In 1997, Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® began offering free health screenings and education to Special Olympics athletes in a welcoming, fun environment. Since then, we have delivered over 2 million free health screenings and trained more than 280,000 health professionals and students to treat people with intellectual disabilities. Moreover, Special Olympics Programs have been able to expand their reach of Healthy Athletes, by offering 123,896 screenings since 2016 in new locations or in new disciplines. We offer health screenings in eight disciplines:
Despite a mistaken belief that people with intellectual disabilities receive the same or better health care than others, they typically receive sub-standard care or virtually no health care at all.
The impact of these screenings on the health and wellness of Special Olympics athletes around the world is significant. Healthy Athletes has discovered undetected health problems, alleviated pain and provided health services that otherwise would not be available.
Healthy Athletes is not only a program for athletes but, through training and hands-on experience at screenings, it is a program for healthcare students and professionals to increase knowledge of best practices in caring for and communicating with people with intellectual disabilities.
Notably, trained health care providers demonstrate improved awareness and self-efficacy in providing care for and communicating with patients with ID after completing training:
For additional information:
Learn how to work with people with intellectual disabilities in a healthcare setting: learn.specialolympics.org