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Our Families

Families are the No. 1 fans of our Special Olympics athletes. They give the type of love, support and encouragement that no one else can. Special Olympics is a support network that brings families together in a caring, positive way -- and that makes the cheers for our athletes even louder.

A mom gives a hug to two happy athletes at once

Smiles All Around. A mom gives a hug to two Special Olympics athletes at once.

Among Friends

At Special Olympics competitions and events, family members are among friends – and feel at home. They watch with pride as their child, sibling, cousin, grandchild, aunt or uncle find success and joy.

They are also among people who really understand. Because even family members can be unaware of all that their child or relative with an intellectual disability can do.

A mother in Great Britain says families are part of the team -- working together to make it all happen. "Everyone in the programme accepts each other without question. Everyone works as a team supporting each other." She says her son has made great strides since joining Special Olympics. "I know this has meant a great deal to him and, as a mum, to watch Jamie achieve and believe in himself is just wonderful." 


About Intellectual Disability

Special Olympics is a global movement of people who want to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. But what are intellectual disabilities? Learn More

Building Communities

Many family members become spokespeople or volunteers, coaches, fund-raisers and officials – giving them an important voice in Special Olympics.

Families are also an essential link to the community and wider support for our movement. By joining the Family Support Network, becoming a volunteer, and leading the expansion of Young Athletes, Special Olympics family members can really make a difference.

Families build communities by volunteering at athletic trainings, sharing links and information, talking online via a global network and serving in leadership roles. For every family member who gets involved, Special Olympics has a reason to celebrate.


Stories About Our Families


January 30, 2015 | North America: Texas

DFW Author supports Special Olympics

By Kimberly A. Stine

First off, when I was in High School I wasn't popular either and was classified as gothic and into dark stuff..But when I lived in Pennsylvania, I was a volunteer each year at the events that had taken place at our school.View Story First off, when I was in High School I wasn't popular either and was classified as gothic and into dark stuff..But when I lived in Pennsylvania, I was a volunteer each year at the events that had taken place at our school. My brother was an athlete. I still remember his friends and him being picked on daily because of there disability. One year I got some candy and went to their teacher and asked if I could hand it out to them and she allowed. The looks on their faces was absolutely amazing. I got hugs, etc..My brother made it to the summer games at PSU one year and the one athlete was saying hi to everyone that bypassed him and he said hi to me and I said hi back. His coach came over and personally thanked me because everyone was ignoring him. It's sad how these children and even adults are treated all because they have this disability. They've got feeling and words do hurt them too! They're human! Bullying is real and hurtful! Let's work together to end bullying. #EndBullying

About Kimberly A. Stine:I'm Kimberly A. Stine. I am a local author located within the Dallas/Fort Worth region of Texas. My book genre's are: Fiction, Childrens, and Paranormal.
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January 30, 2015 | North America: New York

My Mena

By Michelle Hintzsche

Growing up, my sister Mena was called special in my house. Didn't really know what that meant but I knew she was different than everyone else. Over the years I heard her being called a retard or mentally retarded, mostly just retard.View Story Growing up, my sister Mena was called special in my house. Didn't really know what that meant but I knew she was different than everyone else. There's five of us, and I'm the youngest. Over the years I heard her being called a retard or mentally retarded, mostly just retard. We taught her that if someone calls her that to give them the middle finger. The school said nothing at the time because it was in the 80s and 90s. They thought the same. Or most of them did. Now that word medically doesn't exist. People like my sister are now called intellectually challenged or intellectually disabled. My daughter's history teacher in her high school thinks it's really funny to say if you're tardy twice you're retarded. That's a quote. My daughter and two of her friends cannot stand this. They know it is not right to call someone retarded for any reason. As it is not right to call someone queer, it is not right to call someone retarded. This teacher will be hearing from me and not in a nice way but I will be a better person for how I treat him then he is in his ignorance.

About Michelle Hintzsche:I have a sister who is four years older than me and who is intellectually challenged she is the light of everyone's life. If you need a laugh she's the first want to give it to you.
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January 29, 2015 | North America: Minnesota

We have a long way to go...

