We are a global organization with programs in 170 countries. This site may be customized by language and geographic region.
Teens and college students are the future leaders of Special Olympics.
It's the mission of Special Olympics to show the world the capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities.
We have over 4.5 million athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities around the world.
Our celebrity supporters are Olympians, professional athletes, social leaders, and movie and music stars.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a pioneer in the struggle for the rights of people with intellectual disabilities.
Direction for our movement comes from leaders in government, entertainment, sports and business.
All adults and children with intellectual disabilities can become Special Olympics athletes. Here's how.
Get involved with Special Olympics in your neighborhood. Find the program nearest you.
Get results by sport and team for major Special Olympics competitions.
Explore how Special Olympics is creating a more inclusive, welcoming world for all.
Your gift of $35 will help train an athlete for an entire season. Give today!
Discover the many ways you can support Special Olympics through your estate plans.
Make a donation and send a card in celebration or honor of a loved one.
Your efforts will help transform more lives through the joy of sports. Get started today!
Donate with confidence on our secure server.
Newsletter: Sign up and get inspiring stories!
Make a Difference
People use the R-word, retarded, carelessly or as an insult. Here are stories about ways we've dealt with it.
My son passed away from a Leukodystrophy (disease of the brains white matter) called Alexander disease. I fight to end the word in his honor.
I have a son with Down Syndrome and many other difficulties and even family members say the r-word in everyday conversation.
Greg M. Gilrain
Having a brother with an intellectual disability made me take action at the North Penn High School which we both attend.
My school is doing a pledge and if you sigh the poster that says spread the word to end the word you get a bracellet that says it.
I know the people calling me the R-word coulden't come up with anything better. I told them to think first before they speak.
I've had an intellectual disability all my life and people call me retarded. It's a very offensive word and a form of hate speech
I have ADHD/ADD, as does my brother. I can tolerate being called something hateful but I would never ever let someone get away with calling him anything bad.
Every day people call me the R-Word just because I have Asperger's syndrome and it makes me feel like I do not belong in this world.
We live in an era where bullying has become public sport, where public figures and leaders from dozens of walks of life seem to believe that humiliation and viciousness are acceptable ways of communicating. Some think it’s funny. We don’t. We think it’s horrific and we’re asking you to help us stop it.
Thoughtful and powerful comments by John Franklin Stephens, a Special Olympics athlete from Virginia, were published on Huffington Post today.
As a young person, I used the word because I thought it was funny, but once my dad told me how one of his sisters was called by the "r-word" at school, it made me sick inside thinking about every time I said it.
Calling things "retarded" was a common practice for me growing up. All of my friends did it and it was funny to us.
As a teenager, my stepmother did not like me for being disabled. Sometimes I would do things incorrectly or slower because of my disabilities.
Our sister has cerebral palsy. She is the best sister, friend and fun to be around.
When I am out I look funny, moving awkwardly, and I hear kids say she is "R" and parents telling them what I am. It just brings me down as a person.
I was at the Boys and Girls Club and it was my first day, we were going around to the building and talking to the kids about not using hurtful words like the r-word.
I heard a lady at the grocery store in front of her two year old say "I always get the retarded cart!"
When I was in high school I was made fun of daily. Sometimes I was even shoved into lockers by my peers for no reason.
If you are the person who said that please know that I don't hate you, I just hate your word choice and joke. What is wrong with this world?
The R word...A lot of people don’t think before they speak, they just say whatever they are thinking. Which honestly a lot of the times is mean and hurtful things.
Judy L. Marino
She is kind, loyal, loving, empathetic & beautiful both inside & out. She loves to sing, dance & listen to music. She can be so full of joy that she glows & physically bounces.
My cousins have Down syndrome and they have also been called that word several times which is not right under any conditions.
I am 17, and my 15-year-old brother has Asperger's syndrome. He has been bullied his entire life.
Robert and Judith Weisman for Elyssa
My husband took my daughter who has Down Syndrome to breakfast at the McDonalds in Flourtown, Pennsylvania this past Friday. Everything was going well until he overheard one of the managers call another employee retarded.
I have a child with Autism and it makes me very angry when others make fun of him and call him the R Word. It is very hurtful.
hi my friend Zoe M is trying to stop the r-word because of her sister and many people with Down syndrome. She has notified the whole school about the "R" word and how it affects her and her family
HI this is Zoe M again thank you to every one who is helping stop the r word I am trying super hard to stop this word.
I have a family member with Down Syndrome. I hate when people look at her and use the R word.
Zoe, our friend in our class has a sister with well you know. Zoe loves and cares for her younger sister. So she took her bravery and stood and talked to the whole grade. So now, we have posters on lockers, walld, doors, and glass advitizing the R-Word campaign, By: Zoe. We even bought a banner for
I am sick of people reducing my brother to his inabilities
This is the first year my school has done this, so it's amazing to see what we have accomplished
A week ago, I had a life-changing experience. My best friend called me the R-word.
I was called the R-word a lot
Why would anyone use the R word?
I would have never thought of calling anyone so loving and caring the "r" word.
I'm one of those kids that was called the "R" word and I am against it!!
My sister is intellectually disabled. She struggles in school. I never understood what was really wrong with her. Now I know more.
My brother had a genetic disease called progeria, and he had a big head. He was very pale. He no like when people call him r-word.
Hopefully, in my lifetime, the word will end and my children and grandchildren will not even know the word existed.
My sister was diagnosed with Mild Intellectual Development Disorder she also has Autism. She has trouble learning, but she always knows to be nice to people. She also has trouble in social situations but knows to be nice to others.
The derogatory use of the “R” word is too common. By using it as a replacement for words like idiotic or stupid, whether intentionally
I pledge to end the r word because i have developmental disabilities and its a word that just shouldnt be used to describe someone who has dd and the word needs to end
Violet, my friend's sister is a very wonderful girl. But she has been called the R-Word.
People with developemental disabilities have the same feelings, just like you and I.
I was born with a lazy eye and later had to wear glasses with a red patch over my good eye.
Roma, the girl who smiles even though people bully her. Thank you, Roma. Thank you for not letting me give up.