Special Olympics

Making a very real difference and impact on the lives of extraordinary people.

Special Olympics - Making a Difference

This clip demonstrates how Department for Communities, Sports Branch’s support for Special Olympics makes a very real difference and impact on the lives of extraordinary people.

Special Olympics - Celebration

This clip is a celebration of Team Ireland’s incredible performance at the Special Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles where the Team won 86 medals including 26 Gold.  A fantastic achievement.

Special Olympics Ireland – Changing Lives

Special Olympics Ireland is a sports organisation providing year round sports training and competition for athletes with an intellectual disability.

In the Ulster region they have 65 Special Olympics Clubs providing weekly training sessions for 1957 athletes. The Department continues to facilitate an inter-departmental funding arrangement for Special Olympics Ulster which seeks to provide £610k in the current year as part of a 4 year investment of circa £2.2m.

All the clubs are managed by teams of volunteers who ensure that the athletes can grow, develop and perform at regional, national and international events. SOU welcomes participants with all levels of ability. The overarching theme of Learning Disability is directly inclusive of participants on the ASD scale and athletes can train from as young as four years of age thanks to SOU’s Young Athletes Programme. There is no upper age limit.

Increasingly, in line with the other Special Olympics Ireland Regions, SOU activities are not just about developing athletes and providing competitive events, rather there is a broadening emphasis on developing the whole person. This means that participants will be involved in activities that will provide benefits in terms of health, learning, self-reliance, confidence, social development as well as the sense of achievement, team spirit and excitement that comes from the sporting participation.

Athlete Leadership

One exciting opportunity organised by Special Olympics is Athlete Leadership.  This programme enables athletes of all abilities, working with a mentor, to become socially and personally more confident and participate as leaders and ambassadors with Special Olympics Ireland and in their own community.

The Olympians share their experiences in the film below:

Shaun Cassidy, Regional Director, Special Olympics Ulster briefly explains the Athlete Forum in the film below:

If you want to know more about Special Olympics Ireland, or are interested in becoming involved as a volunteer you should visit Ulster region page on their website or contact them by e-mail.

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