Dr. Martin Caouette is a Psychoeducator and professor at the Department of Psychoeducation at the University of Québec in Trois-Rivières. As the Self-determination and Disability Chair, Martin has always been committed to defending the interests of individuals with an intellectual disability.
Dr. Caouette’s goal as Chair is to imagine and implement ways that allow these individuals to shine within their communities.
"It is about empowering them so that they can have control over their lives at the social, professional and community levels, while raising awareness and training the professionals who accompany them," he shares.
In his work to promote self-determination and inclusion, Dr. Caouette have developed a network of partners invested in these issues which lead to his work with Special Olympics Quebec.
The partnership between the Research Chair and Special Olympics Quebec is a concrete example of his commitment to inclusion. Over the past three years, this partnership has led to the organization of Special Olympics Unified Sports soccer matches between University of Quebec students and athletes with intellectual disabilities.
As Dr. Caouette likes to say, “We don’t get together because we’re different, we get together because we share the same passion. We share a common interest.”
Sport is something that unites us all. It provides an opportunity to get to know one another, to break down barriers and build community.
After each of these soccer matches organized by Dr. Caouette and his team, Special Olympics athletes are provided with a medical assessment. These assessments are given by the university students as part of their studies, and allows them to gain knowledge and experience on how to provide tailored healthcare for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Since the beginning of this partnership, Provincial policy makers have been invited to experience the Unified Sports events, so they can understand its philosophy and the impact of inclusion. Dr. Caouette's dream is to be able to institutionalize this innovative training approach through Special Olympics Unified Sports for all students in the Health and Social Sciences fields in Quebec universities.
As a Champion of Inclusion, Dr. Martin Caouette spreads seeds of inclusivity - and his community has witnessed its impact within the university environment and beyond! He has shown us all that, “Changing the world is a team sport.”