Young Athletes (Young Athletes) of the Special Olympics


Special Olympics has provided opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, ages 8 and up, to participate in sports training and competition since 1968.  The Young Athlete Program now opens the door for participation by those athletes throughout the state at an age of transition – from early intervention program completion to pre-school and early elementary school years.

Description – The Young Athlete Program was created, to meet the physical and developmental needs of children, ages 2 ½ to 7, in the areas of physical activity and play, with an emphasis on sports skill development. The activities presented in the program are designed to develop the fundamental prerequisite skills to prepare athletes for future participation in sports. The program includes user-friendly instructions and a complete kit of sports activity equipment. The design of this program provides flexibility for the parent, sibling, paraprofessional, teacher, and volunteer to conduct activities. The Young Athlete Program is designed to be used by parents in the home and can be used in a preschool / school environment, playgroup or one-on-one situation.

Benefits – The Young Athlete Program offers families the opportunity to share in the success of their future athlete. It provides an experience that will lead to an appreciation of fitness and sport for the whole family. Inclusive activities are encouraged to help promote social development. Most importantly, families will learn about the potential of their child through preparation for participation in sport.

Get started today! Download the Young Athlete Program Activity Guide (PDF, 1.6MB).

Young Athletes introduces children with intellectual disabilities and their families to the world of Special Olympics by pursuing the following goals:

Engage children with intellectual disabilities through developmentally appropriate play activities designed to foster physical, cognitive, and social development;

Welcome family members of children with intellectual disabilities to the Special Olympics network of support;

Raise awareness about the abilities of children with intellectual disabilities through inclusive peer participation, demonstrations and other events.

Young Athletes is a versatile program that can work in various learning situations. The program is designed for families to play with their young athletes at home in a fun atmosphere. It is also appropriate for preschools, schools and playgroups to use with small groups of young children with and without intellectual disabilities. The flexibility of Young Athletes ensures the opportunity to welcome families and their young children into the Special Olympics family.

The Young Athletes program includes several resources to guide family members, educators and other professionals as they conduct Young Athletes activities with their children, brothers, sisters, cousins, grandchildren, students or patients.

Young Athletes Activities Guide – descriptions of the official Young Athletes activities;

Training DVD – instructional video of children performing the Young Athletes activities;

Young Athletes Equipment Kit – equipment needed to perform the activities; – further resources, materials and information.

The program “Young Athletes” is a training program that aims to integrate young people in sport and especially to the family of Special Olympics.
The program is designed and aimed at children with intellectual disability aged 2-7 years
The program aims to:
The development of physical fitness and socialization of children through activities in the form of the game
The inclusion of families in the Special Olympics Movement
In recognition of children with intellectual disabilities
In preparing children for their smooth integration in official competitions of the Special Olympics, after completing the eighth year of age
Basic information about the program “Young Athletes”, during the World Games ATHENS 2011: When: During the World Games ATHENS 2011
Where: Goudi Park
Duration: 1 day
Participating athletes are 60 children aged 2-7 years of special schools and institutions of Athens.  The program is designed so that children according to age, skill level and gender to pass through the circuit training in a range of skills including:
Coordination Exercises Walking / Running
Balance / Jumps
Flying / Grip


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