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
I would have never thought of calling anyone so loving and caring the "r" word.
My cousin has Down syndrome. The doc used to use the R-word instead of Down syndrome. It hurts me to see them do this to my cousin. He may be special, but he is just like us in many ways. Because of him I a
At my school, some students who have mental disabilities/illnesses. When they came to our school in 6th grade, some people made fun of them and called them the r-word.
8th grade was when my world changed for the best. I was a kid who didn't care much about anyone else besides myself.
Players from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Women’s Basketball Team worked with Special Olympic athletes enhance their basketball skills.
Children can be hurtful to each other., parents need to nip it and educate them as well as demonstrate the true meaning of empathy.
As a volunteer for Special Olympics it makes me smile to see this. I have a shirt I wear once a week that says "spread the word to end the word." I was inspired to be a coach at the age of 9.
Betty, a.k.a. Ella's mom
My Ella was born with Downs and opened my and my children's eyes to how often we used the word retard randomly.
Liz Filter, Director of Rehabilitation
On February 24, 2015, VARC, Inc., located in Wisconsin, invited area school districts to discuss living a message of respect toward people of all ability levels.
Dan's proud mom
Parent teacher conferences today and the teacher shared a story that happened this afternoon. A classmate of my 6th grader, Daniel, called our daughter, Gemma, who has Down syndrome, the horrible, hurtful word.
When I was in high school, I worked as a student teacher in a special education classroom. That right there makes it personal to me.
I did a persuasive speech on why people should stop using the R word. I myself have a disability and feel that I get lower grades and I'm terrified that one day someone will figure that out and use the word on me.
I agree with all the writers here. I want a world that is fair and kind.. I have come to no longer expect all in the world to be kind and caring about people and their feelings.
Age 10 or so. Family went to visit a Nun our Mom knew who worked at a residence for the challenged. We were taken on a tour of the facility.
I became close friends with someone with ADHD my first year in college. He always hated the R-word. When he was little he was called it and bullied because kids thought he had an intellectual disability.
My sister was born with special needs and she is hurt when people use the r word.
Knowing that when they grow older they'll be made fun of breaks my heart. It is because of them I realized how many people I may be hurting by using the r-word.
Amy M Braun-Gross
I was in school when these two people told me that I mattered and that I am loved today and everyday. Those two people were nice to me when I got bullied.
Mara Nicole Grant
Spencer James Grant; 4 years of age born 3/20/09, he's the highlight of my day every single day. He has the biggest smile ever and is always saying hi or waving hi to someone.
This September 28 we will observe the fourth annual Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day to celebrate her incredible contribution to the lives of people just like me. As a young person growing up, I knew I was “different” from other children.
Whenever I hear the r word. I feel upset because those kids are no different then anyone else.
Christina Harris, Special Olympics Wisconsin
richard hilt green lake special olympics
Now I have accomplished all. I just have to make it to the world games. It's almost like chocolate, you taste it.
I am 13 and I went to Special Olympics track and field for the first time this year and it was one of the most best times I've ever had.
Christina M. Harris
Each year certified officials volunteer their knowledge of the game to make sure Special Olympics athletes compete under conditions similar to WIAA member schools. In return, the athletes reward officials with compliments, handshakes, high-fives, smiles, and thank you’s.
We need to treat people with respect -- not treat them like they are nothing!
GS Troop 4348 has chosen the "Spread the Word To End the Word" campaign for their 'Take Action' service project. They worked hard for several months putting together an all-school event at their elementary school, asking all students/staff to take the pledge to stop derogatory use of the R-word.
Thanks to Special Olympics, I have been many places and met many interesting people and I’ve had some incredible opportunities, but, I have much more to do in this world and much more to accomplish.
Michael Van Eerden
About 6 months ago I joined the Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy to better my self and do service to community for others. The Challenge Academy helped out with Special Olympics events in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin with bowling