Unified Sports

 Special Olympics Unified Sports creates unique teammate bonds through sports experiences, just like any other team, and the participants compete in Special Olympics competitions. More than half a million people worldwide participate in Unified Sports, breaking down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities in a fun way.

Why It Matters

200 million people with intellectual disabilities are denied social inclusion in society. SOLA helps pave the way for community-wide inclusion and offers a positive foundation for activity between special education and general education students in school. Over the years, our Unified programs have attracted high-profile partnerships with companies like ESPN, to raise awareness for our mission.

Age 8 and Under? Get Involved!

Young Athletes

The Young Athletes Program introduces children with and without intellectual disabilities ages 2–7 (Pre-K to 2nd grade) to the world of sports through fun activities that support cognitive, social, and motor skill development (walking on a floor-level balance beam, jumping on targets), as well as encourage the development of age-appropriate sports skills.

Unified Sports FAQs & Resources

A UNIFIED SPORT ATHLETE is an individual with intellectual disabilities receiving Special Education services, verified by the site administrator, but also a student who previously, based on their special needs, has not had competitive opportunities to participate in a selected sport. A Unified Sports Athlete works with a Unified Partner to learn the skills of the selected sport. The emphasis is the providing of opportunities, not ultimately how well the unified participants are fair in league or section competition.

​A UNIFIED PEER PARTNER is a general education student attending the same school as a Unified Sport Athlete, not receiving Special Education services. Peer partners are dedicated to the teaching the skills of the sport as well as committed to the social interaction with the special needs student. It is expected that Unified Athletes and Peer Partners practice and compete together consistently throughout the entire regular and post-season. However, in a virtual environment, a Unified Partner can be anyone from your siblings to your parent or guardian.

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