Active Start

Special Olympics Canada offers child and youth programs designed to help children with an intellectual disability develop basic motor skills and sport skills through fun and positive movement experiences. Special Olympics promotes opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, enhance skills and create friendships.

Active Start, along with FUNdamentals, is one of two initiatives developed by Special Olympics Canada for young athletes. Active Start is a family-centred activity program for children with an intellectual disability ages 2-6. Through the program, children learn basic motor skills such as walking, running, jumping, balancing and throwing in a fun and safe environment. These skills provide support for everyday activities as well as a base for Special Olympics sports training and competition as athletes grow older

  • Age: Two to six
  • Priority: Active participation for fun, development of physical literacy
  • Objective: Develop play skills through movement and daily physical activity
  • Skills: Basic motor skills, ex: walking, running, jumping, balancing, etc.
Sign up to learn more about registering for Active Start
Benefits of the Active Start & FUNdamentals Programs for participants:
  • Substantial and improved development of physical, cognitive, and social abilities;
  • Introduction of positive social experiences through fun play activities alongside peers;
  • Development of self-esteem and a sense of belonging;
  • Opportunities to transition into other year-round Special Olympics sport programs, and to continue a lifelong love of sport.
Benefits of the Active Start & FUNdamentals Program for parents/caregivers:
  • Education for parents/caregivers about the value of sport in the lives of their children;
  • Education in nutrition, basic motor skills, and the Special Olympics organization;
  • Opportunities for parents/caregivers to expand their networks and support systems.

Building Quality Participation

Special Olympics Canada has partnered with the Canadian Disability Participation Project (CDPP) to produce A Blueprint for Building Quality Participation in Sport for Children and Youth with Intellectual Disabilities. This Blueprint introduces program leaders and volunteers to key concepts that underpin quality participation (i.e., the building blocks of quality participation) to better facilitate quality sport experiences for young athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Quality Participation Self-Reflection Tool (QP-SRT) for Program Leaders and Volunteers

Special Olympics Canada and the Canadian Disability Participation Project recognize that physical activity is an essential aspect of health and well-being that should be fully inclusive and accessible. Quality participation is achieved when athletes with a disability view their involvement in sport as satisfying and enjoyable, and experience outcomes that they consider important. The evidence-informed recommendations highlighted throughout the QP-SRT, if implemented, can help to facilitate access and inclusion, a fundamental human right of all children.

The QP-SRT is a quick, easy-to-use reflection-based tool designed for program leaders and volunteers, and is not an evaluation. After you complete the QP-SRT, a customized action plan is generated. You also receive strategies and examples of how to facilitate these recommendations within your program.

Access the Quality Participation Self-Reflection Tool:

Active Start is a family-centred activity program for children with an intellectual disability ages 2-6.