Special Olympics Helps Kids Win at Life, Not Just Sports

Dr. Patrice Dawson, whose son spencer won a silver medal at the Special Olympics New Jersey 2022 Summer Games, recently sat down with Atlantic City Focus to talk about raising a child with autism and winning at life, not just sports.

Spencer Dawson, of Egg Harbor Township, won second place in the 25M Freestyle Swimming event at the Special Olympics 2022 New Jersey Summer Games.

Dr. Patrice Dawson, his mother, recently sat down with Atlantic City Focus to talk about raising a child with autism and winning at life, not just sports.

Linda Cobb, director of Area 8 for the Special Olympics, said she is proud of the Dawson family and all the young people who are building better lives through sports.

“I do this for the athletes,” said Cobb, who has been involved with the Special Olympics for more than 35 years, “to see their smiles, to hear their stories.”

Dawson is part of Area 8 which includes more than 700 athletes throughout Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland Counties, Cobb said. They participate in sports year-round.

Fall season sports include golf, soccer, cycling and flag football. Winter season sports are skiing, snowshoeing, hockey, and volleyball. Bowling and basketball are both spring sports. Summer sports include bocce, track and field, softball, and swimming.

Cobb said making it to the Summer Games is no small achievement.

“They work to get there, definitely for swimming,” Cobb said. “There are so many swimmers throughout the state they have to qualify.”

Cobb said the path to the Summer Games mean Dawson had to first win on an area level, then again at the sectional level just to make it to the state level.

“He had to have a gold or silver at area, then he had to have gold or silver at sectionals to move to the state Olympics,” Cobb said. “It’s not just a fun weekend. People did work ahead of times to make it to those games.”

Cobb said one of her greatest joys is seeing families expand their horizons through sports.

“There is a socialization piece, an independence piece of it,” Cobb said. “You just see that pride in people.”

Cobb said the athletes aren’t charged for anything including practice or uniforms.

“This is all based on fundraising,” Cobb said.

If you would like to donate to the Area 8 program or get involved with Special Olympics in Atlantic, Cape May or Cumberland counties contact Todd at


For complete 2022 Summer Games results for the state of New Jersey, click here.

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