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Young Athletes™ is an innovative sports play program for children with and without intellectual disabilities age 2 to 7. The program includes active games, songs, and other play activities that help children develop motor, social, and cognitive skills. The Young Athletes™ Curriculum is based on the Young Athletes™ Activity Guide and provides scripted Lesson Plans to be used over an 8 week period.  Check out our Young Athletes One Page Snapshot.

Program Models

There are three unique models of Young Athletes™ Programs: At Home, School Based, and Community Based.

At Home: The At Home model is implemented at home by a parent or caregiver for an individual child or a child and siblings. The Young Athletes™ @ Home Guide is used during a structured play time to teach and reinforce each skill. Ideally individuals utilizing the At Home model would attend a community based session or local program competition as a culminating event as an introduction to the Special Olympics community and to strengthen social skills.

School Based: The School Based model is implemented in a preschool, day care, or elementary school setting for a class of students by a teacher or paraprofessional. The Young Athletes™ Activity Guide and Lesson Plans are used during a structured play time to teach and reinforce each skill. Ideally individuals utilizing the School Based model would host a culminating event or attend a local program competition as an introduction to the Special Olympics community and the structure of training and competition timelines.

Community Based: The Community Based model is implemented in a community setting in a park, church, school gym, or another donated or rented space for members of the community by a trained volunteer. The Young Athletes™ Activity Guide and Lesson Plans are used during a structured play time to teach and reinforce each skill. Ideally individuals utilizing the Community Based model would host a culminating event or attend a local program competition as an introduction to the Special Olympics community and the structure of training and competition timelines.

Contact your local program representatives to see what local Young Athletes™ program is available and accepting new participants in your area. If there are no programs available, contact Jordan Schubert at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn how to create a new program at home, school, or in your community.

Support and Inspiration

The Young Athletes™ program helps children all around the world, thanks to the support of The Mattel Children's Foundation, Toys R Us, Kim Samuel and the Lynch Family Foundation. Their help leads children with intellectual disabilities into a bright new world of sports and social skills, pride and possibility.

Activity Guides and Kits

The Young Athletes™ @ Home Guide, Activity Guide, and Equipment Kits are available from Special Olympics PA by contacting Jordan Schubert at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

At Home participants will receive a Young Athletes™ @ Home Guide that will provide you with the tools and resources that allow you to play with your child in a non-clinical setting, while promoting the development of many cognitive and physical skills.

At School and Community Based participants will receive a Young Athletes™ Equipment Kit and Program Manual (including the Activity Guide, Lesson Plans, and more) that will provide you with the tools and resources to begin a group Young Athletes™ program.  Please refer to the Young Athletes Toolkit and Lesson Guidebook with any questions about equipment and how to run a Home, School or Community based Young Athletes Program.

Additional Resources

Young Athletes™ Nutrition Guide

Young Athletes™ Nutrition Activities

Young Athletes™ Warm Up and Stretching Guide

Young Athletes Certificate-PPT

Young Athletes Certificate-PDF

 

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