. They are made of mostly water and it all counts. But don’t become so focused on the numbers that you ignore thirst; it’s a pretty good indicator.

With all of this in mind, here are some helpful tips to help you spread the message about staying well-hydrated:

  • Pay attention to thirst and stop for a drink if you need it.
    • Note: If your thirst is leading you to constantly drink water, take the time to chat with your healthcare provider as EXCESS thirst can signal something more serious, like diabetes.
  • Choose water instead of beverages sweetened with sugar. Sugary beverages can add hundreds of calories per day without giving your body any helpful nutrients. Most sports drinks, such as Gatorade, fall into this category, so unless you’re constantly moving for more than an hour at a time (think long distance running) skip the sports drinks and have some water.
  • Carry a water bottle. This one probably seems obvious, but it makes a big difference in how much we drink. Freezing the water overnight will give you a refreshing cold beverage the next day.
  • Jazz up plain water with wedges of lemon, lime or orange.
  • Choose water when eating out. This not only saves calories, but money too!
  • Serve flavored seltzer at parties and gatherings– offering a selection of cut fruit for garnish can help this option feel like a special treat.

As athletes, it’s important that we drink plenty of water without overdoing it. Following thirst and making it a point to drink water during training and competition can help keep us in that sweet spot. Drinking enough can help us feel our best while also improving our athletic performance!

The post Healthy Hydration; It’s Not What You Might Think appeared first on Special Olympics Vermont.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The 24th Annual Burlington & Cool Schools Penguin Plunge was held on February 2nd at the Burlington Waterfront. Despite temperatures in the teens, with an even lower wind chill, over 1,200 people braved the elements and plunged into the frigid waters of Lake Champlain. The Penguin Plunge is the largest fundraising event for Special Olympics Vermont, and this year, over $548,000 was raised to support sports training and competition, health screenings, and leadership opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Vermont.

The Union Mutual Popsicles were the top fundraising team, with 37 team members raising $44,932, breaking the record for the most money raised by any team in the history of the Burlington Plunge. The top fundraising team for the Cool Schools Plunge was Champlain Valley Union High School, raising $35,481.

The Penguin Plunge would not have been possible without the support of our many sponsors, Xfinity, Community Bank N.A., Northfield Savings Bank, Darn Tough, NBT Bank, Triad Design Service, Inc., Bluebird Barbecue, Cabot Creamery Co-Op, North Country Credit Union, The Vermont Flannel Company, 95 Triple X, WVMT and WCAX. Special Olympics Vermont is also grateful for the support of Vermont Tent, Bourne’s Energy, SD Ireland, the Burlington Parks & Recreation Department, the Burlington Fire Department and the Norwich Cadets.

Click here to view photos from the 2019 Penguin Plunge. 

The post Penguin Plunge Raises $548,000 for Special Olympics Vermont appeared first on Special Olympics Vermont.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The Board of Directors of Special Olympics Vermont announces the appointment of Melissa “Missy” Siner Shea as the new President & CEO of Special Olympics Vermont (SOVT) effective February 1, 2019.

Shea joins Special Olympics Vermont after four years as the Executive Director of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association. There, she was responsible for developing and articulating the strategic direction of the organization with a $2.2M budget and staff team of 15. Shea managed alumnae relations for a women’s network 35,000 members strong. During her time as Executive Director, she oversaw several innovative initiatives, including the creation of a mentoring and networking platform for students and alumnae, impactful diversity and inclusion work, and record attendance at numerous events. Her collaborative work in alumnae engagement contributed to the successful achievement of a historic $500M capital campaign one year early, with an alumnae participation rate of 70%.

“Missy has a proven record of success in organizational management, sports programming and leadership which will ensure our athletes, Unified Partners and families will have a strong advocate for them.” said Bobby Torney, Special Olympics Vermont Board Chair.  “She will serve our Program and stakeholders exceptionally well. I speak for the full board and staff when I say that we are really looking forward to working with her.”

Prior to her time at Wellesley, Shea worked as the Director of Admissions and Financial Aid for the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, CT.  A lifelong Vermonter, Shea has held leadership and teaching positions at Green Mountain Valley School, at Sugarbush Resorts as VP Recreational Services and at Mad River Glen Ski Area, first as a ski instructor and later as the Director of Skiing from 1998-2001.  Shea began her career as a paraeducator, teacher, and coach at Harwood Union High School, and served for 11 years on the Waitsfield Elementary School Board.

