Special Olympics Unified Sports® combines people with intellectual disabilities (traditional Special Olympics athletes) and without intellectual disabilities (called partners) on sports teams for training and competition. In Rhode Island, Unified Sports® programs are offered in soccer, basketball, volleyball, softball, golf, sailing, bowling, flag football, tennis, cross-country running, cycling, croquet and senior sports.
Using sports to help break down barriers that have historically kept people apart, Unified Sports® promotes meaningful inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities in the community. In fact, 93% of partners say they gained a better understanding of their teammates through Unified Sports®.
Unified Sports® is particularly successful in school settings, creating an inclusive environment where everyone benefits. Students with intellectual disabilities experience new social opportunities and make new friends they may not have otherwise. Their non-disabled peers learn valuable lessons of character development and may serve as mentors. Many parents and siblings also find that Unified Sports® offers a new way to spend time together and meet other families.
Unified Sports® is for anyone who enjoys competition, fun and friendship. To get involved, contact Adam Johnson for more details on our Unified Sports Programs.