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YOUNG ATHLETES is an innovative sports play program for children with intellectual disabilities, ages 3-7, designed to introduce them to the world of sports, prior to Special Olympics eligibility at age 8.  The program focuses on the development of fundamental physical skills and the application of those skills through general fitness and recreational activities. 

Created in consultation with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, the activities foster cognitive and social development, muscular strength, hand-eye coordination and balance.  The Special Olympics Kansas (SOKS) program offers two levels of participation.  The level one "Motor Skills" clinics focus on the development of motor skills and hand-eye coordination for participants, ages 3-7, while the level two "Little Feet" clinics teach children, ages 5-7, how to apply those physical skills through participation in soccer, track and field, and group exercises and activities.


Spring 2012 Clinics:

Young Athletes Motor Skills (Ages 3-7)

Olathe ( Jan 17, Feb 21, Mar 20 & Apr 10); Wichita Feb 12; Overland Park (Feb 28 & Apr 23); Garden City (Apr 10);

Little Feet (Ages 5-7) - Olathe (Apr7, 14, & 21)

The program is offered in one hour sessions and parents and younger siblings are encouraged to participate. The activities are designed to be used by parents in the home or in a preschool/school environment, with a playgroup or in a one-on-one situation. Young, intellectually disabled children who participate in the Motor Skills clinics are provided with an activity kit, along with user friendly instructions, to take home and continue working on their skills with their families. 

The clinic activities consist of:

    • Foundational Skills                   
    • Walking & Running
    • Balance & Jumping
    • Trapping & Catching            
    • Throwing
    • Striking
    • Kicking
    • Advanced Skills

Full details of the activities are available in the Young Athlete™ Activity Guide.

Special Olympics Kansas is excited about this new program that builds confidence and brings families together while introducing them to the world of Special Olympics by achieving the following objectives:

  • Raising awareness about the abilities of children with intellectual disabilities through inclusive peer participation, demonstrations and group activities;
  • Providing children with intellectual disabilities developmentally appropriate play activities designed to foster physical, cognitive, and social development;
  • Promoting social development through group activities;
  • Developing muscular strength and endurance through repetitions, hand-eye coordination, and balance;
  • Providing an experience that will lead to an appreciation of fitness, and sport for the whole family; and
  • Welcoming family members of children with intellectual disabilities to the Special Olympics network of support.

In 2009 the program was piloted in the Metro area and in 2010 the program was expanded to include clinics in Bel Aire, Emporia, Garden City, Hays, Lawrence, Manhattan, Topeka and Wichita. 

We are currently looking for potential families to be involved, volunteers willing to be trained to facilitate clinics in their region, and sites to host the Young Athletes™

Programs. Contact Terri Price, pricet@ksso.org or 913.236.9290 x106 for more information.

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