Special Olympics Young Athletes is an early childhood play program for children with and without intellectual disabilities, ages 2 to 7 years old. Young Athletes introduces basic sport skills, like running, kicking and throwing. Young Athletes offers families, teachers, caregivers, and people from the community the chance to share the joy of sports with all children.

Young Athletes provides children of all abilities the same opportunities to advance in core developmental milestones. Children learn how to play with others and develop important skills for learning. Children also learn to share, take turns and follow directions. These skills help children in family, community, and school activities.

Young Athletes welcomes children and their families into the world of Special Olympics.

  • Motor Skills: Children with intellectual disabilities who took part in Young Athletes developed motor skills more than twice as fast as others who did not take part.
  • Social, Emotional, and Learning Skills: Parents and teachers of children who took part in the Young Athletes curriculum said the children learned skills that they will use in pre-primary school.
  • Expectations: Family members say that Young Athletes raised their hopes for their child’s future.
  • Sport Readiness: Young Athletes helps children get ready to take part in sports when they are older.
  • Acceptance: Inclusive play helps children without a disability to better understand and accept others.


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Young Athlete Interest Form