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Special Olympics Manchester Eligibility

There is no cost to participate in the Special Olympics Manchester program. To be eligible to participate, athletes must be at least 8 years old and identified by an agency or professional as having one of the following conditions: intellectual disability, cognitive delay as measured by formal assessment, or significant learning or vocational problems due to cognitive delay that require or have required specially designed instruction.

Special Olympics has adopted "intellectual disability" as a widely accepted and less objectionable term for what is referred to in clinical settings as "mental retardation." Although we have updated our terminology, Special Olympics continues to serve the same population and its mission remains unchanged. In the context of the Special Olympics movement, the term intellectual disability is synonymous with mental retardation; other terms - including cognitive delay, intellectual handicaps, learning disability, mental disabilities, and mental handicaps - are used around the world.

Are you or a family member eligible?
For specific eligibility questions, please contact please contact Dr. Kim Duchane at kaduchane@manchester.edu or call 260-982-5382. By answering a few short questions, you can determine your potential.

What is the definition of intellectual disability?
According to the World Health Organization:

  • Intellectual disability is a condition of arrested or incomplete development of the mind characterized by impairment of skills and overall intelligence in areas such as cognition, language, motor, and social abilities.
  • Intellectual disability can occur with or without any other physical or mental disorders.
  • Although reduced level of intellectual functioning is the characteristic feature of this disorder, the diagnosis is made only if it is associated with a diminished ability to adapt to the daily demands of the normal social environment.

How prevalent are intellectual disabilities?
Intellectual disability knows no boundaries. It cuts across the lines of racial, ethnic, educational, social, and economic backgrounds, and it can occur in any family. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 170 million people or 3 percent of the world's population, have intellectual disabilities—the largest disability population in the world.

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