School Sport Competition

SOBC basketball athletes posing for picture
Special Olympics BC is working with School Districts around the province to build Inclusive Schools through sport.


Special Olympics BC’s school sport programs uniquely create sport training and competition opportunities for high school student-athletes with intellectual disabilities. The student-athletes get to experience the benefits of participating in sports – healthy activity, friendship, confidence, skill building, and so much more. And participating schools become more inclusive and respectful communities when they rally around these athletes who step off the sidelines and show their abilities.

The programs are for student-athletes of a wide range of ability levels – no experience necessary and beginners are encouraged.



Special Olympics BC has free, ready-made programming complete with lesson plans and training tips, making it easy to offer empowering Special Olympics sport training and competition in the school setting. One of the sports that schools can choose from is 3-on-3 basketball – please see below to learn about the traditional and Unified program options.

Educators arrange to train student-athletes with intellectual disabilities regularly through the school term. Schools make their Special Olympics team(s) a sanctioned team within their athletic program, recognizing them alongside the mainstream athletes and providing them with uniforms for competition.

At the end of the season, teams come together for a fun tournament that all students and educators can support and enjoy, with roles ranging from referee and scoring volunteers to cheering squads.

Enjoy stories from current programs


Special Olympics BC’s programs help students with intellectual disabilities who aren’t able to access the same physical and healthy activity options as their peers, and they help schools become more inclusive and respectful communities.

Special Olympics BC’s aim is to provide educators with an array of training resources that make it easy to incorporate Special Olympics sport lesson plans into classrooms, giving students with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to experience the many benefits in health, skills, and confidence that stem from participation in sport.

And SOBC's aim is to give students a super-fun opportunity to be active and be a star in front of their school!

"They’ve learned to play together, they’ve improved together, and they’re really supportive of each other, which is the whole thing as far as I’m concerned." -Teacher/coach Kari Bennett

More quotes


What's next

Students with intellectual disabilities can transition into year-round participation in Special Olympics programs in their local community, giving them activity, friendship, and health opportunities that will benefit them throughout their lives. Students without intellectual disabilities can become volunteers with their local Special Olympics programs, changing lives including their own through the power and joy of sport, and setting an example of inclusion and respect that benefits the whole community.


About Special Olympics BC 3-on-3 basketball

Special Olympics BC is dedicated to working with School Districts around the province to build Inclusive Schools through sport. One of the opportunities that fits into the school setting easily and for free is Special Olympics BC’s 3-on-3 basketball program. There are two options available for developing 3-on-3 basketball, and each school can choose the option that works best for them.

Teams can be coached by students without intellectual disabilities, or by an educator or teaching assistant. Teams would train together just like any other school team. They would travel to and compete in Special Olympics 3-on-3 basketball competitions within a School District, and when possible at the provincial level.

Teams can be co-ed. Prior to a competition, the participating teams will be divided into groups based on ability level, so that play is against those of roughly the same level.

Special Olympics traditional

Students with intellectual disabilities come together to train once a week in their sport. The Special Olympics 3-on-3 basketball team would be treated like any team within the school. This allows students with intellectual disabilities to feel included and supported within the school setting, while gaining essential activity and health opportunities.

Special Olympics Unified

Special Olympics BC has a Unified Sports strategy to bring students with and without intellectual disabilities together on the playing field. When you connect students through sports, hearts and minds open, and misunderstandings and negative attitudes disappear.

Special Olympics Unified 3-on-3 basketball joins students with and without intellectual disabilities (IDs) as teammates. Teachers and administrators who have experienced the program say that “training, competing, and playing together is a quick path to understanding, acceptance, and friendship.” It is helping to make schools throughout the province Inclusive Communities.

A Special Olympics Unified 3-on-3 basketball team can range in size from a maximum of six players (four with IDs, two without IDs) to a minimum of three players (two with IDs, one without an ID). Schools can have multiple teams. In a game, each shift would see two athletes with IDs and one student without an ID on the court.


Get involved

Please talk to us about the benefits of inclusive sport to break down barriers and change the game for students with intellectual disabilities and your school community! Please contact:
Phone: 250-252-0515 


More resources

SOBC's Inclusion Champion Schools program