What does every child want? The chance to kick a ball, to throw it well, to share that success with family members. What does every child with intellectual disabilities want? The exact same thing.
The Special Olympics Young Athletes program is an innovative sports play program created for children who have intellectual disabilities ages two through seven. Young Athletes is designed to introduce them to the world of sports prior to Special Olympics eligibility at age eight with a focus on fun activities that are important to mental and physical growth.
Parents say their children in Young Athletes also develop better social skills. The confidence boost makes it easier for them to play and talk with other children on the playground and elsewhere. Currently, school districts in Ocean Springs and Hattiesburg are offering Young Athletes programs.
This free, inclusive sports play program helps children ages 2 through 7 to:
- Improve gross motor skills
- Celebrate what your child CAN do
- Improve social and language skills
- Learn to PLAY with purpose
- Develop skills for future participation in sports
All children must participate with a parent or adult guardian, and all participants must wear athletic shoes. Siblings and friends are encouraged to participate.