Special Olympics changed Samantha’s life along with many more handicapped competitors. Samantha from North America, Florida has a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact, known as Autism. As that states, she has difficulty with social interactions. Which explains why she wouldn’t want to join any sports. But swimming was truly a life changing miracle for her and her family.
Samantha’s fear towards water was so big that getting into a pool was more than a challenge for her. Samantha’s mom, Karina Pinedo had the opportunity to get her involved in swimming with Special Olympics. Samantha’s fear as she states was something hard for her to overcome. To get over her fear, she would inspect how others would jump in and out of the pools with no hesitation. “I want the same for myself, I want to be fearless. I want to jump in and swim as they do,” says Samantha.
With the help of the coaches, she felt encouraged and soon began losing her fear. She noticed each time that she got in the pool she felt free, relaxed, and confident. Coaches couldn’t believe their eyes, Samantha was swimming just as she had dreamt of. She believed in herself in away nobody thought she would. She has found a supportive family with many people cheering for her, she has also made talented and encouraging friends. Her mom say, “By being so involved in my daughter’s swimming, our family has grown closer”.
With Samantha having autism, that hasn’t stopped her from competing in the Special Olympics, “As her mom, I have learned to appreciate the little things in life. It’s been just three years since she started taking part in Special Olympics competitions,” Says Samantha’s mom.
Samantha has two favorite sayings that say alot about what she has achieved. One is “Anything is possible if you try” and the other is “Different not less.” Samantha is now training and competing in soccer, gymnastics, and cheerleading. Special Olympics is the best thing that has happened to her and her family, as well as many other special competitors out in the Special Olympics, Florida, and worldwide too.