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 wanted 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. 

On-Location Portrait Project Team Leader: Mustafa Hussain

Teams:

1 Ashley Crichton, Lloyd McCullough

2 David Turner, Biagio Dell'Aiera, Dominick Mull

3 Clay Patrick McBride, Frankie Bonn, and Ian Hyland 

*Led by faculty advisors.

More photos from SoNY 2018

More photos from SoNY 2019

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

Andrew Hay of Ithaca, N.Y.

Alpine Skiing

SoNY 2019

(Photo by Mustafa Hussain)

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

Daniel J. Voelxen  Onondaga Region  Alpine Skiing  (Photo by Anthony Avellano)

Daniel J. Voelxen

Onondaga Region

Alpine Skiing

(Photo by Anthony Avellano)

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

Richard Fishwick  Snow Shoeing 100m  Hudson Valley Regents  SoNY 2019  (Photo by Mustafa Hussain)

Richard Fishwick

Snow Shoeing 100m

Hudson Valley Regents

SoNY 2019

(Photo by Mustafa 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