Karen Smith: Skiatook mom adopts special needs sons, becomes head coach at Special Olympics

SKIATOOK, Okla. - When Special Olympian Colton Smith steps up to the line to bowl he has just one thing on his mind.  He asks himself, “Is it gonna be a strike?” 

Colton’s brother, Clifton, is a little more relaxed about competition.  He says, “It just feels good to have fun and compete and meet new people.”

Karen Smith and her husband adopted Clifton and Colton when they were toddlers.  To help her special needs sons develop motor skills and make friends, the entire family got involved with Special Olympics. 

In the beginning, Karen volunteered.  Then she became a certified Special Olympics Coach. Now she’s the head coach of the Skiatook Special Olympics team. 

Karen coaches bocce, track and field and bowling events.

Karen’s sons like to bowl. 

Colton told 2NEWS, “You get to get out here and see how many pins you can knock down and you never know what’s gonna happen.”

In January, Karen coached her sons in bowling as they competed in the Oklahoma Special Olympics Winter Games. 

“They used to granny bowl and now they can one hand bowl,” she said.

It’s a big accomplishment for boys who once had trouble walking. 

Special Olympics does not put any upper age limit on its athletes or coaches, so Karen says she plans to continue coaching even after her sons grow up. 

That means she can continue Making a Difference in the lives of the special needs brothers she adopted and their Special Olympics teammates.

Print this article Back to Top