Adam Kupfer has participated with the Special Olympics for 15 of his 23 years. But this summer will be the first time he completes in the national 2022 Special Olympics as a member of Team Maryland.
The Chevy Chase resident has competed in soccer, basketball and swimming. During the Special Olympics USA Games, to be held June 5-12 in Orlando, he will swim and represent his home state.
“I have been swimming since I was 5 years old,” he said. “I like free style and breaststroke the best.”
While swimming, he concentrates hard, checking to make sure he is in the correct lane and is doing his stroke properly, he noted.
Although he has spent many hours practicing to increase his speed, Kupfer prefers competing to practicing. “I like meets better than the practices. You are racing against [swimmers from] other counties.”
Kupfer doesn’t let his developmental cognitive disability or ADHD slow him down. From sixth through 12th grade, he attended Sulam in Rockville, a Jewish day school with a special education inclusion program that provides educational, social and emotional support for students with disabilities.
“Sulam was just a great opportunity for us. We have other children who went to Milton,” his mother, Shelly Kupfer, said, referring to Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School in the District. “It was a great opportunity for us to give Adam a Jewish education as well, in a setting that was appropriate for him and that would cater to
She added, “He really did beautifully there, and they were just fantastic with him.”
Adam also liked the school. “I liked learning new things that you never knew before. It was amazing,” he said.
His favorite thing at Sulam was attending sporting events. “We usually have a big rivalry between [Berman] Hebrew Academy and JDS,” Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, he said.
A big sports fan, Kupfer’s favorite team is the Pittsburgh Steelers, an affiliation he shares with his father, who grew up in Pittsburgh.
After graduation from Sulam, Kupfer attended Whitman High School for one year before going on to Montgomery College for two years in the Transitions Training for Independence program.