Can autistic people compete in sports, Special Olympics or Paralympics?

Autism spectrum and the Special Olympics

What are the Special Olympics?

The Special Olympics is a program of sports training and competitions that take place year around. In total, there are local, regional, state-level, national, and international events. Every other year the Special Olympics host their World Games; bouncing between winter and summer competitions. Special Olympic Games are consistent with the traditional Olympics, and maintain most of the same customs.

Can autistic people compete in the Special Olympics?

The Special Olympics caters to all intellectually disabled people 8 years and older. Qualified disabilities are those that fall within mental and intellectual disorders. Eligible participants will be athletes that have been clinically or professionally diagnosed with some form of intellectual or cognitive hindrance. According to the AAIDD, an intellectual disability is based on an IQ of 70-75, significant limitations in adaptive skill levels, and the appearance of the condition before the age of 18.

When it comes to autism, the intellectual ability of the individual varies. There are many levels and symptoms on the autism spectrum. Because of this, there will be some autistic people that are qualified for The Special Olympics and some that will not make it in. The registrations of the Olympics rely significantly on the reports of the athlete’s doctors, teachers, and counselors.

What are the Paralympic Games?

The Paralympics is a multi-sport event that is held at international levels, and is run by the International Paralympic Committee. The name “Paralympics” derives from the Greek word “beside”, because they are held alongside the Olympic Games, The Special Olympic World Games, and the Deaflympics. The Paralympics attend to individuals with both physical and intellectual disabilities, and has quickly become one of the largest international sporting events. Eligible disabilities are based on an incredibly wide range of issues and disorders; including mobility disorders, blindness, cerebral palsy, and paraplegics. The Paralympics take place in both the winter and the summer, and follow immediately after the Olympic Games.

Can autistic people participate in the Paralympics?

The Paralympics separate their games into different categories in order to satisfy the various disabilities with which the competition accepts. These various disabilities are spread out into six areas; amputee, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, wheelchair, visually impaired, and Les Autres which literally means “the others.” In applying such a broad category they have ensured that most any disabled individual will qualify somewhere within the Paralympic Games.

Autism is generally a very intellectually hindering disorder, placing it among the Paralympics’ eligible disabilities. With that being said, autism is a disorder that has a wide range of issues and effects. There are several different levels on the autism spectrum, making it impossible to group all autistic individuals as eligible for the intellectual qualification. The IPC will review the athlete’s medical and schooling reports to determine whether the disorder effects them in a manner that makes them a candidate for the competition.

More Questions:

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4). Can autistic people go to college?

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