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Inclusive Health

Group of seven young adults standing side by side for a group photo.
Despite severe need and higher health risks, people with intellectual disabilities (ID) are often denied health services and die on average 16 years sooner than the general population.

Special Olympics Health, made possible by the Golisano Foundation, and in the United States in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is creating a world where people with intellectual disabilities have every opportunity to be healthy.

Inclusive health means people with ID are able to take full advantage of the same health programs and services available to people who do not have ID. Currently, people with ID face significant challenges in accessing quality health care and obtaining opportunities that promote fitness and wellness, resulting in pronounced health disparities and reduced life expectancy. Special Olympics’ health programming focuses on improving the physical and social-emotional well-being of people with ID by increasing inclusion in health care, wellness and health systems for Special Olympics athletes and others with ID. Learn how we are making a difference.

Healthy Communities

Since 2012, Healthy Communities have been activated in 66 countries and has yielded athlete engagement, and increased attention to health from athletes and caregivers, as well as significant increases in health systems partnerships.
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Young Athletes

Special Olympics Young Athletes is an early childhood play program for children with and without intellectual disabilities, ages 2 to 7 years old.
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Family Health Forums

Family Health Forums provide a space for the families and caregivers of people with intellectual disabilities to engage with health professionals, community leaders and social service providers.
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Healthy Athletes

In 1997, Special Olympics Healthy Athletes began offering free health screenings and education to Special Olympics athletes in a welcoming, fun environment.
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Fitness

Fitness is an important aspect of the Special Olympics mission. Physical activity, adequate nutrition and hydration enhance athletes’ sports performance and improve health and overall quality of life.
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Health Messengers

The only way to end exclusion is to have people who face these challenges daily help create the solution. People with intellectual disabilities are guiding us toward solutions in our health work.
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Health Workforce

Ensuring that the health workforce is adequately trained and equipped to care for patients with intellectual disabilities is an important step in realizing quality health care for this population.
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Partnerships and Health Systems

Special Olympics partners with ministries and departments of health, United Nations agencies and other international organizations to create sustainable health systems and quality health services inclusive of people with intellectual disabilities around the world.
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Golisano Health Leadership Awards

The Golisano Health Leadership Awards recognize health champions—leaders and organizations—that are making a significant contribution to equal access to health, fitness or wellness for people with intellectual disabilities.
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Health Reports

Special Olympics produces yearly reports to share data we collect on the health of people with intellectual disabilities and our efforts to improve their health. See below for links to the reports.

MyHealth

MyHealth is an online hub for health education resources geared towards Special Olympics athletes and other people with intellectual disabilities that creates a fun online learning environment through visually engaging materials that allow users to learn more about their health at their own pace.

Départ Santé

In this Healthy Start Toolkit, you will hear from other families and find resources to guide your child’s journey following a diagnosis of developmental delay (DD) or intellectual disability (ID).
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Fitness Programs for Every Level

Start training and elevate your game: workouts you can do anywhere. Choose your Fitness Program.

Health news and stories of impact

Raising the Profile of Disability Inclusion at the 77th World Health Assembly

Every year, representatives from Ministries of Health around the world gather in Geneva, Switzerland for the World Health Assembly (WHA)—the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition to the official WHA proceedings at the prestigious Palais des Nations, the global health community capitalizes on this nexus of influencers and decision-makers to host numerous meetings and events to amplify important health issues.
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Emotions, and Tears, Spill Over When Hearing for the Very First Time

Special Olympics Papua New Guinea athlete Samatha Maisa, who was born deaf, hears for the first time after being fitted with a hearing aid by Starkey Hearing.
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Commit To Change: Leaving No One Behind

At Special Olympics, we’re not just about sports. We are agents of change, stepping up for a more inclusive world—one in which everyone has the opportunity to lead meaningful and well-rounded lives.
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The First Special Olympics World Championship DanceSport Was a Success!

Congratulations to the athletes, staff, volunteers and family members who took part in the first-ever Special Olympics World Championship DanceSport competition!

Cori’s Story

Special Olympics New York athlete Cori makes a case for inclusive healthcare.
Young persons walking up stone steps in Nike sneakers.

Health

All the resources for health-related programs, Healthy Athletes disciplines, Healthy Communities and tools and information needed to promote and run events.