Special Olympics responded to the extreme health disparities of people with intellectual disabilities by creating the Healthy Athletes program. Thousands of volunteer health care professionals provide free health screenings and education to Special Olympics athletes around the world.
Despite an estimated 200 million people living with an intellectual disability (ID) worldwide, much of the population has had little or no access to proper healthcare for the majority of their lives. Often the reason is as simple as no doctor nearby has experience treating a person with an intellectual disability.
The Healthy Athletes Program sets clear goals to benefit people with ID. Improve access to health care; make referrals to local health practitioners; train health care professionals and students on specialized care; collect and analyze data on the health status and identify needs; advocate for improved health policies and programs.
The success of Healthy Athletes depends on the support of the volunteer network of health care providers and the growing network of community members offering opportunities of inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities. Together as health care professionals, athletes, family members and friends, we can all create a legacy of care.
Clinics are provided periodically at state and sectional level events as well as some local events. The programs available are Opening Eyes (Vision and Eye Care), Special Smiles (Dental screenings); Healthy Hearing; Physical Therapy, etc. For more information and details on clinics, contact your local program representative, or contact our Norristown office at 1-800-235-9058.