By R A Hudson

My beautiful daughter, Presley

I posted my interaction the other day on my blog, linked below. This story is a record of a facebook incident on the page of a Twin Cities conservative/talk radio personality. It's upsetting for me to read it, but really gives me a desire to continue to speak upView Story I posted my interaction the other day on my blog, linked below. This story is a record of a facebook incident on the page of a Twin Cities conservative/talk radio personality. It's upsetting for me to read it, but really gives me a desire to continue to speak up

About R A Hudson:I have a beautiful 8 year old daughter with Down syndrome. I hate the r-word and will continue to be her advocate and try to teach people why it's hurtful and dehumanizing. http://www.rahudson.com
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January 29, 2015 | Europe Eurasia: Ireland

The r word should not be used

By Legendnemisis

I have an uncle with a disability and if anyone called him the r word I'd be kicking off. Like other people have said, the r word has been used thru schools to call people that aren't disabled stupid and it makes them feel stupid even though they are notView Story I have an uncle with a disability and if anyone called him the r word I'd be kicking off. Like other people have said, the r word has been used thru schools to call people that aren't disabled stupid and it makes them feel stupid even though they are not. I don't think it should be used, full stop. I don't think it should be in dictionaries either (I think it is ) because when kids see it they laugh and go oh your are an r-word. M and my mum hate that word. There should be a new word for it. Like others agree, I think it should be RESPECT; respect other people with disabilities, don't look at them differently, treat them the way you would want to be treated. Everyone deserves that.

About Legendnemisis :
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January 29, 2015 | Asia Pacific: Australia

Having Velo Cardio Facial Syndrome Has Not Stop Me from Competing in Equestrian Competitions

By Raymond Tanner (Andrew's father)

photo of Andrew riding in the SO Nationals in Melbourne 2014

My name is Andrew Tanner and I was recently selected to represent Australia in the Special Olympics equestrian team and I will be competing at the 2015 World Summer Games in Los Angeles this July.View Story My name is Andrew Tanner and I was recently selected to represent Australia in the Special Olympics equestrian team and I will be competing at the 2015 World Summer Games in Los Angeles this July. Due to having Velo Cardio Facial syndrome I have faced many challenges. First of all I was born with 2 holes in the heart which were repaired when I was a baby. However, during surgery I had a stroke which caused me to become Intellectually Disabled. As a result of having VCFS, I also need to do speech therapy & my speech therapist advised me that I should do horse riding with Riding for the Disabled. At the time I was 8 years old. I am now 27. Since being involved with Special Olympics I have won many gold medals, silver medals & some bronze medals. More information on VCFS can be found on www.vcfsef.org.

About Raymond Tanner (Andrew's father):I am Andrew's father & I also have the syndrome. I am one of the major advocates in promoting awareness of Velo Cardio Facial syndrome/Di George/22q11.2 DS. Also, I am one of the oldest people in the world with the syndrome aged 65.
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January 29, 2015 | North America: Northern California

My Son Ralph

By Tamara Roettger

My son Ralph is my inspiration for ending the use of the "R" word. Ralph has Down syndrome. He is my whole world. Ralph has the biggest heart. His heart is so pure, so open.View Story My son Ralph is my inspiration for ending the use of the "R" word. Ralph has Down syndrome. He is my whole world. Ralph has the biggest heart. His heart is so pure, so open. He never meets a stranger. He loves school, loves to learn. Though it hasn't always been easy, it has been worth it. Ralph is his grandfather's joy & best buddy and his grandmother's heart. He has so many people who just adore him, love him. More people should be like my Ralph. Ralph just turned 7 this pass December. I am a single mom raising Ralph with some help from my dad. I don't understand how anyone could call such a beautiful child the "R" word. I will fight for him till I take my last breath. I LOVE you, Ralph Louis!

About Tamara Roettger:I am a single mother raising a special needs child with some help from my Dad. I am in my 40s. When Ralph was born, I was 37 years old & about to turn 38. There is nothing I would change about my life
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January 29, 2015 | North America: Michigan

A very giving woman

By Irene Bost

Over the years. my other sisters and I have been in actual fights, when people would use the "R-word". Anyone who has met my sister and got to know her would know that she was a giving, warm caring woman.View Story Over the years. my other sisters and I have been in actual fights, when people would use the "R-word". Anyone who has met my sister and got to know her would know that she was a giving, warm caring woman. I have had the pleasure of knowing many of her friends and housemates that have became very dear to me. Thanks for starting this effort.

About Irene Bost:Proud sister,I work in legal services
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Special Olympics Blog

Sport and Tech Team Up for Good

Now, thanks to Microsoft, athletes, coaches and families will have rapid access to useful information about their scores, times, personal bests, fitness and health. Special Olympics can use this capability to dramatically improve the lives of people in our Movement.  read more »

Posted on 2014-10-27 by Janet

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