We are a global organization with programs in over 220 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
The staff of Special Olympics Maryland was very excited to hear that Seattle, Washington was named host for the 2018 USA Games.
My granddaughter was born physically and mentally differently abled. Never mind that...she is beautiful inside and out.
Growing up I never knew how much of an impact people could have. I decided to become a special education teacher for Preschool or K-3.
I am a camp counselor at a summer camp for children and young adults with disabilities. To me they are the smartest, happiest people.
People should learn to pick up a thesaurus and expand their vocab and delete the R-word from their life. Use a word that accurately describes your feeling and not settle on an outdated, hurtful, derogatory word.
My brother has Downs Syndrome and has participated in Special Olympics for years. He was an inspiration to me. I became a coach for Special Olympics myself. I support this cause to make people more understanding and open minded to those who are different.
I have always felt this way, but after dating someone with mild disability and seeing how smart and how much information he retains. It's amazing, I Love that kid and his inner strength
Almost 3 years ago I lost my best friend, my cousin, my smile. He was 25 and he was found incoherent in the bathroom. We couldn't get into the bathroom for a couple hours after.
I have a horse rider that i teach her name is gabbi and shes is beautiful! as she says!!
When I was growing up I had a cousin who was much older than me. She had disabilities. I remember visiting her house with my family and I brought a friend.
Let's try to stop the r word cause it's gross. We don't need that word in our life. People with special needs are not any different from normal people, so give them respect.
My brother was born with the inability to walk or talk. That never hindered his ability to love or support anyone in his life. Learning how to be selfless and strong during countless setbacks in life is easily the best lesson I could have learned from him.
In high school I was the president of Best Buddies. One day, while we were all sitting around playing Uno, one of our buddies came up to me and began to cry. When I asked her why she was crying...
PHIL WETZLER (HEAD COACH, BALTIMORE CITY AQUATICS TEAM)
In 2008, as head coach of the Baltimore City Special Olympics Maryland swim team, I brought to Baltimore a talented swimmer with Down syndrome, who owned, at that time, over 15 world records for "special needs" athletes.
This Is Me
At first, I didn't think I could do anything about their use of the word, but when they called my best friend's mother the r-word, something exploded inside of me. I approached them, and explained that it was hurtful to me and many others when they used the r-word.
Many years ago my daughter was competing in Summer Games at the University of Maryland for aquatics. I was sitting in the stands with the athletes waiting for them to be staged when I saw Mrs. Shriver.
I help a 3rd grade class in the morning and one day a 3rd grader said "That's retarded" and a child with downs spoke up and said "No, no we don't use that word." Now every time I hear the word I speak up and say something about it
Sometimes you can win without even being able to see the finish line. Jerry Gatton is a runner. He is determined and eager.
In addition to having an intellectual disability, he was born blind.
Amy Genevieve Kozak
Through the age of 14-25 , from high school to employment I would get picked on & bullied in school due to me having epilepsy.
When we were little, my brothers would sit on the porch. I remember hot summer days ... Kids would pass by saying the r-word and throwing things at my brothers.
what word can I use to describe a person who is intellectually deficient? 2-3 syllables please. i am old and rather out-of-it so I am sincerely asking.
I am an autistic woman and I have been called the R-word before. It hurts because people automatically assume I am intellectually disabled but I'm not.
The r word should not be used at any point of time because it is mean and hurtful to others nationwide
You meet one family member, your perspective of life will change. If somebody ever says the r-word I correct them and tell them Ava's story.
I have been on bowling leagues for over 40 years and this year on one of my leagues we have a special boy names Zac. He's a Special Olympics athlete with autism and a fantastic bowler.
I cannot imagine the intense feeling a person with an intellectual disability may feel by someone with or without a disability using the r-word.