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 5.3 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!
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Make a Difference
My names is Doug. I am the morale building coach of the Red Bandits of Summit, NJ.
I, sadly, suffer from anxiety and depression. When I have panic attacks, everyone just stares and sometimes, they laugh.
I started competing with Special Olympics at the age of 8. One day, my gym teacher and Basketball coach Pat Sanft came into our classromm and told me that we have a basketball team. I was so thrilled to play basketball for the first time on the Bancroft Bulldogs.
My daughter, a sister, granddaughter, friend, student, Special Olympics athlete, animal lover, reader and oh so many other things.
My son went from being a healthy 4 1/2 month old infant to a child with special needs in an instant.
I have an amazing brother with autism, and I'm tired of people using the r-word without knowing its actual meaning!
My dad passed away in 2003, and no matter what the sport is I have his initials somewhere on my equipment..
When I was in 8th grade, some of my classmates would use the R-word offensively without knowing what it really means.
Growing up with a sibling with Down syndrome has its perks. My brother is one of the sweetest kids I've ever met.
For my girl scout silver award, I taught students at my school the meaning behind the r-word.
Hi my name is Emmanuel and I have a learning disability. Specifically I have trouble of process information, so I tend to learn at my own rate.
By Suzin Triolo
Stephen F. Coston
On a Saturday in March at Hudson Lanes in Jersey City, two Special Olympics bowlers from NJ competed dramatically, as if both were in the Professional Bowlers Tour.
Before my mom got me the help I needed as a little kid I was mostly nonverbal and would freak out when anyone touched me. My own experiences as a child inspired me to pursue a career working with people with disabilities.
I have friends who are in the special classes for kids with autism and other similar disorders. They've been my friends for years, and it always makes me so upset when someone calls them the r-word.
I was sitting at a table waiting for the program to start and and one boy got up from another table to leave, saying goodbye to his friend (another volunteer) with the parting words "go have fun with those retarded kids."
Recently I've heard highly educated people I respect use the r word to describe distasteful, unenjoyable, and negative experiences/people. They rationalize that the r word is a medical diagnosis but I consider that view insensitive, ignorant, and privileged.
i have ADHD and I know it may not be as big of a disability as others but after helping with kids with disabilities and being able to help them it just became so near and dear to my heart.
When I was in high school, I worked for a school and residential community for the intellectually impaired. While my daughter we growing up, I always corrected her when she used the r-word in a derogatory manner. I'm glad to see a movement to never use the word.
When I was young, I constantly heard people call my cousin and my brother a "re****". They They both were slow emotionally and educationally. I got in trouble all the time because I got into a lot of fights defending them.
Maria M. McQuay
I have a developmentally disabled older brother who I refuse to call the R word. He has a job and an apartment, which is more than some "normal" people.
We're all prone to immaturity. However, his apology doesn't really impress me much. I don't think he grasps the gravity that word has nor comprehends the feeling that word has on autistic, learning-challenged, and others.
Mr. Stephen F. Coston and Linda Coston
Stephen's moment of truth came in 2009 when he shot his highest score with 11 strikes in a row for a 290 games. He shocked the whole entire amateur bowling program and showed what inclusion and unified sports is all about.
I raised my niece with a learning disability. When someone around us used that word, I would cringe...but the pain in Karen's face spoke volumes.
I have autistic twins and ever since we found out that they were Autistic. We made a pledge R" word in the house. Anyone who visit is told the same thing. We have even told friends that this is not a word that is used around us.
The Boy came into the room and asked, "Mom, what does retarded mean? I asked why he was asking and he said he saw a post on Facebook. We looked at the post together and I asked what he thought retarded meant.
It's time that this slang term loses its strength and its appeal. No one likes to be called names. And this one, is derogatory and hurtful, not funny as some seem to think.
We were always taught acceptance of people w/ mental and/or physical disabilities. My aunt was born with Cerebral Palsy. We always treated her and others with respect.
My brother, Sal, has Down syndrome. I watch and learn from him everyday as he comes and sits next to me at night holding a book, or a deck of cards maybe even a calculator.
My brother Raymond was born with Down syndrome and autism and I hate when people use the r-word. Raymond touches everyone he meets and we are spreading the word to end the word.
My school is doing a project to end the word and each student was assigned to make a website or media post spreading the the word to end the word.
Hi where I use to work, the girls always said retard on a daily basis. I would get up from the lunch room and say that is a horrible word. I told them my brother has more sense than you all do.
My family and friends get so upset when the r-word is used. Not many people understand what its like to grow up with someone with a disability or to have someone in their life that has a disability.
We are a special needs cheer squad in New Jersey and we want every single community to have a team like ours :)
michael maregrum. aka big mike
July 20th marked 45 years of involvement of the Special Olympics in Chicago. Well, 45 years later a new sport was introduced to Special Olympics in New Jersey.
Dr. Kimberly K. Friedman
I first noticed Sandy at my Church over 25 years ago. I noticed that she and her Mom would walk two miles from their home to go to Church.
I've grown up with Down Syndrome my entire life. It has only made me a stronger person and I can't wait to see what comes next!