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Inclusion Works

Every day, Special Olympics is building an inclusive world—a world that celebrates ALL abilities. 

This fall, Special Olympics is celebrating how inclusion makes everybody’s life better. By highlighting how “Inclusion Works!,” we are proving how much more welcoming and meaningful our world can be when we are ALL included.

We’ll be sharing video and written stories about athlete leaders on our website and social media, including mini-videos on the theme of "Challenging Expectations," showcasing how our athletes grow up with low expectations, but overcome those to be successful in life, work, everywhere! Check back for new videos and stories.
Sports Skills to Work Success: Michael's Story
On the field, Michael is an accomplished Special Olympics athlete in several sports. Off it, he has been a valued Walmart employee for 21 years! His success is more proof that Inclusion Works! #ChooseToInclude and sign the Inclusion Pledge
Athlete Leadership Means to Me…
For Special Olympics Nigeria athlete Stanley, leadership can motivate people with, and without, intellectual disabilities to play and work together—because Inclusion Works! Join our #InclusionRevolution—sign the Pledge!
Young Athletes Leading Way to Better Health Together: Fahsai's Story
From a young age, feeling included has helped Special Olympics athletes like Fahsai gain confidence, skills & better health through sports. They are demonstrating how we can all achieve more when we are ALL included. #ChooseToInclude and sign the Inclusion Pledge
UAE Women’s Team Breaks Barriers at Unified Cup
Special Olympics United Arab Emirates has been showing everyone how sports brings people together—with and without intellectual disabilities. Join them in building an inclusive world where people of all abilities can shine! Sign the Pledge
Determined Future Voice for People with ID
"I want to be the voice for people with intellectual disabilities." Through sports and training, Special Olympics athlete leader Louie is redefining expectations for people with intellectual disabilities in The Gambia. Join him in building an inclusive world where people of all abilities can shine! Sign the Pledge
Make Some Noise!
Special Olympics athletes are sports leaders—challenging low expectations everywhere they go, from training to competition and beyond. This video captures that power, with thanks to The Coca-Cola Company, Founding Partner and longtime champion of inclusion.
'Athlete Leadership Means...'
Special Olympics Great Britain athlete Kiera on using her platform as a leader and role model to show the world how well Inclusion Works! Join our #InclusionRevolution—sign the Pledge!
Our First 'Revolution Is Inclusion' Rap!
Special Olympics Bharat youth leaders and talented rappers Mohammad and Shivam with their take on inclusive leadership! Get in the groove & #ChooseToInclude—by signing the Inclusion Pledge
Be a Champion of Inclusion
From Outcast to Leader: Mackenzie's Story
Why does inclusion matter? For young people with intellectual disabilities like Mackenzie, it's the chance to gain confidence and be accepted, often for the very first time. She says it’s easy to be a Champion of Inclusion: “Just talk” to each other—and sign the Inclusion Pledge! #CelebratingChampions
Inclusion is a game-changer for parents of toddlers with intellectual disabilities like Jorel, who only hear what their child canNOT do. The inclusive Special Olympics Young Athletes program focuses on all they CAN do, which is A LOT! Join our joyful #InclusionRevolution—please sign the pledge.
Two young women giving one another a high-5 on the field.
When people with—and without—intellectual disabilities play & learn together, this builds understanding and friendships, all around the globe. Join us as we create a better, more hopeful world! Sign the Inclusion Pledge! #CelebratingChampions
Young woman (Hanako) laughing and smiling.
Inclusion changes everything for people with intellectual disabilities like Hanako, who fights negative stereotypes every day. Her vision: a world where “there are no differences”—and people of all abilities work together. Be a Champion of Inclusion like Hanako & sign the Inclusion Pledge: #CelebratingChampions
Inclusive Health in Action!
Why Education & Awareness Matter: Joyce's Story
When Joyce had trouble walking, her parents were given the following advice to straighten her bones: dig a hole in the ground, put Joyce in it, pack it with soil. Joyce stood in the hole, week after week. Education and awareness are vital in ending health disparities children like Joyce face. Sign our pledge today!!
Be the Change
People with intellectual disabilities are dying at higher rates during COVID-19. Now, more than ever, healthcare providers need to make their practices more inclusive. See the person, not the disability. Sign the pledge!!
Inclusive Health Must Start From Birth: Violet’s Story
Hear from Karen, who sees the urgent need for acceptance and inclusion: for her daughter—and for every child with intellectual disability. Join the Revolution for Healthcare Inclusion and sign our pledge today!!
Young girl and older man giving a peace sign with their fingers.
