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Special Olympics New Jersey provides opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities to become athletes.

What are the eligibility requirements?

To be eligible to participate in Special Olympics, athletes must be at least 8 years old* and identified by an agency or professional as having one of the following conditions: intellectual disability; a cognitive delay as determined by standardized measures such as intelligence quotient (IQ) or other generally accepted measures; or a closely related developmental disability, i.e., functional limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills. There is not cost to participate in Special Olympics New Jersey.

*Children ages 2½ to 7 years old are eligible to participate in the Young Athletes Program.

What is an intellectual disability?

Special Olympics uses the definition of intellectual disabilities provided by the World Health Organization (WHO); the United Nations' specialized agency for health. According to the WHO, intellectual disability is a condition of arrest or incomplete development of the mind characterized by impairment of skills and overall intelligence in areas such as cognition, language, and motor and social abilities. Intellectual disability can occur with or without any other physical or mental disorders. Although reduced level of intellectual functioning is the characteristic feature of this disorder, the diagnosis is made only if it is associated with a diminished ability to adapt to the daily demands of the normal social environment.

A person is considered to have an intellectual disability for purposes of determining his or her eligibility to participate in Special Olympics if that person satisfies any one of the following requirements: