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.
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.
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Make a Difference
My sister, who has Down syndrome, is one of the most influential people in my life. She has taught me more about love and compassion than any other person I know. It has always hurt me deeply to hear people use the R word.
Both my kids are special needs. I also have a nephew who is quadriplegic. I see how words hurt and I will fight to stop ignorance as long as I can. I have been a volunteer and a parent and aunt to Special Olympics athletes and every athlete has a loving heart and I am honored to know all of them . Igno
It wasn't until high school that I truly saw how hurt students were by the use of the r-word. I was involved with a club called PALS and also spent my study halls in my softball coach's classroom helping those students. Along the way, I grew a passion for watching them grow. Now I'm a teacher of spec
I dislike the R-word very much. I know people that have used it as an insult, but also as a way to make fun of someone that has an intellectual disability. My cousin is physically AND intellectually disabled and has been called the R-word as a way to make fun of him, which makes me dislike this word
Special Olympics Staff
Our school held the Spread the Word to End the Word awareness day in March.
Eileen P. Falchetta
Coming from a family of compassion, I had the opportunity of learning that what sets us all apart is what makes life beautiful.
I don't want her to be judged by the fact that she has special needs. I want everyone to judge her by the content of her heart.
We need more role models these days to educate our youth and break the cycle of using hurtful words.
We have some pretty awful neighbors. The mother and her teenage children decided it was okay to scream the r word in the faces of my 6, 8, and 10 year olds because my 10 year old has ADHD.
I went to my daughter's IEP meeting. I looked down at her paper, and there in bold letters was the R word.
I was always considered slow in school. Because of that I was put in special education my whole school career.
Athletes from Bucks County along with Unified partners, coaches, family and friends participated in the Rocky Balboa Run.
A new section provides tools and materials to help Programs, volunteers and Athlete Leaders launch and expand Athlete Leadership initiatives.
My son has autism and since he was born, the word "retard" wasn't allowed in our house - even as a childish joke of a word.
My son was born with epilepsy and had two seizures a day. He was in special schools, as he didn't t walk till he was 7.
We really need to stop hating each other and start loving and embracing our differences.
Greg M. Gilrain
Having a brother with an intellectual disability made me take action at the North Penn High School which we both attend.
By Timothy Damiani
Robert and Judith Weisman for Elyssa
My husband took my daughter who has Down Syndrome to breakfast at the McDonalds in Flourtown, Pennsylvania this past Friday. Everything was going well until he overheard one of the managers call another employee retarded.
Roma, the girl who smiles even though people bully her. Thank you, Roma. Thank you for not letting me give up.
By the time I graduated high school, my entire family had stopped using the r-word. When I got to college, I continuously told all my new friends to stop using that word.
One night, a group of teenagers set the residence on fire with the R word written over every possible surface they could find. Unfortunately, all residents and their caretakers passed away in the fire due to the inability to escape.
Growing up, I volunteered at an institute for children and adults with disabilities. The R-word was never a part of our vocabulary there.
Over the summer as I was working as a camp counselor, I had one camper that had Down syndrome. I didn't know it then but this girl would go on to change my outlook on life drastically.
The r word is bad. my friends and my sister say it all the time. im going to stop them and me from saying it no matter what.
Throughout my life so far I've had the honor to meet many people with an intellectual disability. Whenever I am with those people I can feel myself feeling happier than ever.
Hello everyone my name is Elizabeth. I am a global messenger, and I been involved in Special Olympics about 14 yrs now.
My boyfriend's sister has an intellectual disability. She's a sweet person and we've grown fond of each other.
Words are choices, think before you speak and think about how YOUR words may hurt someone or someone's family member.
The S2L group
Hello. We are a group of young adults with disabilities from Allentown Pennsylvania. Our group is the S2L group. We are associated with the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living.
I like Special Olympics because it has helped me open up more and also has helped me find friends that I consider my family, just as like they are my real family.
I put them on a bus with others some as special as them others leaders to help. My husband and I would meet them there but they would be staying a few days in campus dorms.
I was a teenager when I first started Special Olympics and the state that I started in was Virginia. I always loved doing Special Olympics because I love doing sports with my friends and the coaches are like my family.
Joseph M. Snyder
I used to used the r-word in casual context; never really understanding the weight of my words. From my exposure with the athletes and their families I was able to realize for the first time just how much the r-word hurts people with intellectual disabilities.
Bobby's Mom (aka Kerri Wise)
After battling cancer for the past year, I realize my time on this earth is limited. So, I wanted to try something different to make a difference in the world while I can.
Cheryl Kehoe Rodgers
Our high school had a few of their Best Buddies come down to present to our elementary school. My class instantly asked if we could make a movie to spread the word to end the word. How can I say no to 4th graders asking to help change the world?? We designed shirts & got to work!
One week we were doing this, at the square he let my hand go, balanced himself and put his foot on the ball. He looked up at me with the biggest grin!