We are a global organization with programs in 170 countries. This site may be customized by language and geographic region.
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 over 4.5 million athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities 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 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
LEE S BLAKEMAN
I earned my 17th gold medal over all in state competition last weekend and my 10th gold medal in Richmond.
I have ADHD/ADD, as does my brother. I can tolerate being called something hateful but I would never ever let someone get away with calling him anything bad.
As a teenager, my stepmother did not like me for being disabled. Sometimes I would do things incorrectly or slower because of my disabilities.
Katie McGinty Botha
Unfortunately, my employer 100% supports use of the R word. They have retaliated and ostracized me for formally reporting (per policy) its use by co-workers.
By Amie Dugan
By Katie McGinty Botha
My cousin, Nabi, inspired me because he has cerebral palsy, and people always call him retarded. IT IS NOT FAIR!
During my high school years, we had a Best Buddies group. It was where general education students hung out with special education students. It helped all of us to know we each had someone we could go to. The R word hurts. I hope many people pledge.
My daughter Cassandra, what can I say except that she is my saving grace. Cassie as we call her is intellectually impaired but, you'd never know it. She is the most caring, loving and beautiful person you will ever met.
My brother Josh has Down Syndrome, but he never let that stand in his way. On top of being one of the most genuinely caring, kind hearted, and pure personalities in existence, he is an athlete, an artist, an entertainer, a jokester, a hug bug, a prayer warrior, and a hero.
My 27-year-old daughter has been participating in Special Olympics since she was 10. I believe that Special Olympics opens more eyes to the capabilities of the athletes.
Since the 6th grade i have been working with kids that have all kinds of disability's. These kids can't help their actions. On days that i feel really down they all manage to make me smile.
There are many words that can hurt anyone, but there is only one word that can hurt like the r-word. Why use it? To make yourself powerful? Seem cool?
When I was in elementary school, some people who were smarter than others were moved up to an more advanced class. I wasn't one of those people and I had a struggle with learning.
I have some friends that both have autism and cerebral palsy. They are some of my best friends and they have inspired me in so many ways to stand up to the r-word
Matthew S Hall
Special Olympics really changed my life because I now have a whole lot of friends I have made over the years. Special Olympics has taught me how to be a good teammate, a good team player and taught me a lot of confidence in myself.
David Michael Bowen
I disgusts me to hear people flippantly using the r-word in their everyday comments. At my job, where I began working two and a half years ago, I swear I heard the word at least 5 times every day.
My younger sister was born with cerebral palsy and I love her so much, but most of the kids at my school (including my friends, sadly) use the word for a replacement for stupid and enough is enough.
Being in the audience at a basketball game didn't seem like much effort, so I went. I was very surprised at what I saw, and not just that I saw a basketball game played like any other high school basketball game.
The day my son, Trevor, was born was the day the 'r' word was totally eliminated from my vocabulary. I now teach my students the true meaning/definition of the 'r' word.
When my mother was pregnant with me all the tests results showed that I would be born with Down syndrome. However, the tests were wrong.
My son mike now 21 born 5 weeks pre term with many complications we were told he was born with intellectual disability by Pre K and told he would never amount to nothing much more than janitor material.
People didn't understand our friendship. He has an intellectual disability, but I don't see him for that, I see him for the millions of other amazing qualities about him.
My little sister has Aspergers and two years ago, a girl in one of her classes called her a "retard". My sister was very hurt to say the least.
My brother has taught me more about life than anyone ever could. Using the r word isn't just hurtful to him but to my family and I. People need to understand how hurtful the r word is before they even begin to have it come out of their mouths.
O.B. Gates Elementary in Chesterfield County, Virginia serves a diverse group of students, and celebrating the abilities of all its students is a priority for the staff.
It takes one person to transform a school. Brandon Wakefield, a physical education teacher, is that person at Warren County High School in Front Royal, Virginia.
I had a dream that I would travel and compete with other bowlers. I want to say thanks to Special Olympics for helping me keep my dream true.
Peter C. Mathews (Head Coach)