Our Families

Families are the No. 1 fans of our Special Olympics athletes. They give the type of love, support and encouragement that no one else can. Special Olympics is a support network that brings families together in a caring, positive way -- and that makes the cheers for our athletes even louder.

A mom gives a hug to two happy athletes at once

Smiles All Around. A mom gives a hug to two Special Olympics athletes at once.

Among Friends

At Special Olympics competitions and events, family members are among friends – and feel at home. They watch with pride as their child, sibling, cousin, grandchild, aunt or uncle find success and joy.

They are also among people who really understand. Because even family members can be unaware of all that their child or relative with an intellectual disability can do.

A mother in Great Britain says families are part of the team -- working together to make it all happen. "Everyone in the programme accepts each other without question. Everyone works as a team supporting each other." She says her son has made great strides since joining Special Olympics. "I know this has meant a great deal to him and, as a mum, to watch Jamie achieve and believe in himself is just wonderful." 


About Intellectual Disability

Special Olympics is a global movement of people who want to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. But what are intellectual disabilities? Learn More

Building Communities

Many family members become spokespeople or volunteers, coaches, fund-raisers and officials – giving them an important voice in Special Olympics.

Families are also an essential link to the community and wider support for our movement. By joining the Family Support Network, becoming a volunteer, and leading the expansion of Young Athletes, Special Olympics family members can really make a difference.

Families build communities by volunteering at athletic trainings, sharing links and information, talking online via a global network and serving in leadership roles. For every family member who gets involved, Special Olympics has a reason to celebrate.


Stories About Our Families


October 01, 2014 | North America: Texas

My Dearest Aunt

By Brooke Wischnewsky

My Aunt Brenda is a inspiration to me. She is why I want to be a special education teacher. My Aunt Kristi doesn't use the r-word and gets very upset when someone says it near her.View Story My father is one of five children. He had two older sisters, his identical twin and a little sister. My Aunt Brenda is his second older sister. She had cerebral palsy. She loved me very much, and I loved her also. She was label Mentally Retarded by doctors as an infant. She lived with my grandparent at home with her older sister Renae and her 3 younger siblings. My Aunt Brenda is a inspiration to me. She is why I want to be a special education teacher. My grandma misses her two daughters, Renae and Brenda, very much. My Aunt Kristi doesn't use the r-word and gets very upset when someone says it near her. I don't like it when people say retard and I tell them that. I tell them not to use that word because I have an aunt who was labeled retarded and it's not funny to use that word to call someone or something retarded. It's not cool and it make you look rude for saying it. I really believe that we can end the misuse of this word.

About Brooke Wischnewsky:I am the blessed niece of Brenda W. and Renae Floyd. She is my sweet angel aunt who watches me and my family on Earth from Heaven with her older sister, Renae. Future Special Education Teacher!
Share
View less ▲

October 01, 2014 | North America: Arizona

Aida Guran Story

By Aida Guran

Well, I don't remember exactly the years when I participated but the thing is, I participated in Special Olympics basketball and soccer when I was a child and now I'm an adult 20 years old and almost 21!View Story My name is Aida. I was born in 1994 at 1 a.m., the first hour. I am from Romania and I was born in the city Drobeta Turnu Severin. I was raised there in Romania up to when I was 13, and at 13 years old, October or November 2007, I moved to USA. In 2009 I became a citizen of America, and now I'm an American girl, but even if I'm an American girl now, I will never forget my family members from Romania because I do love them! in 2007, I got to middle school with the grades 6 to 9, and after I was done there, I went to high school at Valley Vista where there I did participate in clubs of Special Olympics. I won two times. (One time I won in basketball and the second time I won in soccer.) I also got the most points in my team back then in years in 2008 to 2009 or in 2010. Well, I don't remember exactly the years when I participated but the thing is, I participated in Special Olympics basketball and soccer when I was a child and now I'm an adult 20 years old and almost 21!

