Special Olympics Goal:
To help bring all persons with intellectual disabilities into the larger society under conditions whereby they are accepted, respected, and given a chance to become productive citizens.
Any person eight (8) years of age and older who is identified as having intellectual disabilities by an agency or a professional in any given local area is considered eligible for Special Olympics. (see eligibility for further information)
Special Olympics Hawaii has athletes begin to train in our program as early as six (6) years of age. They are then able to compete for awards at the age of eight (8). Special Olympics Hawaii has many athletes over the age of 80 still competing. We are able to provide a variety of events for all levels of athletes to compete in. From having an assisted device to walk the 10 meter walking race to running the 1500 meters.
Special Olympics Hawaii also has 2 special programs for athletes under the age of 8 that they can attend. For children age 2 to 6, Special Olympics Hawaii conducts a Young Athlete Program (YAP), where pre-schoolers "play" at lead up skills for the sports offered by our program. This program is provided on Oahu 1 time per month, see the schedule for dates and location. Our East Hawaii Area Program also conducts school YAP programs as well as a Day Off YAP event. Contact our East Hawaii Area Director for more information. Our second program is designed for our Future Stars, ages 6 and 7. These athletes can attend our State Summer Games and compete in track and field events, our Aukake Classic to compete in soccer skills, and Holiday Classic to compete in Basketball Skills. Future Star athletes must fill out the Application for Participation Form and Athlete Release Form. See Athlete Registration for more information on registering your Future Star.
There are Special Olympics programs on almost every island in the State. These programs are called the Area Programs. Athletes become part of a Delegation through the Area Director. This is where they will meet the most important person to them in Special Olympics, their Coach.
The benefits that athletes receive from their participation in Special Olympics include:
- improved physical fitness
- improved motor skills
- greater self-confidence
- a more positive self image
- develop friendships
- increased family support
All other individuals that are eight years old and older are eligible to be Unified Partners. These athletes may compete in the Special Olympics Unified Sports® program.
To be eligible to participate in Special Olympics, athletes must have an intellectual disability; a cognitive delay, or a development disability, that is, functional limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills. Participation in Special Olympics starts at age 8 years, and there’s no maximum age limit. Children with intellectual disabilities ages 2 through 5 can take part in the Young Athletes program, either at home or through a nearby Special Olympics program. Children from 6-7 can participate in the Future Stars program. People without intellectual disabilities can take part in Unified Sports, teams that mix people with and without intellectual disabilities.
For further information please contact our Vice President of Area Services at the Special Olympics Hawaii State office.
Special Olympics athletes
All persons wishing to become an athlete in Special Olympics Hawaii must register with the Area Director in their community or with the State office.
The registration process begins by the athlete/parent/guardian completing an Application for Participation Form. Please fax these forms to the State Office 943-8814 attention Nip Ho. New athletes must have a medical professional sign this application. Medicals are valid for three (3) years. If registering an individual with Down Syndrome an additional section must be completed. This is to ensure Special Olympics that the athlete does not have atlanto-axial instability and may compete in all sports. If an athlete has atlanto-axial instability they cannot compete in sports like squat in Powerlifting, or diving in Swimming.
Atlanto-Axial Instability Form for Down Syndrome Athletes.
A Release Form must also be completed by athlete/parent/guardian and submitted to the Area Director or the State office. This release is good for a lifetime.
Athletes are expected to follow directions both on and off the field as well as put forth their best effort at practices and competitions. The Athlete Code of Conduct is signed by both the athlete and their legal guardian ensuring that our guidelines are understood.
All persons wishing to become Unified Partners® must register with the Area Director in their community or with the State office. An individual must complete the Unified Sports® Partner form. If a minor, the parent or guardian must sign. There is no medical portion to this application. The application must be submitted to the Area Director in order for the athlete to begin training. This form is also valid for three (3) years. Along with the Unified Sports® Partner form, you must fill out the Volunteer Form and attend a General Orientation and view the Protective Behavior video. This will complete the Class A certification that is needed for all Unified Partners to participate in Special Olympics.
Nip Ho, Vice President of Area Services
(808) 943-8808 ext. 103