Special Olympics Research

Closing the Gap: A National Blueprint to Improve the Health of Persons with Mental Retardation*

"Closing the Gap: A National Blueprint to Improve the Health of Persons with Mental Retardation" is a 2002 report of the Surgeon General's Conference on Health Disparities and Mental Retardation: "Like other Americans, persons with mental retardation (MR)* grow up, grow old, and need good health and health care services in their communities...People with MR are remaining in their communities. In ever-increasing numbers, people with MR either do not enter institutions, or they leave them to live with their families or in other community settings, and they are determined to understand and take charge of their health. But in most cases, neither the education and training of health professionals nor other elements of the Nation's health system have been updated to reflect their progress. Especially as adolescents and adults, people with MR and their families face evergrowing challenges in finding and financing primary and specialty health care that responds both to the characteristics of MR and to the distinctive health care needs of each stage of life. 

"The purpose of this Blueprint is to set forth an agenda from the community for national, State, and local action, in both public and private sectors, to improve the health of individuals with MR and to include them fully in health systems that meet their needs. 

"Realizing the goals of this Blueprint calls for partnerships at all levels of public and private endeavor, from government agencies, legislatures, corporations, foundations, research and health care organizations, universities, and accreditation boards for health professions schools and training, to self-advocates, their families, local businesses and schools, voluntary, civic and faith-based organizations, individual clinical practices, and community-based health care services for other vulnerable populations." 

Click here to read this full report

* Note: In 2004, Special Olympics updated its official terminology from "mental retardation" to "intellectual disabilities" - previously the term mental retardation was used throughout the Special Olympics movement because of its specific meaning in clinical and academic settings. Other terminology - including cognitive delay, intellectual disabilities, intellectual handicaps, learning disability, mental disabilities and mental handicaps - is used around the world.

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 »

Videos and Photos

DifferentBarry Cairns tells what it's like to be a Special Olympics athlete.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

SpeechlessSpecial Olympics changed her life in deep and meaningful ways.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Summer GamesAround the world, months of practice are paying off.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Photos on FBSee photos and comments from our supporters around the world.See Photos »


Videos and Photos

Hope in HaitiLeo and Gedeon play in makeshift fields, tent towns, wherever they can.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Finding His VoiceDavid Egan has always dreamed big. Now look at him!Learn More »


Videos and Photos

Sport Teaches UsOur life-changing work is fueled by the power of sport.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Making SuccessDoctors said Lani is “never going to achieve anything.” Learn More »


Videos and Photos

Very Very SpecialMusic helps Special Olympics make an impact worldwide.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Around The WorldGreat photos of Special Olympics events and people.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Focus on ChangeWhat we do can't be done without our partners.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Power of SportsSports are a powerful way to change our athlete’s lives.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

What We DoSports, health, education, community and more.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Who We AreWe are athletes, families, celebs, volunteers and more.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Summer SportsOur athletes run, jump, swim and score in summer.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Playing UnifiedUnified Sports reveals strengths in every team member.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Healthier AthletesOur free health clinics are making a huge difference.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Deon NamisebHe's a speaker and role model. It didn't start that way in Namibia.Learn More »


Special Olympics Blog

Health Needs Need Closer Examination

"You can't compete if your feet hurt, if your teeth hurt or if your ears ache."read more »

Posted on 2014-04-07 by Ryan

go to blog »


*

Special Olympics - Become a Fan