About Aida Guran:well my name is Aida , I like sometimes write my songs melodies with piano application from my I phone and I love spend time with my sweet cousin Cosmin Calota and with my beautifull mother ! Sometimes I do like play soccer with my cousin Calota and ! He did also won some medals back in Romania when he was a child i think but he was on television channel of sports from Romania in Romania country when he was a child and he is very professional person same as me in playing soccer and basketball ! I'm also very good in hockey table and in volleyball and a bit some how in tennis table !
Share
View less ▲

October 01, 2014 | SOI: Region North America

chinease

By christina le

i was called Chinese. People made fun of me by putting their eyes to look like a Chinese person.It really hurt me. Spread the word to end the word.View Story i was called Chinese. People made fun of me by putting their eyes to look like a Chinese person.It really hurt me. Spread the word to end the word.

About christina le:I'm 10 years old. I have black hair. I'm Vietnamese. I'm at spruce creek elemementary and in 5th grade. Well, that's me. Thank you. You have to speak up.
Share
View less ▲

September 15, 2014 | Asia Pacific: Pakistan

Respect for All!!

By lubna nawaz

I question myself: why should Hashim suffer? why can't he go out and enjoy the way he wants? He is a bit different and wants to see the world according to his understanding. He has his own abilities.View Story Hi,my name is Lubna and mother of two boys with autism. Both are Special Olympics Pakistan athletes. My younger son Hashim is non-verbal and very hyper, especially going in market places and family events. I have noticed that people stared at us. They look at him as if someone alien has invaded. First, this used to embarrass me a lot, and every time I used to promise myself I will not take my son along with me, but being his mother, I question myself: why should Hashim suffer? why can't he go out and enjoy the way he wants? He is a bit different and wants to see the world according to his understanding. He has his own abilities. I have come to a firm belief that as he doesn't judge anyone, so no one else has the right to judge him. Now I take him out with pride and make sure that he enjoys his life!!

About lubna nawaz:Hello,I'm Lubna Nawaz ,mother of two boys name Haseeb and Hashim both are autistic and are Special Olympics Pakistan athletes. I am also part of the family support network of Special Olympics Pakistan.
Share
View less ▲

August 19, 2014 | North America: Pennsylvania

Special Friend

By Nicholas Piccari

Special Olympics is a place where my brother Danny can be himself and a place that accepts all kinds of special athletes. Danny has been involved with Bucks County Special Olympics in gymnastics, soccer, softball, track and field, and bocce. He even had the honor to go to World Games in Shanghai China about 8 years ago.View Story I created a video that shows just a few examples of how not only my brother, but all people with special needs are truly amazing people. From the impact that they have on us, to the love that they share. How they simply want to live their lives just like we do. Yes, they have disabilities, but they are still humans just like everyone else. They long for friendship, fun, and even love. Special Olympics has been a blessing for my brother. Not one to be shy, clearly from the video, but it is a place where Danny can be himself and a place that accepts all kinds of special athletes. Danny has been involved with Bucks County Special Olympics his whole life. From gymnastics, to soccer, softball, track and field, and bocce. He has excelled in every event he has competed in. Even getting the honor to go to World Games in Shanghai China about 8 years ago. There are many positive thing one can say about Special Olympics. From the Coaches, to the volunteers that help out, the parents, but more importantly the friends Danny has created along the way. Friendship that are as strong today as they were when they first met through Special Olympics. Special Olympics is an organization that helps show how these athletes are true heroes. How many of them have overcome obstacles that many of us couldn’t even fathom. My brother is a walking miracle, surviving a surgery doctors deemed he would have very little survival (that’s a whole other story). Even with his obstacles I tried showing how much of a blessing and normal life he does live. So, yes, they are right in saying my brother is special, but special in a different way. He is a special athlete, a special brother, and one heck of a special friend.

About Nicholas Piccari:I play music and every show I play my brother Danny is always there to support. Every show he attends, Danny always asked me to play the Irish song "Oh Danny Boy". That song does not fit my style of playing so I did the next best thing. I wrote him a song so anytime he asked me to play his song, I can. I also put a little video together for it.
Share
View less ▲

August 19, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Israel

In Israel, Mothers Made Time for Children with Intellectual Disabilities After Leaving Air Raid Shelters