“I am honored to be joining the team at Special Olympics Vermont in this leadership position,” said Shea, “I have a deep respect for our athletes, coaches, partners and volunteers, and I am looking forward to working together to build greater awareness and inclusion in Vermont. I am excited to pursue a bright future of new opportunities with Special Olympics Vermont, and I can’t wait to come home!”

Shea is an alumna of Wellesley College, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Education. She also earned her Master of Arts in Liberal Studies at Dartmouth College. She enjoys cycling, hiking, and skiing as well as farmers markets and cooking, and loves spending time with her two adult children and yellow lab.

###

About Special Olympics Vermont

Special Olympics Vermont is part of a global movement that works year round to foster the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities by using the power of sport to showcase their gifts and abilities. For more information, please visit www.specialolympicsvermont.org.

CONTACT:  Kelsey Conway, Special Olympics Vermont Marketing & Development Manager – kconway@vtso.org; 802-861-0275

The post Special Olympics Vermont Announces New President & CEO appeared first on Special Olympics Vermont.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The 2019 Special Olympics Vermont Winter Games, will be taking place March 17-19 at Pico Mountain Ski Resort in Mendon. Nearly 300 athletes and Unified partners will be competing in alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

Special Olympics Vermont is in need of hundreds of volunteers to assist with all aspects of the Games such as starters, timers, course guides, greeters and more! All current opportunities can be viewed by visiting our Current Opportunities web page.

Special Olympics Vermont hosts statewide competitions throughout the year in four distinct sports seasons, offering Winter, Summer, Fall, and Holiday Games. Teams travel from thirteen counties across the state for the opportunity to compete in Olympic-type sports against the best athletes in each division.

More information about Winter Games can be found on the Winter Games web page. 

The post 2019 Winter Games Volunteer Opportunities Available Now appeared first on Special Olympics Vermont.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Health professionals and volunteers from across the state gathered at Champlain Valley Union High School to provide comprehensive health screenings for children and adults with intellectual disabilities at the Special Olympics Vermont Fall Games on October 20th. A unique partnership between the University of Vermont Health Network and Special Olympics Vermont allowed over one hundred athletes to receive free health screenings in between their sports competitions.

Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® is dedicated to providing health services and education to athletes with intellectual disabilities and improving the way health systems interact with this population. Here in Vermont, Special Olympics athletes have access to annual dental, audiology, vision, health promotion (nutrition), and physical therapy screenings and education at no cost. Nutrition and physical therapy screenings were offered at the Fall Games. 133 athletes were screened in Health Promotion and 57 completed the physical therapy screening. Over 75 health professionals and students from the University of Vermont College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the University of Vermont Medical Center, and other health organizations volunteered their time to conduct the screenings.

Despite a common perception that people with disabilities have better access to health care, Special Olympics Inc. reports that people with intellectual disabilities are more likely than the general population to experience chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease, and they are also more likely to experience multiple chronic conditions. Globally, on an average team of 10 Special Olympics athletes 4 have untreated tooth decay, 4 need glasses, 3 fail a hearing test, 2 have low bone density, and 6 are overweight or obese.

This program also provides training for medical students and practitioners. Special Olympics Inc. reports that 84% of health care providers feel better prepared to treat people with intellectual disabilities as a result of volunteering with Special Olympics Healthy Athletes. “A big part of Healthy Athletes is educating current and future medical and healthcare professionals about providing care to this population,” says Dr. Stephen Contompasis, Special Olympics Vermont Board Member and specialist in behavioral and developmental pediatrics. “We know that 52% of medical school deans and students report that graduates are not competent to treat people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Healthy Athletes reverses that trend here in Vermont and around the world.”

In conjunction with these health screenings, Special Olympics Vermont offers a Farm to Athlete program. In 2015, Special Olympics Vermont was the first Special Olympics program to pilot a Farm to Athlete initiative. As part of an ongoing commitment to improve the lives of Special Olympics athletes, the Farm to Athlete program brings fresh, healthy meal options to competition events. The goals of this program are to provide foods that are nutritionally rich, to decrease the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among the athlete population, to educate athletes, families, coaches, and volunteers about healthy eating habits, and to support the community that so generously supports Special Olympics Vermont by purchasing food that is locally produced using sustainable and organic methods whenever possible. The UVM Health Network partnership also supports the Farm to Athlete Program.

“Athlete health is a priority for Special Olympics Vermont,” says Lisa DeNatale, Interim President and CEO of the statewide organization. “Through partnerships with the University of Vermont Health Network, Sugarsnap Catering, and other health champions in our state, we are working to develop and improve systems that support positive health outcomes and quality of life for our athletes.”

For more information about Special Olympics Healthy Athletes and to get involved visit: https://specialolympicsvermont.org/wellness-programs/healthy-athletes/.

