Persons are eligible for Special Olympics provided they are:
PERSONS AGE SIX AND ABOVE WHO ARE CONSIDERED TO HAVE A INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY [MENTAL RETARDATION]* AS DETERMINED BY THEIR LOCALITIES.
PERSONS WHO HAVE CLOSELY RELATED DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES** SUCH AS THOSE WHO HAVE FUNCTIONAL LIMITATIONS, BOTH IN GENERAL LEARNING AND IN ADAPTIVE SKILLS SUCH AS RECREATION, WORK, INDEPENDENT LIVING, SELF-DIRECTION, OR SELF-CARE.
NOTE: PEOPLE WITH FUNCTIONAL LIMITATIONS BASED SOLELY ON A PHYSICAL, BEHAVIORAL, EMOTIONAL, SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITY OR SENSORY DISABILITY ARE NOT ELIGIBLE.
* Any person six (6) years of age or older (eight (8) years of age for competition) who is identified as having an intellectual disability by an agency or a professional in any given local area is considered eligible for Special Olympics. Other terms that may used synonymously with intellectual disabilities include: cognitive disabilities, mental handicaps, or mental retardation.
**When the term “intellectually disabled” or other similar descriptor is not used to identify the person in a local area, eligibility should be determined by whether or not the individual has functional limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills. “Developmental disability” is the term most often used to describe persons with both limitations. Other terms that may be used synonymously with developmental disability are developmental handicap, developmentally delayed, or severe disabilities.
If the person is identified as having a developmental disability with functional limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills, it must still be determined by an agency or a professional whether or not the functional limitations are solely due to a intellectual disability or a closely related developmental disability . If the functional limitations are solely due to: physical disabilities, emotional disturbance, behavior disorders, specific learning disabilities, visual impairments, or sensory disabilities, this person is not eligible for Special Olympics.