Special Olympics offers families the opportunity to be a part of a year-round sports training and competition program that not only provides the entire family with opportunities for sports, social interaction, and fun, but also serve as a much-needed support system.

Families with members who have intellectual and developmental disabilities are like other families-, however having a family member with special needs can sometimes introduce new and different challenges for families in their everyday lives.

The Family Support Network provides a programmatic structure in which Special Olympics families reach out to new families to welcome them into the Special Olympics community. Family Support Network objectives - to support families, to develop partnerships with community organizations, to train new Family Leaders - all contribute to Special Olympics' primary goal of increasing the number of athletes participating in the movement worldwide.

The Family Support Network is based on the premise that the family members of present and future Special Olympics athletes are valuable and have an important role to play in the Special Olympics outreach. The Family Support Network connects Special Olympics families with new families of individuals with intellectual disabilities and provides supportive links and information. The Family Support Network creates opportunities for family members to become advocates for the Special Olympics movement-, Match families to share ideas, issues and common interest; Volunteer in their loved one's athletic training-, and Encourage new families who can benefit from Special Olympics to join.

Become a Special Olympics Family Leader

  • Honors families as an integral member of the Special Olympics community.
  • Recognizes family contributions at all levels of the movement
  • Supports and links families and resources
  • Empowers family voices of leadership

Ways to Get Involved

  • Lead as a Family Coach
  • Lead as a Family Volunteer
  • Lead as Special Olympics Advocate
  • Lead as a Fundraiser
  • Lead on a county program committee or Board
  • Lead who can organize social gatherings for athletes and families

Join the Special Olympics family of Leaders.

For more information on resources for family members and how your family can get involved in a leadership role, contact your local County Program Director.

Family Web Sites

There are many resources available for families with members who have intellectual disabilities.
Link onto these sites by going to the Special Olympics International Family Web Site under Family Leadership & Support.

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