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
People with developemental disabilities have the same feelings, just like you and I.
I work for an agency called Lexington. We are based out of Gloversville, NY. We house and support intellectually disabled people. I love my job, every day there is an adventure.
William P. Murphy
All human life is sacred and has a unique purpose. Let us Respect Life in all its stages, regardless of physical or emotional dependency.
About 20 something years ago my god son was born with a birth defect little slow since that day I hated that word that r word my heart goes out to all of you just saw it on the news you rock Jennifer and to the rest of you I got your back peace and love to all of you and you got my vote
The people that inspired me to stop saying the R-Word was at North Rockland High School in this club named Best Buddies.
At the team tournament in December, Nick looked at me and said, "I'm a winner!" That is a most treasured moment and memory for me!
People use the r-word for the wrong reasons! If they would walk in our shoes and see that we're special in all that we do every day, they would realize not to label people with special needs.It hurts so stop labeling us!!
By Lillian Chaparro
People from this very day do not realize that using the r-word is very hurtful to us.
I got a second place here in Rochester, NY at the bowling tournament and I thought that was great.
Special Olympics is excited to announce our partnership with the Jr. NBA. The Jr. NBA presented by Under Armour is the league’s youth basketball participation program that teaches the fundamentals and values of the game at the grassroots level to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for all.
Thrown to the Ground
I have a deformed face, as people say. I was not born like that, but my face became like that when I was 11. I am now 14. I also have a leg disorder. Bullies pick me up, throw me to the ground, take my money.
Neal J. Johnson
Play Unified, a 2-year-old filly owned by Bona Venture Stables won her first start ever going wire to wire in the sixth race this past Sunday at the famed Saratoga Race Course. There's a great horse-racing back story:
I have autism. I repeat myself a lot and I don't look at people when I'm upset and not talk to them. I get upset when people use the r-word.
Carol H. Jewell
My sister-in-law, Heidi, has Down Syndrome. And she also has a fabulous, quick, sense of humor, can "run" the tv themesongs category in "Jeopardy," and loves the Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I love her very much.
I want to thank everyone who taking the pledge and supporting this movement. Remember: Be the difference that makes the difference.
I have no patience with the ignorant people. I raised my children to love my nephew and be patient with him and people like him. If only everyone felt that way.
The mother of Cameron and Connor
Today I took the boys to the park, and on my way I saw a bunch of kids, possibly 100. They were talking loudly, laughing, and walking to the park. As Connor pushed Cameron's wheelchair, I walked by them.
When he was born the doctor told my grandmother that they should not see the baby. It would be better for her to just think of him as if he had died. My great grandmother pushed the doctor on his butt and told him he better get us that baby right NOW!!
Being secretly autistic and being called the r word is extremely hard and scaring. But having someone to support you and have your back through it can help so much.
I work at an ARC home and started a small basketball game for a few of the houses before I found out about special olympics in our area. I got a few of the guys from my house interested and one of the women just went to watch.
As an athlete of Special Olympics I've learned that moms everywhere are a blessing to all of us. They're role models and make sacrifices for us every day.
I am 13 years old and in 1st grade, I had a kid in my class with Down syndrome and ever since I have been volunteering in the special education classes at my school...the r-word is horrible and to me it is considered a curse word
I am getting ready for the regional tournament on Saturday for swimming, and I know if I put my mind to it, I can do what I want to do. I compete in the water here in Rochester, NY, and the swimming tournament is this Saturday. It's also where I live, OK.
I grew up with my uncle who had Down syndrome & my brother Jon who developed cerebral palsy shortly after birth. This was the 1960's, so Jon ended up in an institution at age 4.
I remember I use to be a peer mediator who helps children and your classmates who are sad, crying or not being their usual. So one day this girl was crying and she said she was getting bullied.
Okay, this isn't a story. But if you are having a hard day or if someone you know is, read this.
Look, lots of people don't understand why the r word is wrong, and say that America is a free country and blah blah blah. I understand what they are saying. I get that.
I stopped using the 'r' word 2 years ago, when my two little brothers were diagnosed with Autism. The 'r' word actually has a meaning, it's not something that should be used to make fun of others.
I am blind, I have challenges...I have heard the R-word before. I told them not to use it. There was a staff before who used the word. I told his mother that her son used that word. The word is not appropriate. Don't pick up that word from other people. It's frustrating. It's a bad curse word.
I would like to go to Summer State Games, and next year I want to go to World Games. I have never been there at all. Now also, OK, and this is something I really want there right now. By the way, this is important too for my coaches.
I can't bend my legs. I am blessed to still be able to walk (but hardly), but I have to take the elevator at my school as I cannot climb stairs. At my school, only students with medical needs and all adults may take the elevator.
it was a wonderful time we had time to spend with your family and you helping make awareness of down syndrome and you got to meet new people and make new friends that will last a lifetime.
The other day I was walking home from physical therapy, when I saw these teenagers leaning against a wall, smoking and drinking. I kept walking past. They all started cracking up and chanting, "Retardo!!"
I admired Special Olympics because the athletes learn how to be themselves and have fun with other people around them .I may have autism and I am not ashamed to admit it!
Our son has autism and it hasnt been easy for him in school with making friends or being understood i hate the R word and my other children aren't allowed to say it.
Hi. My name is Jill ... I was born at 24 weeks and I weighed 1 pound and 10 ounces. I died for a second and I had heart surgery and they were able to bring me back.
I have participated in Special Olympics since age 8. I was born in 1979 and my parents thought they had a healthy beautiful girl which was the case until I started school. That is when they discovered that I was different but they didn't love me any less.
Dennis L. Page
When I had my first date with my wife I brought her flowers. Her brother who had Down syndrome answered the door excitedly. Little did I know it was his birthday and how much he loved flowers.
Whenever I hear someone use the R-word I show that person a picture of my son and tell them how proud I am of him, and how well he's doing at school, and how words affect how people perceive my son.
I would like to go to Brockport for swimming and then sometime to the World Games. I am working really hard and no one is giving me the credit to be able to do this. Also, OK, and I would like to get to the national Games. I am a strong swimmer and I have some great trainers that are working with me in the gym.
Mrs. Fanning's class in NY
We don't like the R word because it offends us. We have people we know that are mentally challenged. A girlfriend's brother has learning disabilities. They pick on her brother and call him the R word. It offends my teacher Mrs. Fanning because of her older sister was mentally challenged.