Resources for Families

Resources for Families

Information & support for families of individuals with intellectual disabilities

A Special Olympics Massachusetts athlete and his family.After our athletes, families are the most important group to the mission of Special Olympics Massachusetts. Family members serve as coaches, Unified partners and volunteers at our events. They raise money through participation in fundraisers, advocate in schools and help start new local programs!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can family members coach?
Family members who are 16 years of age or older can volunteer as coaches. Special Olympics periodically provides training for coaches where they can learn techniques and skills for working with Special Olympics athletes. Remember, you won’t just be coaching your own athlete — you will be working with other athletes as well! Find more information on getting involved as a coach. 

How much does it cost to watch my athlete compete at local or state competitions?
All Special Olympics Massachusetts sports competitions are free! We welcome all spectators, so come and cheer for your athlete! See our calendar for a competition near you.

My athlete has a non-disabled sibling. Can they participate?
Non-disabled siblings cannot participate as a Special Olympics athlete, however along with volunteering and fundraising, they can participate in Special Olympics as a Unified Partner.

How can I find out what competitions are coming up in my area?
See our calendar to find out about competitions near you.

What about financial support?
Athletes are never charged to participate in any of our Special Olympics programs. This is why financial support from people and companies in our communities is so important. You can always donate directly to Special Olympics, and we also have a host of fun fundraising events in which the whole family can participate.

More Resources for Families

Massachusetts Network of Information Providers for People with Disabilities
The network provides information on advocacy, financial assistance and planning, health, employment, housing, and a variety of other useful information. Visit disabilityinfo.org for more information.

Exceptional Lives – How-to Guides to help exceptional family members thrive
Exceptional Lives Exceptional Lives provides free online guides to parents of children with developmental disabilities.
Exceptional Lives just released the newest versions of its free online guides for parents of children or adults with disabilities. Exceptional Lives Guides help parents navigate through difficult processes such as how to:

  • Access SSI and other government benefits
  • Find out if a child qualifies for special education
  • Create an effective IEP
  • Obtain guardianship or explore alternatives
  • Optimize their child’s health insurance

These Guides now have improved ease-of-use and new features that were driven by parent feedback – including new graphics and an interactive to-do checklist. We hope they make it even easier for parents to access services for their exceptional family member.

These individualized how-to guides give you relevant and actionable information tailored to your child’s needs, so you can help your child thrive.