Program Research Toolkit

Special Olympics has documented the need for its programming and its effects on athletes, families, volunteers, and others. Our carefully planned and academically rigorous research studies have discovered results that are sometimes surprising.

Scope of the Need

People with intellectual disabilities are excluded, dismissed, and denied opportunities for employment, education, health care, social engagement, and other aspects of daily life.

Scope of Special Olympics

Many people are unaware of the scope of Special Olympics. They think of it as an occasional sporting event in the United States that benefits children with intellectual disabilities. While this may have been true at the organization’s start, today Special Olympics is much much more. 

Impact of Special Olympics

Every day, Special Olympics strives to empower people with intellectual disabilities worldwide with the goal of building a world of inclusion and mutual respect, without bias or prejudice. While this goal is ongoing, research has shown that the movement has made a significant impact on its athletes, the families of athletes, and the community at large.

Special Olympics Initiatives

Central to the success of Special Olympics programming is the evaluation of its initiatives. By thorough and scientific examination, Special Olympics can determine the effectiveness of its programs and make changes to them to maximize impact.

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


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Find events near you and learn about volunteer opportunities at one of our 220 worldwide locations. 


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

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

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Bank of AmericaProud partner of Special Olympics.Learn More »

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Coca-ColaSpecial Olympics Founding Partner.Learn More »

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ESPNGlobal Presenting Sponsor of Unified Sports®.Learn More »

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EssilorOfficial global supplier of ophthalmic lenses.Learn More »

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AIPSGlobal Impact Partner for Special Olympics.Learn More »

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Lions ClubSupports access to quality eye care.Learn More »

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MattelSupports Special Olympics Youth Programs.Learn More »

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

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

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

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

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SàfiloSupplies optical frames and sunglasses.Learn More »

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UNICEFProvides greater inclusion of children with disabilities.Learn More »

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

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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