When Fahsai Saejang was born, her diagnosis—Down Syndrome and a hole in her heart—came as a shock. Inclusive health and fitness changed everything for this young athlete! Join the Revolution for Healthcare Inclusion:
1 Min Read
Inclusive Health Is Not an Option
Inclusive health is not an option, it’s a must! Special Olympics Chief Health Officer, Dr. Alicia Bazzano, says it best “We are out to ERASE health disparities.” Join the Revolution for Healthcare Inclusion and sign our pledge today!
Health Inclusion for All
People with intellectual disabilities are dying on average 16 – 20 years sooner than the general population—due to preventable health conditions. See the person, not the disability. Join the Revolution for Healthcare Inclusion:
Inclusion Works
Meet Filmer
Filmer Tan had many health challenges growing up, but they only motivated him to succeed. Now he’s motivating us all! #ChooseToInclude athletes like Filmer. Sign the pledge
Meet Abdou
Abdou grew up in a community with strong stigma around children born with intellectual disabilities. Now, he’s known as hard-worker and an accomplished role model—proving that Inclusion Works! #ChooseToInclude! Sign the Inclusion Pledge
Meet Forrest
Athletes like Forrest face low expectations, but overcome all to be successful in sports—and in life. See how his creativity shines, proving how inclusion makes the world—and the workplace—better for all.
Meet Brina
Brina faced many obstacles in early life, but she never gave up on her dream of being included. Today, she is a teacher, public speaker, and role model to all! #ChooseToInclude talented athletes like Brina. Sign the pledge @
Inclusion In Action
How Does Inclusion Help?
Inclusion helps everyone--in so many ways. It helps stop bullying & brings people together. Join athletes around the world by taking the Inclusion Pledge!
What Inclusion Means to Me
Haseeb Abbasi of Pakistan says including people of all abilities simply makes the world a better place.
What Does Inclusion Mean?
Young people with intellectual disabilities know the pain of isolation. All they need is be treated equally—and they will shine.
Sport Unites
Every day, Special Olympics athletes prove how sport unifies. Join us in celebrating the inclusive power of sports!
#InclusiveHealth in Action!
Athlete Spotlight: Health+Respect
Join us as we advocate for equity—and respect—in health care for people of ALL abilities!
Health and Peace...Through Sports!
A coach in Iran says "if we embrace the qualities of our athletes into our daily lives, we can build a world of justice, equality, and happiness." Read more about what he's learned from SO athletes here.
Sports for Life: Tori's Story
Through sport, Tori is fighting against stats showing that people w/ intellectual disabilities are in poorer health than the general population. She's inspiring everyone to stay healthy, motivated & fit!
Romana on the left performing artistic gymnastics with a hoop and on the left she's working out at a home gym with resistant bands.
Romana is a young woman determined to live her best life, every single day. She’s been doing such a great job, she’s become a health and fitness role model for all.
1 Min Read
Health Inclusion for All
People with intellectual disabilities are dying on average 16 years sooner than the general population—due to preventable health conditions. Don’t leave people with ID behind during this critical time: Join the Revolution for Healthcare Inclusion:
Moving & Motivating: Carl's Story
Carl's moves help him stay fit. Through his zumba classes, he is showing the world how people with intellectual disabilities can lead us all to better health...if you move like Carl!
Join the Revolution Promo Banner
As we move forward, we need to know you’re with us. Be a revolutionary and help end discrimination against people with Intellectual Disabilities.
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE—Life Lesson from East Asia Youth Leaders
Unified athletes and teammates in East Asia have been experiencing the pandemic longer than anyone. Seeing better times—and more Special Olympics activities!—coming, they encourage everyone to look ahead with optimism and make hopeful plans for the future, just like they've been doing!
Andrew is a Special Olympics athlete and marathon runner, who’s become a coach. He’s worked hard to stay in great shape—and won’t let a pandemic lockdown get in the way of his training. See how he’s training other athletes, like Marcelo, to learn stamina and endurance, despite the quarantine and other restrictions.
STAYING FIT AT HOME—Sports Lesson from Kiera
Kiera is an unstoppable Special Olympics athlete, World Games medalist, and athlete leader from northwest England. Yet COVID-19 did stop her trainings and competitions, plus kept her away from her friends and fellow athletes. Isolation can be tough, but Kiera knew it wasn’t just tough on her. She encourages her athlete friends—and everyone else—to stay fit, despite the lockdown!
Jimmy is an accomplished athlete and athlete leader--and now a coach, referee and respected role model in South Africa. But life didn’t start out that way. Jimmy shares the importance of positive thinking to overcome stigma—and focusing on ability, not disability.
