Special Olympics Canada | Olympiques Spéciaux Canada
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36,739 children, youth & adults

with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics programs.

50 per cent

of Special Olympics athletes work. They are 5 times more likely to work than adults with an intellectual disability not enrolled in Special Olympics.

For the Young Athlete

Not just for adults

Recognizing the importance of sport in the lives of all individuals, we understand that offering programs directly to youth should be an integral part of what we do. With this in mind, we are proud to provide our young athletes with the programs necessary to develop many important skills required in both sport and everyday life.

Special Olympics Canada has developed two new initiatives, Active Start for children ages two to six years, and FUNdamentals for children ages seven to twelve.

Program leaders introduce children to the world of sport by developing fundamental movement skills like walking, running, jumping and balancing. These skills provide support for everyday activities as well as a base for Special Olympics sports training and competition as athletes grow older.

Active Start

  • Chronological Age:Two to Six Years
  • Priority: Active participation for fun
  • Objective: Develop play skills through movement and daily physical activity.
  • Skills: Walking, swimming, running, jumping and balancing.

The rationale behind Active Start is that when children with an intellectual disability receive early instruction in basic motor skills and have the opportunity to experience ‘play,’ there is improvement in their physical, social and cognitive abilities.

Active Start provides lessons for young athletes to learn about running, kicking, throwing, and jumping, but then builds on these experiences from the gym and provides caregivers educational information and resources that allows them to offer similar opportunities in the home environment.

FUNdamentals

  • Starting Age: Males, six to nine and Females, six to eight
  • Priority: Development of Fundamental Movement Skills
  • Objective: Physical Literacy
  • Skills: Basic Sport Movement Skills like running, kicking and hitting

FUNdamentals focuses on developing basic sport skills while creating a level of enjoyment for physical activity in young athletes. Through these ideals we hope that this will encourage athletes to live a healthy active life through sport. FUNdamentals uses activity sessions that look at specific sport skills such as transportation skills, kicking, throwing and catching that can be transferred into a number of various sports and can be used in everyday tasks.

For further information or to find out about these programs in your area please contact your chapter representative.

For further information regarding the LTAD, please review the following document:
Long Term Athlete Development (PDF)