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


October 22, 2014 | North America: Southern California

R-Word from a Sister's Perspective

By Kimberly

My older sister has an intellectual disability and is the most amazing person I know. My love and respect for her has inspired me in all aspects of my life.View Story I pledged in 2010 but the R-Word has never been a part of my vocabulary. My older sister has an intellectual disability and is the most amazing person I know. My love and respect for her has inspired me in all aspects of my life. For me, taking the pledge was a no-brainer. I have spent my entire life supporting my sister and her classmates. My only wish is that more people will take the pledge, promote supportive dialogue in communities, and provide awareness to others that use the word.

About Kimberly:I am the younger sister of an amazing 27 year old woman than was born with an intellectual disability. I love everything this organization stands for!
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October 14, 2014 | North America: Connecticut

Special Olympics Athletes Meet by Poster

By Carol Widing

American Special Olympian Daniel Widing meets Norwegian #404, Oslo 2013

Dan Widing, Special Olympics in US, was pleased to see Special Olympics Athlete #404 on a street poster in Oslo, at Karl Johan's Gate.View Story Dan Widing, Special Olympics in US, was pleased to see Special Olympics Athlete #404 on a street poster in Oslo, at Karl Johan's Gate.

About Carol Widing:My son Daniel and I enjoy improvised road trips. Here we are in Norway.
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October 14, 2014 | North America: Ohio

End this R WORD

By Mr Slick

My name is Josh Watson. I have special needs. I AM 29. I hear the R WORD a lot. I've been called the R word in the past. My friends have special needs. They have been called the R WORD.View Story My name is Josh Watson. I have special needs. I AM 29. I hear the R WORD a lot. I've been called the R word in the past. My friends have special needs. They have been called the R WORD, so that's why I want to end this impolite word. I go to a private day program. It's a farm. And I go to STEPPING STONES CAMP ALLYN

About Mr Slick :I go to a private day program it's a farm, go to STEPPING STONES CAMP ALLYN I play sports I play lots of basketball I Play video games go shopping out to eat visit my family in Mississippi
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October 02, 2014 | North America: Canada

Scourge of the neighbourhood

By Cindy Knebel

I grew up with an uncle who had Down syndrome. As a family we were totally immersed in his life and his community of friends.View Story I grew up with an uncle who had Down syndrome. As a family we were totally immersed in his life and his community of friends. So from a very early age my siblings and I were taught never to use the "r" word and I'm sure I was the scourge of the neighbourhood for always correcting anyone who would use the word.

About Cindy Knebel:I live in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Mother of 4 children and 1 grandchild. Work in the office of a Secondary School.
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October 02, 2014 | North America: Texas

Discrimination ADA

By Annonymous

I get very upset, because as a parent to a child with an emotional disability, she is not allowed to participate or be part of special groups such as the dance team. This is discrimination.View Story I get very upset, because as a parent to a child with an emotional disability, she is not allowed to participate or be part of special groups such as the dance team. This is discrimination. My daughter was not accepted into the dance team because "we have never had a special needs child in our team" words from the dance team sponsor.

About Annonymous:I currently work with Disabled Children in a local School District. I enjoy every minute I spend with my beautiful and, amazing children.
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October 01, 2014 | Asia Pacific: Pakistan

Prayers needed for our Special Rock Star LAD

By Tehmina Azim

I had published a very inspiring story about our" Special Lad Turned into a Rock Star", Mr.Abbas on 22nd August 2013 on this page.View Story I had published a very inspiring story about our" Special Lad Turned into a Rock Star", Mr.Abbas on 22nd August 2013 on this page.Our Lad is full of fun loving nature, loves to sing and dance and everyone loves him too.He gained confidence when he came into Special Olympics and treats everyone like his own family.Abbas love being in Special Olympics and with Special athletes. Unfortunately our Special lad has been diagnosed with severe illness for last two months.He will undergo surgery in the upcoming days.He recently attended our EKS and FHF events on 18th September 2014 and 20th September 2014 .It is humbly requested to ALL to please pray for hard for him.He badly needs our prayers.With Love for ABBAS"We were starting to think that you were invincible.Its good to know that you are human after all.We all are looking forward to you getting back to your invincible self.Get well soon,SUPER STAR".We at Special Olympics are praying hard for you! Soon you will be with US!

About Tehmina Azim:I am the Global Family Leader representing Asia Pacific and also National Coordinator of FSN at Special Olympics Pakistan.I have a down syndrome boy Mr.Asim Zar who is working as a helper in DANPAK factory.
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October 01, 2014 | North America: Texas

My Dearest Aunt

By Brooke Wischnewsky

My Aunt Brenda is a inspiration to me. She is why I want to be a special education teacher. My Aunt Kristi doesn't use the r-word and gets very upset when someone says it near her.View Story My father is one of five children. He had two older sisters, his identical twin and a little sister. My Aunt Brenda is his second older sister. She had cerebral palsy. She loved me very much, and I loved her also. She was label Mentally Retarded by doctors as an infant. She lived with my grandparent at home with her older sister Renae and her 3 younger siblings. My Aunt Brenda is a inspiration to me. She is why I want to be a special education teacher. My grandma misses her two daughters, Renae and Brenda, very much. My Aunt Kristi doesn't use the r-word and gets very upset when someone says it near her. I don't like it when people say retard and I tell them that. I tell them not to use that word because I have an aunt who was labeled retarded and it's not funny to use that word to call someone or something retarded. It's not cool and it make you look rude for saying it. I really believe that we can end the misuse of this word.

About Brooke Wischnewsky:I am the blessed niece of Brenda W. and Renae Floyd. She is my sweet angel aunt who watches me and my family on Earth from Heaven with her older sister, Renae. Future Special Education Teacher!
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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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