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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


March 03, 2015 | North America: Virginia

For My Brother

By Natalie Roy

My brother Josh has Down Syndrome, but he never let that stand in his way. On top of being one of the most genuinely caring, kind hearted, and pure personalities in existence, he is an athlete, an artist, an entertainer, a jokester, a hug bug, a prayer warrior, and a hero.View Story My brother Josh has Down Syndrome, but he never let that stand in his way. On top of being one of the most genuinely caring, kind hearted, and pure personalities in existence, he is an athlete, an artist, an entertainer, a jokester, a hug bug, a prayer warrior, and a hero. He has taught me more about love, life, and acceptance than I ever thought it possible to know. The R-Word trivializes everything that he has been able to accomplish in this life. It labels him as someone who has failed rather than someone who has succeeded. He has overcome far more difficulties than the average person will have to face, and he should be praised and commended for that, not condemned and mocked. When we were young, people used the R-Word to describe him, rather than examining his heart and his character. I stand by the Spread the Word to End the Word organization because I know that there are people out there along with Josh who deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and love.

About Natalie Roy:I am 26 years old and originally from California. I am attending graduate school at Regent University for my MFA in Acting, and I will always be an advocate of love, respect, and equality for all.
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March 03, 2015 | North America: North Dakota

Waverly is such a beautiful blessing

By Lisa S

I was guilty of using that word to describe things, and I was so totally wrong. It took the blessing of our beautiful Waverly to understand it, and I did in an instant.View Story I was guilty of using that word to describe things, and I was so totally wrong. It took the blessing of our beautiful Waverly to understand it, and I did in an instant. She is 19 months old and is so amazing. I feel so bad when I think of how I abused that word. That word is so wrong. I get so sick feeling when I think about Waverly ever having to hear that word directed at her. I pray that she never does. Ever.

About Lisa S:Blessed to be the mother to such a special little girl.
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March 03, 2015 | North America: South Dakota

Down syndrome

By Ally

Down syndrome can be really bad thing to have because you are more likely to be bullied because you look different than every body else. The thing about Down syndrome is that you are happier than other people about things that are happening but when you are being bullied about it that makes them really depressed and unhappy.View Story Down syndrome can be really bad thing to have because you are more likely to be bullied because you look different than every body else. The thing about Down syndrome is that you are happier than other people about things that are happening but when you are being bullied about it that makes them really depressed and unhappy.

About Ally:I am 14. I live in Sioux falls South Dakota. I got to Patrick Henry Middle School.
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March 03, 2015 | North America: Kansas

my litlle sister

By Dakota Essig

Ive listened and fought with people my whole life about using the r word. Im so happy someone is finally putting a stop to it!! Thank you so muchView Story My little sister was born with a rare heart defect and while going through surgery she died and was resuscitated and suffered brain damage and is mentally disabled. She is the most loving caring and intelligent person i have ever met. Ive listened and fought with people my whole life about using the r word. Im so happy someone is finally putting a stop to it!! Thank you so much

About Dakota Essig:Im a 24 yr old staff at a company that assist individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. And honestly i wouldnt change it for the world
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March 03, 2015 | North America: South Dakota

Down syndrome

By Ally

My brothers wife's sister has downs and is bullied a lot at her school in Mitchell South Dakota. She is about 8 and she is called mental and a lot of other things by the older kids.View Story My brothers wife's sister has downs and is bullied a lot at her school in Mitchell South Dakota. She is about 8 and she is called mental and a lot of other things by the older kids.

About Ally:I am 14 and I try to tell her to stay strong and ignore all the mean kids.
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March 03, 2015 | North America: Ohio

My Sister

By Olivia Bilger

My sister is the reason I am who I am today. She just had her 36th birthday on the 1st! She is smart, loving, great with both kids and animals, and she has a wicked temper. Oh yeah, she also has an intellectual disability.View Story My sister is the reason I am who I am today. She just had her 36th birthday on the 1st! She is smart, loving, great with both kids and animals, and she has a wicked temper. Oh yeah, she also has an intellectual disability. She knows what the "r" word means, and it hurts. I have seen her go through school and get called this nasty word. She has shed tears over peoples inconsiderate actions. When anyone mentions the word I am quick to inform them what they are truly saying and how someone who they are not intending to hurt may hear the word and hurt them deeply. It is a word that I put my foot down for. I will not stand to have people use this word to describe anything, ESPECIALLY A PERSON! I hope my small effort has helped stop the spread of this word and brought knowledge to people who use it senselessly.

About Olivia Bilger:I am a special education teacher and love working with kiddos who have disabilities! My sister is the one who led me on this path. She has shown me to love, care and respect EVERYONE!
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March 03, 2015 | North America: South Dakota

dyslexia

By Cailtyn LaCroix

When I was told that my friend had dyslexia I asked her when she figured out about it. She told me she figured out she had dyslexia when she was in kindergarten. I told her that even though she has a hard time with some letters, she is still smart.View Story When I was told that my friend had dyslexia I asked her when she figured out about it. She told me she figured out she had dyslexia when she was in kindergarten. I told her that even though she has a hard time with some letters, she is still smart. When I told her that she was still smart she smiled. I helped her out with the letters she was having trouble with and I stuck by her side so that if she was having trouble I could help her out with the letters. After a while she started to get the hang of it but she still wanted me to be around. It made both of us happy to see that she was finally learning some sentences. She went back to the sentences and reread them so that she could understand what It was saying. I was proud of her. She was brave and determined.

About Cailtyn LaCroix:I live in south Dakota, I'm in 8th grade, I'm 14 years old and I go to Patrick Henry middle school In Sioux falls
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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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