Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.
In Unified Sports, teams are made up of people of similar age and ability, which makes practices more fun and games more challenging and exciting for all. Having sport in common is just one more way that preconceptions and false ideas are swept away.
Young people with disabilities don’t often get a chance to play on their school sports teams, but more and more U.S. states are adopting the unified sports approach that Special Olympics pioneered. For almost 20 years, Special Olympics has offered sport teams that blend people with and without intellectual disabilities, and that is a model that encourages sports and fun, and which also gets people together to learn more about each other. You can learn more about unified sports and get involved with SOLA by clicking here.
The Unified Champion Schools approach incorporates Special Olympics sports and related activities while enhancing the youth experience and empowering them to be change agents in their communities. This requires a shift in current programs and paradigms from a focus on events to committing to a movement advocating for youth as leaders. This programming promotes social inclusion in schools to ensure special education and general education students are equitably engaged. Teachers and students are encouraged to collaborate and create supportive classrooms, activities and opportunities. Students should be encouraged and supported to be agents of change, have opportunities to be leaders, and participate in collaborative school activities. To achieve this, school leaders and educators must foster a socially inclusive school climate that emphasizes acceptance, respect and human dignity for all students. A socially inclusive school is a place where no student is excluded because of the degree or type of disability or the services required to meet his/her needs.
The LSU vs Tulane Special Olympics Unified Rivalry Series Basketball game was held on Saturday, February 4th. The event was held at the Reily Center on Tulane University’s Uptown campus. Unified teams were made up of both Special Olympics Louisiana athletes and students from Louisiana State University and Tulane University. Tulane won the game with a score of 26-4 over LSU.
Special Olympics Unified Sports is an initiative that combines approximately equal numbers of Special Olympics athletes and athletes without intellectual disabilities (called Partners) on sports teams for training and competition. Age and ability matching of athletes and Partners is defined on a sport-by-sport basis.
Special Olympics wants to create the next generation of individuals who through their connections, technology, concern and action will shape the world to one of respect and acceptance. To make sure all young adults have access to sporting opportunities, Special Olympics is taking an active interest in expanding our collegiate programming. The Unified Sports Rivalry Series was created to connect Unified Sports and our athletes to a high profile collegiate rivalry sports games.
The one-year countdown has officially begun for the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games! – “These Games will be the largest, most dynamic, and most innovative national Games in the history of Special Olympics in the United States,”… View the full story
Special Olympics Louisiana will be sending a delegation of 101: 54 athletes, 26 unified partners and 21 coaches. Team Louisiana will be participating in 8 sports! We are very excited and need a lot of help before hand. If you are interested in helping with Team Louisiana, please contact our state office firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-345-6644.
Stay tuned for more information in the upcoming months. Or follow the games on facebook