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Eligibility for Participation in Special Olympics

  • Every person with an intellectual disability who is at least 8 years of age is eligible to participate in Special Olympics.
  • There is no maximum age limitation for participation in Special Olympics.
  • The Young Athletes program introduces children, ages 2 to 7 to Special Olympics Tennessee and interactive play.

Identifying Persons with Intellectual disabilities

A person is considered to have an intellectual disability for purposes of determining his or her eligibility to participate in Special Olympics if that person satisfies any one of the following requirements:

  1. The person has been identified by an agency or professional as having an intellectual disability as determined by their localities; or
  2. The person has a cognitive delay, as determined by standardized measures such as intelligent quotient or "IQ" testing or other measures which are generally accepted within the professional community in that Accredited Program's nation as being a reliable measurement of the existence of a cognitive delay; or
  3. The person has a closely related developmental disability. A "closely related developmental disability" means having functional limitations in both general learning (such as IQ) and in adaptive skills (such as in recreation, work, independent living, self-direction, or self-care). However, persons whose functional limitations are based solely on a physical, behavioral, or emotional disability, or a specific learning or sensory disability, are not eligible to participate as Special Olympics athletes, but may be eligible to volunteer for Special Olympics.