If an individual is two years of age or older and is identified by an agency or professional as having an intellectual disability, then that person is eligible to participate as an athlete in Special Olympics.


If the person is identified as having closely related developmental disabilities with functional limitations in both general and learning adaptive skills, then that person is eligible to participate in Special Olympics. However, if the functional limitations are only due to physical disabilities, emotional disturbance, behaviour disorders, specific learning disabilities, visual impairment or sensory disabilities, then the person is not eligible for Special Olympics


Age Criteria

The traditional minimum age for athletes to participate in Special Olympics is eight. There are, however, further considerations for involvement with respect to age.


Youth Programs

  • Special Olympics Ontario offers youth-specific programming, with two age groups targeted: Active Start for two to six year-olds, and FUNdamentals for seven to twelve year-olds. Please visit the Sport & Program section of this library for further information regarding these programs.


Participation in Major Games

  • As per sport policy 7000-305, the athlete must be 10 years of age or older as of the first day of competition to participate in Provincial Games
  • As per sport policy 7000-401, athletes must be 13 years of age or older for the first day of National Games to participate in National Games.