About
Nadja, Adam, and Megan Smile at the Beginning of the 2019 Inclusive Health Grantees Workshop at Special Olympics Headquarters
Our Story
Special Olympics, founded in 1968, is the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Health, launched in 1997, focuses on the health of our athletes and applying lessons learned from our work to help improve the health of all people with intellectual disabilities. Since its creation in 1997, the Special Olympics Health program has made life-changing and life-saving strides in health. Despite the success of the health program, people with intellectual disabilities (ID) remain one of the most medically under-served groups in the world.

They are frequently locked out of most aspects of health systems and face significant health disparities. To improve the health outcomes for all people with ID and not just their athletes, in 2016 Special Olympics introduced a strategy: Inclusive Health. Building on the foundation of its health programming, Special Olympics aims to ensure that the inclusion of people with ID in mainstream health systems becomes common practice.

What is ID?
Intellectual disability (or ID) is a term used when a person has certain limitations in cognitive functioning and skills, including communication, social and self-care skills. These limitations can cause a child to develop and learn more slowly or differently than a typically developing child. ID can happen any time before a child turns 18 years old, even before birth.

Intellectual disability is the most common developmental disability.
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