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 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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October 01, 2014 | North America: Arizona

Aida Guran Story

By Aida Guran

Well, I don't remember exactly the years when I participated but the thing is, I participated in Special Olympics basketball and soccer when I was a child and now I'm an adult 20 years old and almost 21!View Story My name is Aida. I was born in 1994 at 1 a.m., the first hour. I am from Romania and I was born in the city Drobeta Turnu Severin. I was raised there in Romania up to when I was 13, and at 13 years old, October or November 2007, I moved to USA. In 2009 I became a citizen of America, and now I'm an American girl, but even if I'm an American girl now, I will never forget my family members from Romania because I do love them! in 2007, I got to middle school with the grades 6 to 9, and after I was done there, I went to high school at Valley Vista where there I did participate in clubs of Special Olympics. I won two times. (One time I won in basketball and the second time I won in soccer.) I also got the most points in my team back then in years in 2008 to 2009 or in 2010. Well, I don't remember exactly the years when I participated but the thing is, I participated in Special Olympics basketball and soccer when I was a child and now I'm an adult 20 years old and almost 21!

About Aida Guran:well my name is Aida , I like sometimes write my songs melodies with piano application from my I phone and I love spend time with my sweet cousin Cosmin Calota and with my beautifull mother ! Sometimes I do like play soccer with my cousin Calota and ! He did also won some medals back in Romania when he was a child i think but he was on television channel of sports from Romania in Romania country when he was a child and he is very professional person same as me in playing soccer and basketball ! I'm also very good in hockey table and in volleyball and a bit some how in tennis table !
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Special Olympics Blog

Suneedhi: a Girl, a Clinic, a Dream

For a dental surgeon such as myself, screening was just the first step! i felt we needed to go beyond examinations to ensuring people with intellectual disability got any treatment that they needed. I felt I could help more. read more »

Posted on 2014-09-22 by Lynn

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