By Robi Dolev

Special Olympics Israel mothers and 120 families that have children with special needs living in the Gaza Strip war zone came to a summer vacation in the north of the country.View Story Special Olympics Israel mothers and 120 families that have children with special needs living in the Gaza Strip war zone came to a summer vacation in the north of the country. We offered to make art workshops. When I asked the Special Olympics families who was willing to volunteer, the response was overwhelming. We included Miki, the bocce coach, who requested to join us to play bocce. We eight mothers set off on Wednesday with the bocce coach. We operated through stations, and many people came to join in the activities. The families spent hours with us, crafting, laughing and simply enjoying. We saw mutual assistance between siblings: What love did they pile upon their special brother/sisters. Eight-year-old Noya fell in love with 3-year-old Meir, a remarkable child with Down syndrome. “Can I take him home as a gift?” she asked his mother. Meir’s mother responded with “Such a gift from heaven comes, but once in a lifetime, and I am not letting him go!” It was an unforgettable experience for all.

About Robi Dolev:My name is Tali, I am the family coordinator in Israel, i encourage each time the family members to share stories.
Share
View less ▲

August 19, 2014 | North America: Georgia

The R-word..What Does It Really Mean?

By Flo Mayes

My daughter sees your stares and she cries. She hates going out in public and I understand that. She is the person no one else wants to be, but she is my super hero.View Story Being the mom of 40 yr. old Christina, who has Dpwn syndrome and mild autism, qualifies me to say that the R-word refers to a person who has to fight battles every day not only to conquer their own limitations, but also against the preconceived and incorrect perception of what society at large thinks the R-word means. Why do people think my daughter is somehow not human and incapable of feeling emotion? It is quite the opposite. Why do people talk about her right in front of her like she isn't even there? Why do people brazenly stare at her as if she can't see them? Ignorant and inconsiderate are the words to describe their actions, which I am sure they would be offended if I called them that. MY DAUGHTER IS A HUMAN BEING WITH FEELINGS LIKE ANYBODY ELSE! She sees your stares and she cries. She hates going out in public and I understand that. She is the person no one else wants to be, but she is my super hero.

About Flo Mayes:I am Christina's and her four younger siblings mom. Semi-retired but very busy still.
Share
View less ▲

Your Donation Matters

Special Olympics transforms athletes’ lives through the joy of sport. Help us make a difference.

DONATE TODAY»

Volunteer Near You

Volunteering with Special Olympics is fun and very rewarding, for both the athlete and the volunteer!

LEARN MORE»

Follow Us

Help us reach out to one more athlete.

Donate »

Find events near you and learn about volunteer opportunities at one of our 220 worldwide locations.

FIND A LOCATION NEAR YOU »

Our Supporters

The Christmas Records TrustFunding Special Olympics work worldwide.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Annenberg FoundationSupports our goals for coaches’ excellence.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Bank of AmericaProud partner of Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Coca-ColaSpecial Olympics Founding Partner.Learn More »


Our Supporters

ESPNGlobal Presenting Sponsor of Unified Sports®.Learn More »


Our Supporters

EssilorOfficial global supplier of ophthalmic lenses.Learn More »


Our Supporters

AIPSGlobal Impact Partner for Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Lions ClubSupports access to quality eye care.Learn More »


Our Supporters

MattelSupports Special Olympics Youth Programs.Learn More »


Our Supporters

MTM RecognitionSupplier of awards and medals for our athletes.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Perfect Sense DigitalSpecial Olympics' leading digital partner.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Procter & GambleCelebrating over 30 years of partnership with Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

SafewayRaises funds and awareness for people with disabilities.Learn More »


Our Supporters

SàfiloSupplies optical frames and sunglasses.Learn More »


Our Supporters

UNICEFProvides greater inclusion of children with disabilities.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Y&RPowering our global youth marketing campaign.Learn more »


Special Olympics Blog

Suneedhi: a Girl, a Clinic, a Dream

For a dental surgeon such as myself, screening was just the first step! i felt we needed to go beyond examinations to ensuring people with intellectual disability got any treatment that they needed. I felt I could help more. read more »

Posted on 2014-09-22 by Lynn

go to blog »


*

Special Olympics - Become a Fan

Limited-Time Match Offer: Donate Monthly and Help Us Reach More Athletes

Monthly giving is easy and convenient. Donate today and transform lives all year long through the joy of sport.

Special Olympics gets an extra $100 for each new monthly donor.