The post Healthcare Professionals Partner to Serve Special Olympic Athletes at Fall Games appeared first on Special Olympics Vermont.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The 2018 Special Olympics Vermont Fall Games, presented by Vermont Systems, will be taking place October 20 and 21 at Champlain Valley Union High School (CVU) in Hinesburg, as well as the Burlington Country Club. Nearly 400 athletes and Unified partners will be competing in athletics (track and field), golf, soccer, and softball.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Special Olympics Vermont,” says Giles Willey, President of Vermont Systems. “Our staff looks forward to the opportunity to volunteer and connect with athletes at the Games each year.”

Special Olympics Vermont hosts statewide competitions throughout the year in four distinct sports seasons, offering Winter, Summer, Fall, and Holiday Games. Teams travel from thirteen counties across the state for the opportunity to compete in Olympic-type sports against the best athletes in each division.

The 2018 Fall Games will kick off on Saturday, October 20th with an Opening Ceremony at the CVU track, followed by preliminary competition. Sports events will continue throughout the weekend, wrapping up on Sunday afternoon with an awards ceremony. More information about the Games schedule can be found on our Fall Games web page.

In addition to competition, athletes will have access to two types of free health screenings: FunFitness (physical therapy) and Health Promotion (nutrition and wellness), as part of the Special Olympics Vermont Healthy Athletes program, and with the help of a large team of local practitioners and students who volunteer their time and expertise.

Volunteers are needed for the 2018 Fall Games! We are looking for individuals and groups to help in a wide variety of areas, such as check-in, setting up/breaking down, health screenings, and facilitating various sports. For more information about volunteering and to sign up, please visit our Current Opportunities web page.  

The post Announcing the 2018 Fall Games! appeared first on Special Olympics Vermont.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Recently at Special Olympics Vermont we had the opportunity to sit down with board member Bobby Torney, of Raymond James & Associates, Inc. to discuss his experience as a volunteer bocce coach for the Chittenden Program and a Special Olympics Vermont Board member. From our talk we found that it is the contagious nature of the athletes’ pure joy that makes him a passionate volunteer and member of our community.

How did you get involved with Special Olympics Vermont and coaching bocce?

“I’ve been doing it for 6 years now. I got involved through a few friends who had been coaching for 15-20 years. I just came for something to do. I’d grown up being an athlete, and I’d just come back to Vermont. I was looking for something to do that Spring and they invited me to join Bocce. The first day I was there I was completely overwhelmed with how amazing it was. I always tell people it’s all the very best parts of sports. Anyone who’s played sports before – when you accomplish something and you have that great feeling – its like that but every time someone throws a bocce ball. There’s that joy. That immediately hooked me.”

Did you have previous experience playing or coaching bocce?

“I was not previously a bocce player, I had probably played a few times in my life. Over the last few years I’ve gotten to know the game a bit better. It is a lot of fun, there’s a lot more of a tactical side to it than I ever thought there would be. Bocce is something that everyone can understand and really have a lot of fun with. It’s incredibly inclusive and you have a lot of athletes helping out other athletes. It’s pretty amazing to see.”

What does your week look like as a coach?

“Every wednesday the coaches usually get there at 4:30pm, set up the courts for about an hour, then 5-5:30pm all of our athletes start to arrive. We usually have practice based on the weather. If we have some nice days sometimes we’ll go for almost two hours. But about an hour and half to two hours, pick up the courts, and then we always have a coaches get together afterwards. Usually somewhere we can go over coaching, what we can all do better, how the athletes did, and if everyone had fun. And then any kind of nuances we all need to know about to prepare for Summer Games.”

What keeps you coming back?

“I think it’s contagious. Once you come see it,  it’s hard to ever leave. It’s something that you get so excited to go to just because of that feeling knowing that the athletes are so excited to be there. They absolutely love it, they look forward to it all week and all year. To see that kind of joy and excitement is really, really fun.”

“For people who haven’t done it, just give it a try. Go to Summer Games, or come with someone who’s involved. Go with them to an event and see it with your own eyes. I think then you’ll immediately want to get involved, especially if you have any kind of history of athletics… its the purest joy in athletics you’ll ever see. And you can see, if you are volunteering and coaching over a season, athletes accomplish something over that season and how proud that makes them. It’s just incredible for everyone involved, the athletes and the volunteers. So just go and give it a shot and you’ll be hooked.”

For more information on becoming a volunteer and/or coaching a Special Olympics sport, CLICK HERE.

The post Volunteer of the Month – Bobby Torney appeared first on Special Olympics Vermont.

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview