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 more than 5.6 million athletes with intellectual disabilities and unified partners 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 involved with our Unified Sports, a quick path to friendship and fun.
Special Olympics has events and competitions happening in places all around the world. View our events.
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
Shawn was at one my school functions and he was called the R word without me knowing and came home in tears asking mom if he was "retarded."
Coby Jane has Fragile X syndrome. Every day is a struggle, but she takes it all in stride with a beautiful smile upon her face.
Its very degrading, to me the r-word is as bad as saying cuss words.
My best friend (now husband) has autism. Everyone made fun of him, never believed in him, called him names, some still do to this day.
I was born with a lazy eye and later had to wear glasses with a red patch over my good eye.
Where I'm from, the R-word is commonly used to describe someone as "stupid." And I've always thought it was wrong and mean so I've never said it.
A couple of summers ago I worked with several mentally disabled people. It was difficult at first, but in time I learned to love them.
My daughter is my life and she is differently-abled. I love her and when she has been called that word the pain in her eyes broke my heart.
My mother taught us from toddler on that the r-word was not used in our home.
I've transported to the hospital in the past month with the seizure, I heard the ambulance people use the R word. That really ticked me off so I decided to write a letter to the company that transported me the hospital.
I'm a senior in high school and have volunteered with the special needs community since about 7th grade. It's hard being an advocate for this cause as a teen because there is of course judgement and the "why do you care?" question.
In day to day life, using the r-word is something that you use without thought. By using it to describe an outfit, stranger, or friend I never knew how much I used the word until a peer came up to me and asked me a question.
"Why do they call me names like retard? I don't understand."
Diran N. Tookmanian
When I came home from serving as a First Division MP in Vietnam I found that the family that had lived across the street had moved to a nearby town. They were friends and had children my age. They also had a young son who had several poorly understood "disabilities."
We need to get rid of this word as well as get rid of bullying and ridiculing people who are different and special in their own way. We are human beings and have feelings just like everyone else.
My school is notorious for using the R word. I am a freshman in high school. What am I supposed to do? Well the other day I stepped up and asked my teacher if I could speak to my class about the R word.
Kayla aka KayBearDabs
I support Special Olympics for many reasons. The first reason on my list is the love of sports and how Special Olympics allows everyone to participate in a sport no matter what their challenges are.
I have had some very special loving children and young adults touch my life. When I have been sad they have always given me a big smile. When I have needed a hug they have been there.
I named my son Forest; 3 years before the movie Forest Gump came out.... (his favorite movie btw). And people everywhere think it is okay to tease him with the phrase "run Forest, run"
Often when people use the word "retarded" they also use a hand symbol where they twist their hand up to their chest to symbolize someone's unintelligence.
Mandi Steward Steward Ballinger
Everytime I see an individual on FB use the r-word I report it as a hate speech and everytime FB tells me that it doesn't count.
In elementary school, I didn't have that many friends. The first person that ever befriended me was a guy named Adam. He has down syndrome, but he is the sweetest person I've ever met.
I detest hearing anyone use the R word no matter in what context or situation. It literally makes my blood boil to hear the word.
There is a life changing patience and respect you learn when you work with children with special needs. Every worry or previous thought I had ever had about people with special needs were blown out of the water.
“Could you for one second stop being retarded and act normal?” I asked my 10-year-old daughter, D’Andra. She looked at me and her eyes got big, then she started crying.
Four years ago, I used to use the R word because I didn't think much of it. One day, my youngest sister told me that using the R word is demeaning to the people who have intellectual disabilities.
I was so offended I emailed the radio station to let them know how upsetting the word is along with a link to this website. I'm hoping they take this to heart--they are a decent radio station and do not have "shock jocks".
I volunteer at the YMCA challenger program to Help kids with special needs play sports and when ever anyone says the r-word I Get so mad!
My Friend Cordell I don't know what he has. when I see him walk through the halls of school everyone says what he says because he speaks thing out loud and he's a 7th grader and I'm a 6th grader.
How I love going to my grandsons' baseball games! But one evening. . .
There was a very attractive, neat looking young lady sitting on the bleachers next to me. When the umpire made a call she didn't agree with, she began yelling at him: "Retard!"