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Special Olympics celebrates International Day of Persons with Disabilities with call for more inclusion

WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 3, 2018: Special Olympics is celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) by challenging everyone to up their game for global inclusion. The theme of this year’s IDPD is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.”

“Empowerment, inclusion and equality for all people with intellectual disabilities are at the heart of the Special Olympics movement. As we celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities and countdown to the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, UAE, it’s a perfect time for everyone to meet the challenge of doing more to deliver a world of full inclusion — where discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities (ID) has completely ended,” said Dr. Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics.

Proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations, the observance of IDPD aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of people with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of people with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. Based on the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, this year’s theme focuses on empowering people with disabilities through inclusive, equitable, and sustainable development.

Everyone can celebrate IDPD by upping their game for more inclusion:

  • Youth: join a Unified Sports team or advocate for Unified programming in your schools, bringing more people with and without ID together.
  • Educators: champion Unified programming in your schools. Make inclusion a priority. Teach the value of inclusion to the next generation of leaders.
  • Health professionals, educators and policy makers: make inclusive healthcare clinical practice, curricula and policies the standard across the world. Get started by volunteering with Healthy Athletes.
  • Employers: hire more people with intellectual disabilities who make great employees at every level of your organizations and businesses.

This year’s IDPD theme focuses the world’s attention on a core priority of Special Olympics: inclusion. Earlier this year, the organization launched its “Revolution is Inclusion” campaign—an all-out effort to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. Led by Special Olympics athletes, the organization launched the campaign because, despite progress, exclusion is still real for millions of people with intellectual disabilities in every aspect of their lives. The good news is: when the world chooses to include, #choosetoinclude, everything changes in a positive way for everyone. The public can show their support for inclusion at



About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement using sport, health, education and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1968, and celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 6 million athletes and Unified Sports partners in more than 170 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including Bank of America, the Christmas Records Trust, The Coca-Cola Company, ESPN, Essilor Vision Foundation, the Golisano Foundation, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Lions Clubs International Foundation, Microsoft, Safilo Group, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, TOYOTA, United Airlines, and The Walt Disney Company. Click here for a full list of partners. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and our blog on Medium. Learn more at

Media Contact

Mark Daley
Special Olympics
P: (202) 824-0389