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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Way to go, Saratoga County's Will Clarke: Good luck in the Special Olympics!

A 17-year-old from Greenfield Center, Will Clarke, is competing starting Sunday in the national Special Olympics in Lincoln, Nebraska.
He's one of fewer than 10 kids in all of New York state to make it to this national competition. What a fantastic opportunity.
I am so happy for him and his family. I don't really know Will, but his mother, Roberta Nahill, and I are in the same book club, and sometimes she will mention how her son has been running. And running. And running, sometimes outdoors, sometimes at the Y. He might do one or two five-mile loops a day, Roberta told Sam Hollingsworth in a story on The Saratogian website.

It was heartening to read about the coaching and encouragement Will has been getting from 2007 SSHS grad and neighbor John Farley (now a Siena runner) and Special Olympics track and field coach Larry Shapiro at the Skidmore College campus.
Good luck in Nebraska, Will!
For more information on the Special Olympics, including how to compete, please contact Larry Shapiro at 371-3374 or Gean Pokrzywka at 587-3208. New York’s Special Olympics headquarters, located in Schenectady, can be reached at 388-0790 for more information.
Will has Asperger’s syndrome, which WebMD describes as a developmental disorder with some traits of autism: "For example, they may have poor social skills, prefer routine, and not like change. But unlike those who have autism, children with Asperger's syndrome usually start to talk before 2 years of age, when speech normally starts to develop. Asperger’s syndrome is a lifelong condition, but symptoms tend to improve over time. Adults with this condition can learn to understand their own strengths and weaknesses. And they can improve their social skills."


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