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Intellectual Disabilities

About Intellectual Disabilities Lead
Children and adults with intellectual disabilities inspire us every day at Special Olympics events around the world. But what are intellectual disabilities?

What is Intellectual Disability?

Intellectual disability (ID) is a term used to describe a person with certain limitations in cognitive functioning and other skills, including communication and self-care.
3 Min Read

Fragile X Syndrome

Fragile X is a genetic condition that affects a person’s development, especially behavior and the ability to learn.
5 Min Read

Down Syndrome

Down syndrome describes a set of cognitive and physical symptoms that result from having an extra copy or part of a copy of chromosome 21.
5 Min Read


Autism is a complex neurological and developmental condition that affects how a person learns, communicates and interacts with others.
4 Min Read

Other Intellectual Disabilities

There are many other types of intellectual disabilities—some have known causes, while others remain unknown.
6 Min Read

How to Speak With People With Intellectual Disabilities

A Resource for Healthcare Professionals, Parents, and Anyone Communicating With Our Athletes This video features Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver and our athletes discussing why it’s so important to include people with intellectual disabilities in all areas of life—especially healthcare access. The first step is learning how to communicate with respect, compassion, and care.