Definition of Eligibility for Participation in Special Olympics
Eligibility is limited to people who have closely related developmental disabilities such as those who have functional limitations, both in general learning and in adaptive skills such as recreation, work, independent living, self-direction or self-care. When the term “intellectual disabilities” or other similar descriptor is not used to identify the person in a local area, eligibility should be determined by whether or not the person has functional limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills. “Developmental disability” is the term most often used to describe people with both limitations. Other terms that may be used synonymously with developmental disability are developmental handicap, developmental delay or severe disabilities.
General learning limitations refers to substantial deficits in conceptual, practical and social intelligence that will result in performance problems in academic learning and/or general life functioning. Learning limitations may be assessed by standardized tests (e.g., intelligence or achievement tests) or through criterion-referenced measures (e.g., teacher/parent observations or actual performance samples).
Adaptive skill limitations refers to ongoing performance deficits in skill areas considered essential to successful life functioning. These adaptive skill areas include: communication, self-care, home-living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, recreation/leisure and work. Adaptive skills limitations may be measured by standardized tests (e.g., adaptive behavior scales or checklists) or through criterion-referenced measures (e.g., teacher/parent observations or actual performance samples).
People with functional limitations based solely on a physical, behavioral, emotional, specific learning disability or sensory disability are not eligible.
Some flexibility is left to accredited programs and subprograms for determining, in exceptional circumstances, the individual eligibility of a participant because of the variety of situations, needs and definitions that exist in the many localities where Special Olympics has been and will be instituted. The accredited program must inform Special Olympics, Inc. (SOI), in writing and with appropriate evidence, of these potential exceptions, and the program’s determination of eligibility is subject to SOI’s approval. Coaches should contact the Vice President of Field Services at the chapter office for more information.
People who have multiple disabilities may participate in Special Olympics provided they meet the eligibility requirements.
Information from: http://www.sotx.org/get-involved/sig/b-athlete-eligibility.html