Special Olympics

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Special Olympics

Special Olympics is an international year-round program of sports training and competition for individuals with intellectual disabilities. More than 4.2 million athletes in more than 170 countries train and compete in 30 Olympic-type individual and team sports. Both summer and winter sports are offered. 

Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their families and community. Athletes and their families are not charged a fee to participate in Special Olympics. Visit Special Olympics online at www.SpecialOlympics.org.

Human Kinetics offers online courses for Special Olympics North America (SONA) coaches seeking level-one certification as well as for veteran coaches seeking continuing education. The Coaching Special Olympics Athletes online course satisfies two conditions for Special Olympics coaching education requirement:

1. Entry-level course for new Special Olympics coaches. The online course is equivalent to the Coaching Special Olympics Athletes classroom course.

New coaches have three years to complete the following courses for entry-level certification:

  • Coaching Special Olympics Athletes online course
  • Special Olympics General Orientation and Protective Behaviors Training
  • Sport-specific Skills course - Human Kinetics' online Coaching Youth Sport Series includes acceptable skills courses in the sports of basketball, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball that meet the standards and competencies for entry-level certification.
  • Program endorsement verifying experiences.

It is optional, but highly recommended, that a new coach be connected with and supported by a certified head coach or a mentor coach so that the new coach achieves a minimum of 10 hours of practical experience working with Special Olympics athletes.

2. The online course satisfies continuing education requirements for Special Olympics coaches. Coaches must continue their education by completing at least one course every three years. 

Special Olympics coaches who have completed their initial training and certification may also take Human Kinetics' online Coaching Youth Sport Series of courses to maintain certification in their respective sport(s).

To register for any of the courses, click on the corresponding course below.

Contact Information
Lynn Idaszak
Special Olympics North America
Phone: 910-233-3859
E-mail: LIdaszak@specialolympics.org


Online courses required or recommended by Special Olympics