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
  • cognitive delay as determined by standardized measures such as intelligence quotient (IQ) or other accepted measures
  • closely related developmental disability

Children between the ages of 2 and 7 can participate in our Young Athlete Program. Anyone, 8 years and older, can participate as a Unified partner, regardless of ability.

What is an Intellectual Disability?

Intellectual disability (or ID) is a term used to describe a disability characterized by certain limitations in cognitive functioning and skills. These limitations can affect an individual’s communication, social and self-care skills and can vary widely from person to person. Intellectual disability is the most common developmental disability.

Getting Started

Once you or your athlete are determined eligible to participate, take the next steps to officially become an athlete:

  1. Complete the Participation Requirements– The participation requirements include required medical forms that must be completed by a physician and a communicable diseases waiver in order to train and compete.
  2. Identify your sports – We offer 24 Olympic-style sports throughout the state year-round.
  3. Contact our office – For athletes up to 8 years old, contact Brianna Santoro at bss@sonj.org. Athletes 9 years or older should contact Joanne Monaco at jdm@sonj.org. They will help get you started based on your location.