KEEPING A GREAT JOB—Work Lesson from Michel
Michel needed a job to support his mother and siblings. He had some skills, but needed to learn a lot more to become a versatile auto mechanic. He also needed to adapt to working and communicating with a variety of people. The discipline he learned through team sports also helped. Thanks to his hard work, Michel is now a valued employee, as this brief glimpse shows.
FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS—Work Lesson from Lily
From the very start, Lily had big dreams—and determination! She’s a trail-blazing young talent, who also happens to have Down syndrome. Still in her teens, she’s become a popular model & actress, most recently appearing on the Netflix series, “Never Have I Ever.” Here, she shares some tips for anyone else determined to follow their dreams.
PROVING YOURSELF—Life Lesson from Youssef
Youssef saw his friends beaten and bullied, then he was beaten and bullied—all because they have intellectual disabilities. Instead of giving up, he became determined to show the world that people with ID can do anything ”if only we are given the chance.” In his own words, he inspires us to grab every opportunity to succeed, because “we are ALL able.”
Novie and her mother at an outdoor event standing in the bleachers.
Novie had a rough start, abandoned at birth in an inner-city hospital. Then Kelly stopped by her crib—and adopted Novie soon after. They’ve been together ever since! When Kelly fell seriously ill last year, landing her in the ICU before Christmas, Novie didn’t know how to cope. Here, she shares how she handled the crisis.
Be a Champion of Inclusion
Philippines athlete "AJ" was living alone, malnourished, without care or supervision in an abandoned home during the quarantine lockdown; a Special Olympics staffer tracks him down, saving him…just in time. Read more about AJ's story.
"Inclusion Can Never Be a Bad Thing"
No one expected Deran’s inspirational role model to be someone with intellectual disabilities,especially Deran. See how he’s become a force for inclusion!
Role Model for Inclusion: Meet Steven
When COVID-19 hit, Steven was on the ‘front lines,’ making sure his community had everything they needed: taking on not just one job—but two (at a grocery AND at a retail superstore)! Read more about Steven's story.
Congratulations to the Unified Generation
NFL star Eddie Yarbrough learned the importance of including people with intellectual disabilities in his high school; now he's making sure they are recognized as they graduate...and start to build an inclusive world!
The Beginning of Hope
After seeing the impact of inclusion in their own lives, Catherine & Claude are ready to push for change in their homeland, Cameroon: “One day the world will be educated and accept people with disabilities… It will one day come.”
Let Us Shine
Champion athlete/snowboarder Daina’s powerful testimony inspires: why is inclusion not just important—but essential? You’ll see why she’s a Champion FOR Inclusion.
Inclusive Health
healthcare for all thumbnail
Over 80% of healthcare providers are not professionally trained to treat people with intellectual disabilities (ID). Yet, people with ID are more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. Learn More!
Joyce’s Story
In Africa and elsewhere, Special Olympics conducts crucial outreach to help spread understanding about people with intellectual disabilities. This overcomes harsh stigma and brings new awareness among caregivers and others working with this vulnerable population. Here's just a glimpse into how this has brought new hope to Joyce, a young girl in Uganda.
Crowd of people in a stadium.
People with intellectual disabilities die 16 years earlier on average than those without. Together, we can change this by achieving #InclusiveHealth. Sign your name & join our fight for healthcare inclusion.
Female and male adults standing side by side giving a thumbs up.
People with intellectual disabilities are among the most medically underserved in the world today. Their exclusion from mainstream health systems is creating serious health disparities. Join Special Olympics in achieving inclusive health for all!
Five people wearing masks sitting around a table while respecting social distancing.
Oana Rotar, a 29-year-old athlete with Special Olympics Romania, made history earlier this year when she became the first woman with Down syndrome to be employed in the country’s public administration.
2 Min Read
Three athletes at USA Games
5 Reasons Inclusion Matters More Than Ever
3 Min Read
Jaime Cruz and RAVVA in a scene from RAVVA’s music video.
Champions of Inclusion contribute to a more dignified, just and inclusive world for people with intellectual disabilities (ID), celebrating the strength of a world where we all enjoy the same rights.
4 Min Read
First photo: A woman in a colourful top smiles at the camera and holds up a parcel wrapped in blue paper with flowers. There are spools of ribbon and wrapping paper in the background. Second photo: A woman wearing sunglasses, a t-shirt and a skirt swings her tennis racket towards a tennis ball. She is standing on a blue tennis court.
She’s a gift-shop assistant, a nursing-home volunteer—and a Special Olympics gold medallist!
