Eunice Kennedy Shriver ( 1921- 2009)

In Autism/Aspergers Syndrome, History, obituaries, personal on August 11, 2009 by Editor Z

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of President John F Kennedy as well as the late Senator Robert F Kennedy (D-NY) and Edward M Kennedy (D-MA), the mother-in-law of actor turned Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), died early this morning at a hospital on Cape Cod at the age of 88.

But Shriver made a name for herself in her own right as an advocate for juvenile delinquents, special needs children, and by founding the Special Olympics in the 1960s, which decades later has blossomed into an annual event where those with mental disabilities and special needs can compete in athletic events.

On a personal note, as those who know me are aware I too have a mental disability Aspergers syndrome, a mild form of autism that impairs me socially and well it may not have been as severe as those who compete in the Special Olympics or have other differences, I think all those with learning and mental disabilities should acknowledge the contribution she made to beginning the dialogue on disabilities when American society and many other societies had long relegated such disabilities and those who had them to the margins of society with a sense of shame and fright. Because of the pioneering work of Kennedy Shriver, disabilities are now better known about and those with them are more accepted by the public at large.

Photo from: ET online



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