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.
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Make a Difference
Hi, I have been a Special Olympics athlete for 29 years. And here how it got started.
Special Olympics Staff
My experiences have reinforced my pledge to never use the R word and to discourage those around me from ever using it.
bee a special education teacher
My godfather's sister had Down syndrome. She never went to school. Catherine was my big sister I never had.
Every person in the world deserves a little kindness shown toward them.
I've walked around throughout the school seeing people disrespect the others. Calling names and shoving others around.
We posted stop the r word! All over the school! We even put it in the announcements at school! No one used the R word again!
I pledge for my son, Trevor, who on top of having Down Syndrome, suffered an anoxic brain injury due to gross mishandling of a ruptured appendix 8 yrs ago. And also for all with different abilities.
Jack Mayor is an ambassador for Best Buddies Illinois and was asked to speak to help launch Spread the Word to End the Word campaign.
I've been called the R- word many times. It has caused anger and outbursts. I will take one step forward to forgive. Two steps back to educate but not tolerate.
Healthy Athletes Healthy Hearing resources have been updated and reorganized for easy navigation!
I know the people calling me the R-word coulden't come up with anything better. I told them to think first before they speak.
I heard a lady at the grocery store in front of her two year old say "I always get the retarded cart!"
I'm one of those kids that was called the "R" word and I am against it!!
My sister was diagnosed with Mild Intellectual Development Disorder she also has Autism. She has trouble learning, but she always knows to be nice to people. She also has trouble in social situations but knows to be nice to others.
Carl F Rollberg
I'm not proud of it though. I'm proud that I quit. That's what I'm saying. If you use the "R" word, stop, and you will feel better about yourself.
When I was a kid, I was kind of weird. I didn't have a lot of friends, and that was okay. I'd be on the playground, and maybe one or two people would play with me.
I have a 12 yr.old son! We all love him to death...I worry for his future and the cruel people out there.
I have two siblings, a brother and sister who were born with mental disabilities. They and I were made fun of during childhood. One of the siblings died a year ago.
This pledge popped up on my news feed I clicked on it and started reading comments and I'm totally appalled! Do any of these people with negative comments know a loved one with a developmental delay?
When I was in high school and in elementary school I was called the R word a lot just because I am different then everyone else .. That's not okay, I choose to pledge not to use that word.. I encourage others not to use it as well.
Pontiac Township High School has made another awesome video that is ENTIRELY student-made. It is called GOOD FEELINGS and features an original
When I was little I used to let people call me retard all the time. I am now 47 years old and now when people say the word I tell them that word is upsetting to me.
lynette alvera ann marshall
I have a few friends who protected me when I was in high school. They made sure the bullies knew their place when they made fun of me.
My friends don't know I'm autistic.
I didn't even know until a few months ago, but I always hated the r-word. It's derogatory, no two ways about it.
The Chicago Sun-Times wrote: "In 1968, Mr. O’Brien became one of the first Special Olympians at the inaugural games at Chicago’s Soldier Field. He competed every year until 2014, traveled the world, and won about 750 medals, many of them gold.
My friend Kathy became a teacher for special education and when I one day misused the R word, she schooled me. I have never since then used it, and in turn school others.
Harold William Greene
Before I had my child who was born with Down syndrome, I regularly used the r-word in slang as many people today do. Today, I am more aware of its effect on people with special needs and refuse to use this ignorant speech anymore.
Charles m Adams
My name is Charles. From an early age, I knew I was different. I couldn't keep up in high school. I was always pushed in school but it wasn't until I came to a friend that Ii found out about the Chicago Special Olympics organization and the rest as they say is history.I pledge never to use "Thatword" as long as I live.
I have a son that has cerebral palsy and people where I live the kids ride their bikes past my house yelling the R word and laugh.
Working with individuals with disabilities is an eye opening experience. Hearing people use the r-word really disappoints me. Just because someone has a disability doesn't mean they are incapable.
I am 55 years old and have a sibling with an intellectual disability. His influence on my life and development could not compare to the compilation of all my professors and colleagues.
My grandson Michael has special needs but is so beloved by all who know him and is helpful to everyone he meets. We have fought the R word for years.
Corinne Zollars, Sr. Director - Marketing & Communications, Special Olympics Illinois
We need everybody to say the r-word is not good for everybody. Let's take a stand by putting the r-word out for not just one person but all of us. Let's make everybody be happy. Thank you.
My little sister has Down's and for as long as I remember, i have hated the r-word. I have always told me friends not to use it.
Jean & Jan Finn
Hello my name is Zachary Robert Melau and I am currently an athlete. I compete in Special Olympics. I started 13 years ago.