According to this CNN article, China, who is hosting the Special Olympics this year, is experiencing a shift in attitudes toward those with intellectual/cognitive disabilities - at least in major cities. It is credited in part toward media coverage of one of the Olympians who has become a spokeswoman. The country has also spent millions in promoting the Special Olympics, including a media blitz that includes billboards and videos.
"Natalie Williams, a 21-year-old Special Olympics basketball player from Kentucky, says she's never really been treated like a true athletic star. But that was before she came to the Games in China, which has undergone a major change in its treatment of the mentally disabled.
"They are able to accept special needs people in a way that maybe some other countries do not," Williams says.
Last week, organizers rolled out the red carpet for athletes arriving at the Special Olympics in Shanghai, China. Never before in the 39-year history of the Special Olympics has there been such an extravagant, star-studded opening ceremony. And everywhere in this city, there are billboards with the smiling faces of the mentally disabled promoting the Games."
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