Special Olympics Canada | Olympiques Spéciaux Canada
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and coaches deliver Special Olympics programs in hundreds of communities across Canada

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of the Special Olympics Champions Network

Team Canada

Long Term Athlete Development Model

Developing an active life now

Not just for adults, Special Olympics Canada has developed a model for our athletes that ensures their physical wellbeing is nurtured from a very young age onward. With our initiatives for young athletes, as well as our programs and services for adults, we have become a well-respected organization in the athletic field.

Acting as a framework for those who choose to stay active for life in community or recreational programs, or those who seek to reach the podium in competitive training programs, the Long Term Development Model (LTAD) guides the physical literacy of each individual with an intellectual disability, including those as young as two.

For Young Athletes

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

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.

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, ie. 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