Special Olympics Unified Sports,® part of our Unified Champion Schools program, joins people with and without intellectual disabilities together to compete as teammates. It was inspired by a simple principle—Training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and inclusion.

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A UNIFIED SPORT ATHLETE is an individual with intellectual disabilities receiving Special Education services, verified by the site administrator, but also a student who previously, based on their special needs, has not had competitive opportunities to participate in a selected sport. A Unified Sports Athlete works with a Unified Partner to learn the skills of the selected sport. The emphasis is the providing of opportunities, not ultimately how well the unified participants fair in league or section competition.

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A UNIFIED PEER PARTNER is a general education student attending the same school as a Unified Sport Athlete, not receiving Special Education services. Peer partners are dedicated to the teaching the skills of the sport as well as committed to the social interaction with the special needs student. It is expected that Unified Athletes and Peer Partners practice and compete together consistently throughout the entire regular and post-season.

Types of Unified Sports




Recreation - Unified Partners participate as both teammate and coach to the Unified Athletes. The season of sport is based on learning the fundamental skills of the sport and enjoying friendly games against other teams.


Player Development - Unified Partners participate more exclusively as teammates with Unified Athletes. The season is based on Athletes and Partners both developing their more advanced skills in the chosen sport, and competitions against other teams having less rules modifications than the Recreation Level.


Competitive - Unified Partners and Athletes are equal in their skills in the chosen sport. The team practices through the season similar to a JV or Varsity team. Competitions against other teams have few, if any, rules modifications.

Levels of Unified






Contact Us

If you are interested in our Unified Sports component of the Unified Champion Schools program at your school, please contact Cameron Ahmadian at camerona@sonc.org.