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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 20, 2015 | North America: Minnesota

Holding Out For A Hero

By Zach Bell

My sister Briana, a severely-autistic young adult who recently celebrated her 22nd birthday on Friday the 13th, is an example of an imperfect person living in a not-so-perfect world where PERFECTION is always an outside issue.View Story My sister Briana, a severely-autistic young adult who recently celebrated her 22nd birthday on Friday the 13th, is an example of an imperfect person living in a not-so-perfect world where PERFECTION is always an outside issue. She participated in Special Olympics starting when she was 12 starting with track and field, and then softball. Even though she didn't bring home any medals, she did bring home a sense of courage and determination. I'm about to ask her if we can participate in a softball game sometime.

About Zach Bell:I am a man with Asperger Syndrome and Bipolar. Some of the things I enjoy include fishing, biking, and some sports.
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March 20, 2015 | North America: Georgia

Indignación

By Maritza

I would like to express my indignation about this pastor in Fl Usa, her name Ana Maldonado wife of the well known pastor Guillermo Maldonado, Im sharing this video that makes sick, on min 1 & 40 sec she called people with disabilities idiots.View Story I would like to express my indignation about this pastor in Fl Usa, her name Ana Maldonado wife of the well known pastor Guillermo Maldonado, Im sharing this video that makes sick, on min 1 & 40 sec she called people with disabilities idiots, & she is very specific on Down syndrome ones she says if you have a child with an xtra chromosome you have and idiot! Pls view this video and notice that even translator refrains her self to not translate exactly what this pastor said, she insults in public people with disabilities, she even mocks and laughs about it!! I'm very extremely upset with this, and I pledge and implore that we all get together and ask this woman to apologize in public to our special citizens. I'm bilingual & have pray for justice to be applied and stop people like this Use their supposed ministry to mocks about this special citizens whom never will defend them selfs,

About Maritza :My name Maritza Alfaro I'm a pastors wife, my oldest son has Down syndrome, I had him at very young age, he is an very special gift from God,
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March 19, 2015 | North America: Maryland

Words are a Choice

By Kimberly Cox

My Brothers and I

The r-word is not used by myself or my family. Please think before you speak. Think of those who are so innocent, who don't understand, and cannot speak up.View Story My adult brother has Down syndrome and is intellectually limited. Growing up we knew he was different. We defended and protected him from hurtful people. He is very sweet and lovable. If you get to know him, you will see. Every time I hear the R-word it hurts my heart. If only people would think before they make the choice to use that word. It hurts the individuals who can't speak up for themselves and their families. That's why I took the pledge. The r-word is not used by myself or my family. Please think before you speak. Think of those who are so innocent, who don't understand, and cannot speak up.

About Kimberly Cox:I am a mother, a special education teacher, and a guardian. I am involved in my brothers life. I support and speak up for him. I have 2 children of my own. I volunteer for the Special Olympics.
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March 19, 2015 | North America: Florida

Let's Change the R-word's Meaning!

By Rachel Laurain

This is me as a baby, sitting with my big sister, Sara.

I know one girl who is stronger than anyone else I've ever met. This is my sister, Sara. She was physically and mentally disabled all her life. She passed away at the young age of 22.View Story I know one girl who is stronger than anyone else I've ever met. This is my sister, Sara. She was physically and mentally disabled all her life. She passed away at the young age of 22 because of her disabilities and health problems. Her life inspires me to spread the word to end the word. Sara is looking down on us in support of creating a more accepting world. She fought until the end, and her smile was infectious. I know that if she could have spoken in her life, she would have said, "Please don't call me names." She may not have been able to walk or talk, but this is our job. We need to spread the word for those who can't. Let's stop using the "R-word" in a negative light, and return it to what it really means. Sara was not just "retarded," but she was a human being just like you and me.

About Rachel Laurain:I am a 21 year old student at the University of South Florida. I am studying to become a teacher.
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March 17, 2015 | North America: Alabama

For the love of JB

By Tina Miller

A sister's love

My brother has special needs and has been called the R-word so many times in his life. It has always made me angry when people call him that.View Story My brother has special needs and has been called the R-word so many times in his life. It has always made me angry when people call him that. He is smart, sweet, loving, kind - and one of the best people I know. I am honored to call him my brother. So many people just throw this word around without thinking of the consequences it may have on others. In this day and age people really need to stop and think about what they say and the effect it has on someone else. Be respectful to others, because you want people to respect you. Respect is Respect - PERIOD.

About Tina Miller:I am a disabled young adult who knows how it feels to be judged by others because of something you have no control over. I love my brother dearly and am thankful each day for him. God Bless!
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March 17, 2015 | North America: Pennsylvania

Kenny

By Linda Campbell Simmons

My big brother Kenny, was unique. When I was old enough to go to school was the first time I heard someone use this word towards him.View Story My big brother Kenny, was unique. When I was old enough to go to school was the first time I heard someone use this word towards him. At times, it was used towards me as well as I was his sister. In 9th grade I had a teacher who used this word daily. I went to my principal. It stopped. Thank you all who pledge.

About Linda Campbell Simmons :I come from a family of 9. I have 4 kids , 6 grand kids. I have my own company. I speak with people from all around the world. So many times in my life, I have introduced myself as "Kenny's sister"
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March 11, 2015 | North America: Iowa

We Don't Use the R-word

By Kathy Pinkerton

I began working with individuals with intellectual disabilities when I was 16. I honestly thought I made up the term "r-word"! Shortly after I took that job, I noticed how frequently the R-word was used in general conversations.View Story I began working with individuals with intellectual disabilities when I was 16. I honestly thought I made up the term "r-word"! Shortly after I took that job, I noticed how frequently the R-word was used in general conversations. It was used as a noun, a verb, and an adjective. I made it a point to tell anyone who said it in my presence that. "We don't use the r-word". My children figured it out early and they instructed their friends. When my 5th child was born with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex in 2005, it became more than just a word that bothered me - it was now personal toward my daughter. Brenna is non-verbal, considered severely ID, and also has Autism. She can't defend herself or advocate for respect. I am her voice. Her siblings are her voice. Her father was her voice until he passed away - and his deep baritone was probably the loudest of all against the r-word! It doesn't take more than that one sentence for people to stop and think about what they say.

About Kathy Pinkerton :I'm a social worker, parent, and life long advocate that the r-word has no place in our language. I vow to always speak up when it is used around me. I am Brenna's voice.
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Special Olympics Blog

Jean Vanier, a prophet of humility and simplicity, wins!

Today, the Templeton Foundation gave its most prestigious award to my hero, Jean Vanier.  For Linda and our children and me, he has also been our retreat leader, our teacher of humility, our guide. 

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Posted on 2015-03-11 by Tim

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