1 Min Read
Photo 1: A man standing in a kitchen wearing an apron and medals around his neck smiles at the camera. Photo 2: A man wearing sunglasses, a baseball cap, t-shirt and shorts swings his tennis racket with a crowd of spectators in the  background.
Thanks to his talent and hard work, Joshua turned a temp job into a permanent contract—working for Ajax Football Club!
1 Min Read
Role Model & Advocate: Meet Nyasha
In his youth, Nyasha wasn’t accepted or included... even by his own family and community. Today, he is a strong role model to people with ID—and without ID. His dream job is to become a global advocate for inclusion.
Rising Above Life’s Challenges: Meet Brightfield
Every day, young people like Brightfield are bullied, due to their intellectual disabilities. Despite challenges, Bright has grown up to be a talented motivational speaker, graphic designer and photographer. Meet Brightfield.
From Student to Teacher: Meet Clari
All her life, Clari has been leading the way to inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities—in schools, in sports and in the workplace!
A Born Leader: Meet Cindy
Cindy is a Special Olympics athlete who learned to set, reach and exceed her goals through sports. She brings that same determination to the workplace, as she leads an advocacy group for people with intellectual disabilities.
By playing, learning and leading together, we are creating an inclusive and welcoming world for all.

Special Olympics athletes are leading this peaceful revolution. See their stories and heartfelt insights from schools to playing fields across the globe:
Play, Live, Learn Unified
Unified isn't just fun—it's awesome fun! Be part of an inclusive world that brings together people of ALL abilities.
young woman speaking
Young people around the world are teaming up and raising their voices for a more inclusive world. Take the Inclusion Pledge. Why? Because we are better together!
Building Friendships, One Game at a Time
By playing together, we quickly build bridges to acceptance and understanding. This is how we are building a more welcoming world—for all!
We Are the Peacemakers
Our 5 million Special Olympics athletes are leading the way to a world where everyone is included—see how.
Inclusion Manifesto
It's time to end discrimination of people with intellectual disabilities! Sign the Inclusion Pledge—and join celebrities and Special Olympics athletes and teammates who believe in its unifying power.
Grace & Matthew
"There's just something about unified..." Unified Sports is just one way we are bringing our communities together, but it can't end there! Sign the Inclusion Pledge and be part of this joyful revolution!
Unified Is a Life Skill
Through inclusion, young people around the world are learning how celebrating ALL abilities makes the world a better place for everyone. As you'll see, we are better...together.
Britney Takes the Lead
Britney was bullied at a young age—but through inclusion, she has found her place.
What Does Inclusion Look Like?
“Inclusion teaches everyone love and kindness and empathy.” Join us—and make the world a better place!
Tajha & Loretta
When Tajha heard Loretta Claiborne's story, her whole world changed & she found a renewed purpose in her life. Today, Tajha is leading the #InclusionRevolution in her community!
Imagine an Inclusive World
We can see it: a generation of respect, of acceptance, of diversity. A generation that leads together—and learns together.This is how we can build an inclusive world … for all of us. Can you see it?
Kate & Emily
As best friends, Kate & Emily have changed each other’s lives … for the better. They are part of The Revolution Is Inclusion—and they are changing the world! Join Kate & Emily in creating a more inclusive, welcoming world for all!
Champions in Action
In 2019, Special Olympics held the largest, most inclusive World Games in our history. With nearly 7,000 athletes from 200 nations, the World Games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates were also our most unified and diverse. Meet just a few of those athletes—from all seven regions of the world—and see their incredible stories:
Saleh is a United Arab Emirates athlete leader who is excited to welcome athletes from around the globe for the first Special Olympics World Games in the Middle East!
Aquiles Heredia
Aquiles' talent and dedication inspire his achieve the 'impossible!' He is an accomplished athlete, who has been training hard for his second Special Olympics World Games competition.
Xiang Li in a red athletic zip up.
Li Xiang has been changing attitudes about people with intellectual disabilities all his life. In China, people with intellectual disabilities can face stigma from the moment of diagnosis.
Abhishek Gogoi holding his bike with one hand and giving the peace sign with the other.
With his ambitious training runs, 18-year-old Abhishek has become a familiar sight around Guwahati, the largest city in northeast India.
Steven Dodd
Most people describe Steven as a leader first; then, as a multi-sport athlete, training hard in a new sport for the 2019 World Games!
Khadija Sy
Khadija is a role model, health volunteer and public speaker from Senegal. She’s also a Special Olympics athlete who has competed in both the 2011 World Games in Athens and the 2015 World Games in Los Angeles.
Brittany Tagliareni
Brittany didn't say her first word until she was 6; but these days, she communicates power and assurance—through sports.