High Resolution Photos
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Photography release statement: No athlete may compete in any Special Olympics event without having a signed parent/guardian release statement on file with Special Olympics. The statement grants permission for Special Olympics and the media to use the athlete’s name, likeness, voice and words in television, radio, films, newspapers, magazines, and other media for the purpose of promoting and publicizing Special Olympics, educating the public about Special Olympics and raising funds for Special Olympics.
Guidelines for reporting about SOKS
Although society has made great strides, there still are many myths and misconceptions about intellectual disabilities. As a media professional, you are in a unique position to shape public knowledge. We need your help! The guidelines presented here offer suggestions for appropriate descriptions and preferred terminology when reporting about Special Olympics.
Special Olympics is for people with intellectual disabilities: Some Special Olympics athletes also may have physical handicaps, but the criterion for participation is intellectual disabilities. We prefer ‘people first’ language. Therefore, instead of saying “Special Olympics is for mentally and physically handicapped persons” we say “Special Olympics is for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.”
Emphasize the person and not the disability: Please say “persons with intellectual disabilities”, rather than “intellectually disabled people”.
Special Olympics athletes are children and adults: Please do not refer to Special Olympics athletes as “kids”. This perpetuates the myth that all persons with intellectual disabilities are child-like. The average age of Special Olympics Kansas’ athletes is 27. Special Olympics is for children and adults.
Special Olympics Kansas is a year-round program, not an annual event: We offer more than 175 local competitions and seven State-level competitions each year. Please refer to a specific event as “the Special Olympics Kansas State Summer Games”. When referring to the overall program, say “Special Olympics Kansas”.
Special Olympics athletes are quite capable and participate in “real” sports competition: Many Special Olympics Kansas tournaments and competitions include recreational events, which are not official competition. These are offered to athletes to utilize their time when they are not busy competing.
Special Olympics athletes, not “Special Olympians”: We prefer that you use the term “Special Olympics athletes.” This terminology has changed to follow the Olympics.
Emphasize the challenges each and every Special Olympics athlete meets: There is no need to pity Special Olympics athletes. They are quite capable and Special Olympics is a vehicle for helping them discover their potential.