Community organizations can enhance the intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) service system’s ability to improve the health, wellness, and participation of people with I/DD. This study added an item about Special Olympics (SO) participation to the 2019-2020 National Core Indicators In-Person Survey to predict active SO participation and to determine whether personal outcomes differed for SO participants. Results of a multinomial logistic regression showed that people who were younger or who did not require mobility aids were more likely to participate in SO. Compared with people who never or formerly participated in SO, current SO athletes had better personal outcomes. Results provide evidence that alignment between service agencies and community organizations may benefit personal outcomes for people with I/DD.

Plain Language Summary

Community organizations and disability service providers can help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) live good lives. In this study, researchers added a question about being a Special Olympics athlete into a survey given to many people with I/DD. They wanted to know why people participate in Special Olympics. They also wanted to know if Special Olympics athletes had better outcomes than others. There were two main findings. First, Special Olympics athletes were often younger than others and they typically moved around without aid. Second, Special Olympics athletes often got more exercise than others. They also had more paid community jobs. People with disabilities can benefit when community organizations and providers work together.

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