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Research is a powerful tool that can share the impact of Special Olympics programming, encourage others to get engaged, secure partnerships, inform legislative bodies and create evidence-based programming.


Special Olympics research policy papers distill the organization's scientific findings into shorter overviews of topics of particular interest to the movement. Designed for readers without scientific backgrounds, these papers often draw from multiple sources to explore a issue, rather than just summarize one research study.
Bibliography Background


The Research Bibliography lists citations for all research papers commissioned by Special Olympics and other papers related to intellectual disability.


From the lack of quality health care to the negative misperceptions of people with intellectual disabilities by the public, Special Olympics research examines the numerous disparities confronting people with intellectual disabilities. By better understanding these needs, Special Olympics can determine the best ways to address them.

National Snapshot of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in the Labor Force

A new survey shows that unemployment among people with intellectual disabilities is more than twice as high as for the general population.

Status and Prospects: An International Review of the State of Intellectual Disability Surveillance

This research confirmed the widely acknowledged position that people with intellectual disabilities are excluded from many aspects of society.

Multinational Study of Attitudes toward Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

For decades, many have believed that the doors to inclusion in mainstream society have been shut tight because of misconceptions, ignorance and fear.

The Health Status and Needs of Individuals with Mental Retardation

SOI commissioned this report to examine the health needs of children and adults with MR.

Closing the Gap: A National Blueprint to Improve the Health of Persons with Mental Retardation*

Especially as adolescents and adults, people with MR and their families face evergrowing challenges in finding and financing primary and specialty health care.

Promoting Health for Persons with Mental Retardation*—A Critical Journey Barely Begun

This report suggest approaches that could be implemented to improve both the length and quality of their lives over the coming decade.


Special Olympics has established through large-scale objective studies that it is having a large and positive impact on the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, their families, and communities and society at large. Special Olympics has never been more relevant to families and society because it promotes attitude changes and encourages enlightenment as the standard in society instead of the exception.


In addition to examining the status of people with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics research also looks closely at its own initiatives in order to gauge their success and improve them.

Translating the Global Special Olympics Movement Into Local Community Change

The study looks at four developing counties in four different continents.

Evaluation of the Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia Unified Football Pilot-Project

The SOGII/Unified Football pilot project brought together athletes and partners to train and compete as equals on the football field.

Evaluation of Camp Shriver in Six U.S. Sites

Camp Shriver programming is designed to provide a normative, fun, camp-like experience for young people with intellectual disabilities.

Evaluation of Young Athletes Program

The program was created to promote motor, social, and cognitive development in children through physical activity and play.

Scientific Advisory Board Members

Brian Abery

University of Minnesota

Alexandra Bonardi

Health Services Research Institute

John Foley

SUNY Cortland

Ben Haack

SOI Board of Directors

Susan Havercamp

Ohio State University

Scott Landes

Syracuse University

Meghann Lloyd

Ontario Tech University

Roy McConkey

University of Ulster

Eric Rubenstein

Boston University

Heidi Stanish

University of Massachusetts, Boston

Athlete Advisory Board Members

Elizabeth Campbell

Special Olympics Texas

Amanda Koch

Special Olympics Missouri

Allen Tobin

Special Olympics Missouri

Kimberly Schickley

Special Olympics, Pennsylvania

Tim Taggart

Special Olympics Texas

Kelly Unangst

Special Olympics, Pennsylvania