Need to get in Touch?
Call01752408271 Email

DonateJoin Us

- Club & Session Details

- Code of Conduct

- Eligibility

- Our Stories

- Competitions

- Social



SOPD Information Stand

Am I Eligible?

A person is eligible to become a Special Olympics athlete provided that he/she is eight years of age and older* and has been identified as having an intellectual (learning) disability.

What is an Intellectual (Learning) Disability?

An intellectual (learning) disability is defined as ‘a condition of arrested or incomplete development of mind, which is characterized by impairment of skills manifested during the developmental period, which contribute to the overall level of intelligence.

In other words...

‘A significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information, to learn new skills (impaired intelligence) with a reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning) which started before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development’ - Source: Department of Health (2001) Valuing People.

In the UK a person is deemed to have an intellectual (learning) disability if they have an IQ lower than 75.

IQ tests are acknowledged to be limited. In addition the individual is usually expected to have significant difficulties with self-care, adaptive behaviour and self organisational skills.

This definition covers adults with autism who also have learning disabilities, but not those with a higher level of autistic spectrum disorder who may be of average, or above average intelligence, such as people with Asperger’s Syndrome.

People who do not have an Intellectual (learning) disability

People with conditions such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Attention Deficit Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome or challenging behaviour or similarly people with a physical or sensory impairment may not qualify for Special Olympics unless they ALSO have an intellectual (learning) disability.

Eligibility Officer

If you are unsure whether you are eligible to join Special Olympics then contact us and we can arrange for you to discuss with our Eligibility Officer who can help to establish your eligibility. However don’t forget even if you are not eligible you may want to consider volunteering with us.


*For anybody aged 8 to 15 please see an alternative club on the YMCA web site

NOTE: For more detailed information about eligibility please see the Special Olympics Great Britain web site