You and i A visual story on Jared and Leon Morton

Richard J. Codey Arena in West Orange, 2017 Special Olympics New Jersey Winter Games for figure skating. The arena is not filled to capacity, it feels like all the spectators are close family and friends. Leon and Jared Morton are on the freshly Zambonied ice, wearing identical outfits prepared by Veronica Morton: black slacks, white shirt under a grey sweater, and a black bow-tie. A few more minutes of warm-ups and they are ready for the big moment.

The song selection is fitting: “Just the two of us” from the Austin Powers soundtrack. Father and son glide past the judges as the line “Mini-Me, you complete me…” blares from the speakers. The performance is short, but it leaves a lasting impression anyone who witnessed it.

As seems to be the nature with competitions, a lot of time is spent waiting for things to progress according to schedule. Jared and Leon spend their time eating crackers, socializing and taking photos with family and friends. After everybody is done skating, athletes, families and coaches mingle, awaiting the awards ceremony. There is lots of laughter, hugging, and a general sense of familiarity with each other. Skaters show their appreciation for the photographer’s work, and willingly pose for more photos.

Jared takes it all in, but does not ignore the seemingly endless supply of pizza.

Jared, who is 15, has Down syndrome. He received early intervention services at home once he was 3 months old. These are services designed to address developmental delays that may be experienced by children with Down syndrome.

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