All children have a right to have fun by playing sports and enjoying teamwork. Games are not a reserve for the non-disabled. There are many programs for those living with disabilities. Below are some of the sports programs for special needs children.

Special Programs

These exceptional program developers provide a structure that incorporates various athletic activities for a child to choose one or several.

Special Olympics: Special Olympics are a highly recognized worldwide organization. Special Olympics grant Individuals with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to participate in more than Olympic-style sports. The sports include individual and team sports.

Paralympics: Paralympics is a competition with 28 different sports activities. It is for athletes living with physical disabilities. Paralympics includes individual sports like archery and wheelchair basketball.

Unified Sports: Unified Sports runs a program bringing together athletes with and without disabilities. It is a part of the Special Olympics. The programs include the Rivalry series, where famous college sports rivals compete with teams, including local Special Olympics athletes and university students.


Two associations organize hockey games for people with disabilities.

Special Hockey International: A program focusing on children with developmental disabilities who form a team by ability (disability) and not age. The teams play to develop skills without league standings or championships. However, they have an annual SHI tournament for camaraderie and fun. A dozen of clubs in North American and Europe participate in SHI tournaments.

American Special Hockey Association: This program provides persons with developmental and physical disabilities a chance to play ice hockey in a special environment designed to suit their abilities.


Two leagues organize sports programs for special needs children to play baseball in a non-competitive but supportive environment.

Miracle League: A league founded in 1998 that focuses on ensuring the playing surface is free of hazards for players on walkers or wheelchairs. Every player gets an opportunity to score a run each inning for everyone to be a winner.

Little League Challenger Division: This division sets up teams according to abilities but not age and discourages scorekeeping. The game formats include tee-ball, player, and coach pitch games. Players can wear uniforms to those of Little League players.


Children with mental and physical abilities can meet on a soccer field in programs organized by the two associations.

AYSO VIP Program: Every participant gets a chance to play in this Very Important Player (VIP) program. Buddies assist players according to their needs.

US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer: This program h assists communities to establish programs that place young athletes with disabilities in teams.

Mental and physical challenges do not prevent kids from participating in sports. The information above reveals there is a variety of sports programs for special needs children.