Adaptive Sports Foundation team at the 2018 Special Olympics New York State Winter Games at Swain Resort in Swain, N.Y. Feb. 24, 2018.

Roughly 6.5 million people in the U.S. have an intellectual disability or varied abilities. Causes of disabilities vary from Down syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, and other birth defects. Children with varied abilities are sometimes more accepted in society because of the general positive disposition towards children. However, as an athlete's parent said to me, adults who live with ID or varied abilities often have a harder time being accepted. I produced and directed this project to portray special olympic athletes of all ages, in a heroic and dignified manner to overcome some of the stereotypes of individuals living with ID.

Along with on location portraits, we set up a portrait studio at the closing ceremonies at the Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, N.Y. and a pop-up gallery for athletes and families to see our work. At the end of closing ceremonies, all gallery prints were given away to athletes and their families.

This project contributed to the coverage of the Special Olympics of New York by RITs photojournalism department. 

Portrait Project Director/Producer: Mustafa Hussain

Team photographers/lighting techs: 1 (Ashley Crichton, Lloyd McCullough), 2 (David Turner, Biagio Dell'Aiera, Dominick Mull), 3 (Clay Patrick McBride, Frankie Bonn, and Ian Hyland.) 

http://specialolympics.cias.rit.edu/athlete-portraits/

Alpine skier Larry Jackson, from Syracuse, N.Y., at the 2018 Special Olympics New York State Winter Games at Swain Resort in Swain, N.Y. Feb. 24, 2018.

L. McCullough

Alpine skier Diane Budnar at the 2018 Special Olympics New York State Winter Games at Swain Resort in Swain, N.Y. Feb. 24, 2018.

L. McCullough

Alpine skier Mark Huang, from Little Neck, N.Y., at the 2018 Special Olympics New York State Winter Games at Swain Resort in Swain, N.Y. Feb. 24, 2018.

M. Hussain

Alpine skier Daniel Volxen, from Onondaga Central Region, at the 2018 Special Olympics New York State Winter Games at Swain Resort in Swain, N.Y. Feb. 24, 2018.

L. McCullough

Alpine skier Matthew, and his sister Ally, from Bronxville, N.Y., at the 2018 Special Olympics New York State Winter Games at Swain Resort in Swain, N.Y. Feb. 24, 2018.

A. Crichton

Alpine skier Anthony Iovine, from Johnson City, N.Y., at the 2018 Special Olympics New York State Winter Games at Swain Resort in Swain, N.Y. Feb. 24, 2018.

L. McCullough

(David Turner, Biagio Dell'Aiera, Dominick Mull)