Displaying items by tag: Health and Wellness

May 16, 2024

Young Athletes Clubs

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What is Young Athletes?

Young Athletes is a play-based skills development program for children 2-7 years old. This 8-week program focuses on building developmentally appropriate sports and motor skills through exciting games and activities accompanied by song. Each week focuses on one of the following skill categories:

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

Who can participate in Young Athletes?

Young Athletes is a unified program, meaning children with and without intellectual and/or developmental disability participate alongside each other to build friendship through play. Siblings of participants with intellectual and/or developmental disability, as well as parents, are encouraged to join the group. All children participating must be 2-7 years old.

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Young Athletes in the Community

Young Athletes clubs may be held indoors or outdoors, depending on the season. These groups meet together at regularly scheduled times over the course of the 8-week program. Each lesson is guided by a trained volunteer leader. We encourage our leaders to be creative when planning their activities so each club will look a little different based on the needs and interests of the children participating. As always, there is no cost to participate in Young Athletes, regardless of where the club might be held.

Young Athletes at Home

There may not always be a group meeting near you, but that doesn’t mean your child can’t participate in Young Athletes activities. Special Olympics International has created an excellent home-based Young Athletes program that may be fun for your family to participate in together. You can find all the resources for participating at home here.

This resource page provides follow-along videos with Young Athletes coaches around the world, a guide for caregivers, activity ideas for at-home play, and illustrated exercise flashcards. You can always use these resources completely for free. Please register all children participating, and we will ship your free Young Athletes t-shirts directly to you!

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How can I start a Young Athletes club?

If you’d like to start Young Athletes in your community, please reach out to our Health Program Manager at or (801) 363-1111 ext 106. To start a new Young Athletes group, we’ll need the following information:

  • Name and contact information for a volunteer club leader willing to commit to meeting at least once a week for entire 8-week program.
  • Location of club (we can help you secure a location if needed).

We will provide you any necessary leader training and all materials free of charge. Young Athletes equipment kits, containing plastic junior tennis racquets, softballs, juggling scarves, colored rubber spots, colored plastic cones, and more, will be sent directly to the leader. All participants will need to be registered in the Young Athletes program to receive shirts for your group. Remember, Young Athletes is free for all participants. As a group leader, running the club is not your financial responsibility. Please work closely with our Health Program Team to ensure that all participants have an excellent experience free of charge.

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May 14, 2024

Health Screenings

What are Healthy Athletes health screenings?

Healthy Athletes is a free health screening and education program for all people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities provided by Special Olympics and volunteer medical professionals for over 20 years. These health screenings help to:

  • Identify urgent medical needs, provide medical referrals and provide care coordination for those with referrals.
  • Provide early detection of chronic health issues and provide medical or behavior change program referrals when appropriate.
  • Provide free prescription glasses, sports goggles, hearing aids and repair, and corrective medical equipment when needed.
  • Provide in-person and classroom training for healthcare professionals and students on working with patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
  • Collect health data for the largest database on the health needs of people with intellectual and/or developmental disability in the world.
  • Guide future health and fitness program development and health policy changes.

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Who can participate in free health screenings?

Any person age 8 or older with diagnosed intellectual and/or developmental disabilities can participate in any Healthy Athletes screening. You do not have to compete as a Special Olympics athlete to qualify. These screenings may take place at community centers, public schools, medical/healthcare professional schools, or Special Olympics sports events. You will never be charged or billed to be seen during a screening event.

What types of screenings are offered?

Special Olympics Utah currently offers health screenings and education in 6 different disciplines. A health screening event may include one, several, or all of the following disciplines:

  • MedFest (General Medical): Provides a physical examination including medical history, height and weight, blood pressure check, cardiology test, orthopedic tests, and an abdominal exam. Sports physicals for those participating in Special Olympics teams are also provided when needed.
  • Special Smiles (Dental): Provides a visual dental and oral health exam, fluoride varnish treatment and oral health education.
  • Opening Eyes (Vision): Provides a vision and eye health exam, as well as free prescription glasses and/or sports goggles for those needing them. Participants who do not receive prescription eyewear receive a free pair of sunglasses.
  • Healthy Hearing (Audiology): Provides a hearing and ear health screening, as well as free hearing aids and hearing aid repair for those needing them.
  • Fit Feet (Podiatry): Provides an evaluation of foot, ankle, and lower leg biomechanics, as well as free proper socks, shoes, and/or orthotics when available.
  • FUNfitness (Physical Therapy): Provides physical examination to test flexibility, functional strength, balance, and aerobic fitness. Exercise routines are sometimes given to help improve one or more areas tested.

If you are interested in attending a health screening event or have questions about the specifics of these health screenings, please contact us at or (801) 363-1111 ext 106.

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Volunteer for Healthy Athletes

If you are a licensed medical professional or a health professional student who would like to volunteer at our health screening events, please contact our Health Program Manager at to learn more about the program and be connected with the appropriate Clinical Director.

Future Health Screening Development

Special Olympics Utah is in the process of adding three new health disciplines to our screenings, including:

  • Strong Minds (Emotional Health)
  • Health Promotion (Preventive Health and Education)
  • Healthy Young Athletes (Pediatric General Medical)

We encourage any licensed medical professionals in these fields who are interested in volunteering as a Clinical Director to contact our Health Program Manager at or (801) 363-1111 ext 106.

 

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April 19, 2023

Unified Fitness Clubs

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What are Unified Fitness Clubs?

Unified Fitness clubs are a fun, free exercise class for people with and without intellectual and/or developmental disabilities! At each session, participants will participate in exercises, activities and games that focus on:

  • Flexibility
  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Balance

Unified Fitness Clubs provide an opportunity to exercise, make new friends, and socialize with others! Club leaders are encouraged to be creative and find exciting ways to provide fitness training. At one club, this might look like a dance workout. At other clubs, it could be weightlifting. For others, it might be walking or running at a local park. However you like to move, there’s a Unified Fitness Club for you!

In addition to a great workout, Unified Fitness Clubs also offer health education through group discussions. Your club leader may discuss topics like nutrition, hydration, mental health, or other wellness principles with the group to set a club goal for everyone to work towards.

Participants can also earn fun prizes as they continue to show up, work towards their health goals, and participate in club challenges! Prizes may include stickers, water bottles, t-shirts, and exercise equipment like pedometers, balls, bands, or weights. We also provide healthy snacks at every club meeting for all participants to enjoy.

Who can participate in Unified Fitness Clubs?

Unified Fitness Clubs are non-competitive groups of participants with and without intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. That means anyone can join! We encourage family and friends to join in the fun to promote an inclusive environment. Some clubs are age dependent, so check the club descriptions closely.

IMG 0714Where can I join a Unified Fitness Club?

We have Unified Fitness Clubs all over the state! These clubs take place at schools, rec centers, community centers and parks. Check our calendar for the most current list of locations and times. We are always looking to start new clubs, so if you don’t see a location near you, please let us know. We will provide all the resources you need to start a new club.

How can I start a Unified Fitness Club?

If you’d like to start a Unified Fitness Club in your community, please reach out to our Health Program Manager at or (801) 363-1111 ext 106. To start a new Unified Fitness Club, we’ll need the following information:

  • Name and contact information for a volunteer club leader willing to commit to meeting at least once a week for at least 8 weeks.
  • Location of club (we can help you secure a location if needed).

We will provide any necessary club leader training and all materials to you free of charge. Remember, Unified Fitness Clubs are free for all participants. Running the club is not your financial responsibility as a club leader. Please work closely with our Health Program Team to ensure that all participants have an excellent experience free of charge.

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