The Special Olympics community applauds President Barack Obama for creating the significant call to action which will not only create equality in schools for students with disabilities, but will all lead to more welcoming and tolerant schools across America. The specific call out to “allied or “unified” sports, is especially encouraging, as this has been a part of the Special Olympics offering for many years. Special Olympics Unified Sports ®, an inclusive sports program that combines approximately equal number of individuals with intellectual disabilities and partners without intellectual disabilities on teams for training and competition, is a significantly growing program that has direct results in building more inclusive school climates. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has supported Unified Sports ®over the past year, including the development of a specific online coaches’ education course located at www.NFHSLearn.com
Special Olympics can also offer the Special Olympics Project UNIFY® Program as a support to schools to promote an atmosphere of inclusiveness that we are all trying to achieve in our schools and in our sports programming. Project UNIFY uses inclusive sports activities, youth leadership and activation to provide all students opportunities for participation and acceptance. This program, a direct result of Department of Education funding, has shown proven results in providing students opportunities to play sports together, enhance school climate and give students increased physical, social and educational skills.