Help us make a difference!


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 06, 2015 | Asia Pacific: Bharat (India)

Intellectually impaired

By Uma Ramakrishnan

When you go to a restaurant you order something special. Its because you are bored to eat the same thing that you eat in your house. The only thing in life you don't want is a special need.View Story When you go to a restaurant you order something special. Its because you are bored to eat the same thing that you eat in your house. The only thing in life you don't want is a special need. Without ordering you are assigned by the omnipotent a special job to take care of the kids with special needs. My daughter Nanditha is a special needs child. But I have learned a lot from her. How to make others happy? The moment she sees some body sad she goes and pats on their shoulders and says don't worry I'm there for you. She always smiles and never frowns for anything.

About Uma Ramakrishnan:I'm the one destined by God to take care of my lovely kid Nanditha. Presently volunteering at Spastics Society of TamilNadu, India
Share
View less ▲

March 06, 2015 | North America: Virginia

My daughter, my hero

By Marjorie Sitter

My daughter Cassandra, what can I say except that she is my saving grace. Cassie as we call her is intellectually impaired but, you'd never know it. She is the most caring, loving and beautiful person you will ever met.View Story My daughter Cassandra, what can I say except that she is my saving grace. Cassie as we call her is intellectually impaired but, you'd never know it. She is the most caring, loving and beautiful person you will ever met. Cassie is 21, she graduated from high school in 2013 but, has not gone to college yet. The reason she's still home is because she takes care of me. I am disabled. I have a connective tissue disorder that is called marfans syndrome. It is very debilitating. Cassie, cleans, cooks, does laundry and most days is my nurse. I have thought many days of ending my life but, then I look at her beautiful smile and remember why I am here. I'm here so that she can shine her warm beautiful love on me. She is my daughter, my hero and my best friend.

About Marjorie Sitter:I am the mother of a beautiful, very special 21 year old with intellectual disability. I have a connective tissue disease called marfans syndrome. It causes aneurysms, heart problems, spina bifida.
Share
View less ▲

March 06, 2015 | North America: Wisconsin

my ella

By Betty, a.k.a. Ella's mom

My Ella was born with Downs and opened my and my children's eyes to how often we used the word retard randomly.View Story My Ella was born with Downs and opened my and my children's eyes to how often we used the word retard randomly. We have tried to explain as politely as possible to people why we find the word hurtful. Our Ella passed when she was 5 but we still hold that value strong. She was not retarded, she was just Ella

About Betty, a.k.a. Ella's mom:
Share
View less ▲

March 05, 2015 | North America: New York

our 12 yr old son

By Lori

Our son has autism and it hasnt been easy for him in school with making friends or being understood i hate the R word and my other children aren't allowed to say it.View Story Our son has autism and it hasnt been easy for him in school with making friends or being understood i hate the R word and my other children aren't allowed to say it.

About Lori:I'm a mother speaking out for our child
Share
View less ▲

March 05, 2015 | North America: Oklahoma

Our Greatest Blessing

By Peggy Ricketts

Jackson , our 3rd grandson was diagnosed with Down syndrome shortly after his birth, he is the most beautiful , loving , little guy on this earth. His smile lights up the room and his words, though not many, fill your heart with joy.View Story Jackson , our 3rd grandson was diagnosed with Down syndrome shortly after his birth, he is the most beautiful , loving , little guy on this earth. His smile lights up the room and his words, though not many, fill your heart with joy. He is an active 7 year old . Faced with many challenges Jackson has shown us the real meaning of Love and determination. He never gives up and shows this with his continued successes. My son and daughter in law are also parents of a set of twin boys , they are Super Mom and Dad in our books and Jacksons'. His special needs have truly taught us the true meaning of "Our Greatest Blessing". A grand child is a true blessing from God. Love doesn't start with "R"

About Peggy Ricketts:61 yr old grand mother of 8 ( 3 boys & 5 girls ).,. mother of 2 biological sons and 4 adopted children (2 deceased)married 42 years . Married 42 years
Share
View less ▲

March 05, 2015 | North America: Massachusetts

Don't judge a book by its cover

By Debra Nettles

My daughter is a beautiful young girl. She does not LOOK like she has a disability but at 11 she is far behind her peers intellectually and in maturity. My heart breaks when I hear children AND adults that do not know her being rude or insulting towards her.View Story My daughter is a beautiful young girl. She does not LOOK like she has a disability but at 11 she is far behind her peers intellectually and in maturity. My heart breaks when I hear children AND adults that do not know her being rude or insulting towards her. You may not always know what is going on in other families, their struggles, their worries, their sacrifices. Sometimes people tend keep these problems secret from the world. In the past, I admit I did this. I hid my feelings and refrained from public events for fear of embarrassment. I have changed. My daughter has shown ME to be a more open-minded individual. She has shown me to not pass judgement. If a person is behaving "odd" or a cashier is not very pleasant -- I stop and think "I don't know their life or their troubles". So instead of responding negatively, I treat them warmly, with respect and a smile and hopefully they will do so in turn. I thank my daughter for helping ME to not "judge a book it's cover".

About Debra Nettles:I am a mother of three. My middle child has intellectual disabilities and I am her greatest advocate!
Share
View less ▲

March 05, 2015 | North America: Indiana

Our daughter

By Nancy Crawford

Our adult daughter, with special needs, becomes extremely upset when someone uses the R-word. The word is often used by teens when referring to one of their friends.View Story Our adult daughter, with special needs, becomes extremely upset when someone uses the R-word. The word is often used by teens when referring to one of their friends. When you hear the word tell them you know someone who it would offend. Our amazing daughter never calls people names. Only proves she is a better person than most.

About Nancy Crawford:I am Nancy Crawford, proud parent of talented Special Olympics athlete Katie Crawford.
Share
View less ▲

Your Donation Matters

Special Olympics transforms athletes’ lives through the joy of sport. Help us make a difference.

DONATE TODAY»

Volunteer Near You

Volunteering with Special Olympics is fun and very rewarding, for both the athlete and the volunteer!

LEARN MORE»

Follow Us

Make a holiday donation in honor of loved ones.

Donate »

Find events near you and learn about volunteer opportunities at one of our 226 worldwide locations.

FIND A LOCATION NEAR YOU »

Our Supporters

MicrosoftRevolutionizing information systems that power our games.Learn more »


Our Supporters

Toys“R”UsHelping children of all abilities experience #MyFirstSportsMomentLearn More »


Our Supporters

The Christmas Records TrustFunding Special Olympics work worldwide.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Annenberg FoundationSupports our goals for coaches’ excellence.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Bank of AmericaProud partner of Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Coca-ColaSpecial Olympics Founding Partner.Learn More »


Our Supporters

ESPNGlobal Presenting Sponsor of Unified Sports®.Learn More »


Our Supporters

EssilorOfficial global supplier of ophthalmic lenses.Learn More »


Our Supporters

AIPSGlobal Impact Partner for Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Lions ClubSupports access to quality eye care.Learn More »


Our Supporters

MattelSupports Special Olympics Youth Programs.Learn More »


Our Supporters

MTM RecognitionSupplier of awards and medals for our athletes.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Perfect Sense DigitalSpecial Olympics' leading digital partner.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Procter & GambleCelebrating over 30 years of partnership with Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

SafewayRaises funds and awareness for people with disabilities.Learn More »


Our Supporters

SàfiloSupplies optical frames and sunglasses.Learn More »


Our Supporters

UNICEFProvides greater inclusion of children with disabilities.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Y&RPowering our global youth marketing campaign.Learn more »


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

go to blog »


*

Special Olympics - Become a Fan