Tools You Can Use

Unified Leadership

The world today is full of volatility, anger, fear of difference and pressures that divide people. Truly inclusive leadership offers hope and solutions to overcome these divisions. People with intellectual disabilities (ID), epitomized by the athletes of Special Olympics, teach everyone the true value of inclusion, and have the potential to shape a new understanding of what it means to contribute and lead. In reality, however, the gifts and abilities of people with ID are routinely underestimated and undervalued, and they are often unable to achieve their potential. Special Olympics is committed to continuously developing a deeper understanding of the barriers faced by people with ID. Research has shown that:

  • People with ID report that “lack of skills created difficulties for them, which further reduced their confidence and motivation.”
  • When corporate employees were asked about diversity and inclusion, “very few mentioned physical diversity, and no one mentioned intellectual diversity.”
  • People with ID experience chronically low levels of employment, averaging 19% in the US, reflecting the attitudes, behaviors and low expectations of people without disabilities.

Simply expecting people with ID to “fit in” is not the answer. The thoughts and actions of leaders without disabilities – often the greatest challenge faced by people with ID – need to change. In an effort to shape, drive and sustain that change, Special Olympics has developed the Unified Leadership approach. Download the complete resource to learn more