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 4.7 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
My husband has dyslexia. He had to repeat his first and second grades. He was looked down on for being 'stupid, retarded', etc.
My brother who is intellectually disabled once asked me, "why do people use the word 'retarded' to make fun of other people? That's what I am, isn't it? Why is that bad?"
Calling things "retarded" was a common practice for me growing up. All of my friends did it and it was funny to us.
When I was in high school I was made fun of daily. Sometimes I was even shoved into lockers by my peers for no reason.
If you are the person who said that please know that I don't hate you, I just hate your word choice and joke. What is wrong with this world?
I didn't realize how bad that word really was or the effect it could have on that person, surrounding people, or their families until my little brother was born.
I didn't ever get to see my uncle when I was little. I always wondered why I couldn't see him. When I was 5, I got to meet him and it was clear why I didn't see him until then.
The word retarded is never used correctly. Everyone says it, even my closest friends, and people who have a family member like my brother.
My sister deals with CP. People continually make fun of her for the way she walks. It's sad that people can't respect one another.
My best friend is in a wheelchair and has many difficulties in life. I have watched her struggle and see what the bullying of any disabled person can do to their psychological state.
My baby brother was born weighing 1 pound 12 ounces and today is our miracle, he is almost 18. He might be a special needs child and have autism but he is my everything! I will proudly take a stand for him!
We have so many wonderful students at the school where I am a counselor. One of the most cheerful & good-natured is our secretary's daughter, Bailey. Bailey always has a Hi for everyone.
Rhonda is my aunt and dear friend and she is one of gods special angels. we are the same age and grew up as playmates. even as a little boy I knew the R word was wrong.
I thought of the people with disabilites so i took action!
Working in the public school system for 20 years and all of those years with Special Needs community, the "r" word is flat out unacceptable in any situation. People need to stop the labels and start interacting with each other as human beings with feelings and a heart.
Our adult daughter, with special needs, becomes extremely upset when someone uses the R-word. The word is often used by teens when referring to one of their friends.
I have been friends with AnnCatherine, who has Down syndrome since sixth grade. She has taught me the true meaning of life and I'm thankful for her every day. She has impacted my life an extraordinary amount, I wouldn't want any other best friend. Stop the R-Word!!
My 8 year old son has a mild mental disability, and he and I both have struggled with peers, friends, and strangers bullying, teasing, etc. I have ALWAYS taught my son to NEVER make fun of ANYONE.
Best Buddies is a non-profit organization that pairs someone with an IDD with someone who does not to develop a friendship. This program had changed my life and the life of my peers who have a disability.
Hello my name is Katie Williams. I'm 36 years old. I've been involved in Special Olympics 25 years and during the 25 years I've been competing in swimming.
I had an assembly about this word and I thought it was the right thing to do. I don't like it when people are bullied because I once was and people called me a retard.
I haven't realized it until now but calling people "retards" is really offensive. It hurts people with mental disabilities and the people who support them.
We are excited to announce that Special Olympics Project UNIFY has appointed six new members to the National Youth Activation Committee.
I attend east noble high school and we are very lucky to have a program at our school called "learning partners" Its where you have a whole class period to build amazing relationships with kids who have disability's.
My brother has Prader Willi, so I have lived with dealing with others' being mean and saying this word. At a young age I was taught not to use this word.
I noticed this encouraging news story from the Newton Daily News in Newton, Iowa, about the students at Woodrow wilson School. Way to go!
So I'm a middle schooler. Granted some of them are mean! I got into the wrong group of kids one day and I had my best buddy with me. The kids would say the r-word repeatedly and I finally asked them to stop. They didn't and my buddy got upset! I felt bad because I never thought they would do that.
I have been in the Army, Air Force, Indiana Dept of Corrections, and a firefighter/paramedics-"tough guy" professions. I am lucky enough to have two sisters in law who have enlightened me to how hurtful such comments can be.
I took this pledge for my brother in law that is autistic. He is a high level, but he still has a disability. I hate to see him get made fun of or teased because he is a little bit different then most.
My sister is mentally handicapped. As kids we had a small park just across the street. There had to be at least two of us go with Janet when she went.
Several years ago I had a student who was physically different. I was actually afraid to have this student in class. This young man changed my life however.
I have Asperger's a form of autism. Whether your like me, whose disability is not severe, to someone who is worse than me, I know the R-word hurts.
My fraternal organization, Knights of Columbus, has many fund raisers during the year to help the physically and mentally challenged so I am a big supporter of not using the "R" word or any other degrading phrase or words.
I just heard on of the most powerful stories from a guest speaker at one of our high school convocations. He shared with us his story of courage and perseverance throughout his life.
When my broadcasting teacher asked me to join this I of course said yes. I have been looking for ways to give back to the community for a while now.
Last week a local radio DJsbwere using the R-Word on air and having a great time laughing. My SN son heard this and the look on his face hurt me. How could the station he loves be so insensitive?
I have felt the love of knowing that I have been a part of this time with our athletes. It is me who is the true winner. Thank you Special Olympics.
I love Special Olympics because it lets me do what I want to do andwhen I bring back a medal I feel proud of myself because I tried hard at what I did.
I just want to say. It is because of three very special children my daughter has grown up with who have helped her choose her career. She has, since 1st grade, had three friends/students with Down syndrome.
Everyday on the bus in the morning I hear someone say it. The R-WORD! I tell them not to say it but, they do0'nt listen. I want the word to stop. NOW!
I worked with special needs adults. As an employee was being separated from the company (voluntarily) she made it a point to say " That's fine, I don't want to work with these 'retards' anyway!" and stormed out.
I am a Special Olympics athlete for Vanderburgh County. I do not like
Back when I was in grade school I was not smart like everyone else but I loved being in school and wanting to learn. No one wanted to be be my friend and all they wanted to do was make fun of me.