In 2017, Special Olympics British Columbia, Special Olympics Indiana, and Special Olympics Nebraska held workshops in their states. The workshops had three goals. First, to help others learn about health challenges of people with intellectual disabilities (ID). Second, to help people learn how to make their programs welcoming for people with ID. Third, to meet new people who could help Special Olympics athletes be healthier.
After the workshops, the Programs shared their tools and best practices with other Programs. You can learn more about these tools by reading this guide. The tools can be found in text boxes with a blue border. Best practices can be found in bold print. Templates are also included. You can use these as they are. You can change them if you want.
Background: Special Olympics’ Inclusive Health Strategy
Special Olympics (SO) started giving free health exams in 1997. These exams were given through the Healthy Athletes (HA) program. Special Olympics learned a lot from the data that was collected during these exams. One of the most important things that Special Olympics learned was that people with ID do not have equal access to health care. Many times, people with ID have a harder time getting care than people who do not have ID. SO wanted to change this, so the Healthy Communities (HC) program started. The Healthy Communities program helps Special Olympics athletes get follow up care after Healthy Athletes events. HC makes finding care easier for people with ID.
Special Olympics’ health strategy fits into the movement’s larger global strategy. The global goal is to for athletes to perform at their best. The health goal focuses on making health systems better. Special Olympics wants health care to be sustainable and inclusive for all. The goal is for 11 million people with ID to have good health care by 2020.
This is a big goal. To achieve it, Special Olympics has to work hard to teach health care workers about people with ID. SO hopes that people with ID will become part of regular health policies. To help achieve this goal, Special Olympics Programs are being supported to hold workshops. At these workshops, Special Olympics wants to teach health care workers to include people with ID in their work. Inclusive health policies will make sure that people with ID have better access to health services. This will lead to better overall health for Special Olympics athletes.
Download the full toolkit.