Knicely Done: Head start for future Special Olympic athletes

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Eric Paladino has used up just about all of his energy after an hour of activity in a program called "Special Olympics For Young Athletes."

Eric, and other youngsters from age two through seven, meet twice a week in the program and are challenged with a variety of physical activities in each hour long session.

"It's been a really good program for Eric," said his dad Luke in an interview with WOWT 6 News. "Eric has down syndrome and he's really developed. He kind of learned how to walk in this program and run."

The program is offered through Creighton University Pediatric Therapy and is staffed with student volunteers who are studying physical and occupational therapy at CU.

"It's also a way to help interact for kids that are both having intellectual or developmental disabilities as well as kids that don't," said student volunteer Megan Dibble. "It's a chance for running and jumping and catching and just have fun with it.while they play with their friends.".

The youngsters move quickly around a short obstacle course with lots of vocal encouragement and teaching from the volunteer students.

A second room is used for the two and three year olds who also embrace the challenges with great enthusiasm.

For parents it's a welcome opportunity with positive results.

"You're kind of left on your own if you don't have this program," said Luke. "So it really gives them an outlet before they can actually start team sports with the Special Olympics to begin this and to see what they have for an aptitude for which sports."

Knicely Done!

For more information on Special Olympics For Young Athletes click here.