FAQ's regarding Special Olympics Wisconsin Eligibility and Required Paperwork
1. How do I get involved in Special Olympics Wisconsin?
Contact Jenn O’Brien at Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters. She can answer your questions about Special Olympics Wisconsin, get you in contact with a local Agency and your local Regional office. Depending on where you live, there may be more than one local Agency you can participate with. Jenn can help you formulate questions to ask the local Agency Managers to ensure that you find the best fit for you and your family in Special Olympics.
2. How can I find out if I'm eligible for Special Olympics?
Read the Eligibility Requirements on our website.
3. What is a "intellectual delay"?
The American Psychiatric Association definition of mental retardation, as published in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM IV 1994) is used to define intellectual Delay:
Significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning (defined by an IQ level below 70)
Significant limitations in adaptive functioning in at least 2 of the following skill areas: communication, self-care, home living, social/interpersonal skills, use of community resources, self-direction, functional academic skills, work, leisure, health and safety.
4. What is "general learning"?
General learning refers to having the conceptual, practical and social intelligence that is required for successful academic learning and/or general life functioning.
5. What are "adaptive skills"?
Adaptive skills are those skills needed for successful performance in recreation, work, independent living, self direction or self care.
6. My son has Asperger's Syndrome - is he eligible to participate in Special Olympics?
Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome generally do not qualify for Special Olympics for two reasons:
There is no intellectual delay associated with Asperger's Syndrome
While individuals with Asperger's Syndrome may lack social and practical intelligence, they typically do not lack the conceptual intelligence associated with academic learning and general life functioning. In order to qualify for Special Olympics, an individual must have substantial deficits in conceptual, practical and social intelligence.
7. My daughter has Autism - is she eligible for Special Olympics?
She may qualify for Special Olympics if she meets the following criteria:
She has a intellectual delay in addition to her diagnosis of Autism or
She has substantial deficits in both general learning and adaptive skills in addition to her Autism. For more information on this, read the Eligibility Requirements on our website.
8. I suffered a brain injury as the result of a motor vehicle accident - am I eligible for Special Olympics?
If the brain injury occurred before the age of 18, you may qualify for Special Olympics if you now have a intellectual delay or substantial deficits in both general learning and adaptive skills as a result of your injury. If the brain injury occurred after the age of 18, then you are eligible for Special Olympics if you have substantial deficits in both general learning and adaptive skills as a result of your injury.
9. I have schizophrenia - am I eligible for Special Olympics?
While schizophrenia is a mental disability, it is typically not associated with a intellectual delay. If you have a intellectual delay in addition to schizophrenia, then you may qualify for Special Olympics - read the Eligibility Requirements to see if you qualify.
10. I am in a wheelchair - do I qualify for Special Olympics?
If you meet the Eligibility Requirements for Special Olympics then you qualify. These include having a intellectual delay or substantial deficits in both general learning and adaptive skills. Physical disabilities alone do not qualify an individual for Special Olympics.
11. My son has cerebral palsy - does he qualify for Special Olympics?
Cerebral palsy alone does not qualify him for Special Olympics - he must have a intellectual delay or substantial deficits in both general learning and adaptive skills in addition to his diagnosis of cerebral palsy in order to qualify. If you think he may qualify, read the Eligibility Requirements on our website.
12. My daughter has developmental delays and receives support in school - is she automatically eligible for Special Olympics?
School support alone does not qualify her for Special Olympics. She must have a diagnosed intellectual delay or substantial deficits in both general learning and adaptive skills. Read the Eligibility Requirements on our website to see if she qualifies.
13. I'm bipolar - do I qualify for Special Olympics?
Generally a diagnosis of bi-polar is not accompanied by a intellectual delay. However, if you have a intellectual delay in addition to being diagnosed as bi-polar, then you may qualify for Special Olympics - read the Eligibility Requirements on our website to determine your eligibility.
14. I don't qualify for Special Olympics - what other ways can I become involved?
Some of the ways to become involved are to become a donor, volunteer, coach, agency manager, or Unified Partner - please visit our website for more information. Also, children between the ages of 2 and 7 can become involved in the Young Athletes Program.
15. I qualify to be an athlete in Special Olympics Wisconsin…now what?
Once you have joined one of our agencies, you will need to complete two forms - the Application for Participation in Special Olympics form and the Official Special Olympics Release Form. These forms must be correctly completed and received by Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters before you begin training.
16. What is the Application for Participation in Special Olympics form?
This form is also referred to as an athlete's "medical". It provides for necessary medical information, health insurance information, secondary insurance coverage by Special Olympics, Inc., and parent/guardian and/or emergency contacts. The bottom of this form needs to be completed and signed by your healthcare provider.
17. My healthcare provider is a Doctor of Chiropractic Care - is his/her signature acceptable on my medical form?
No, Special Olympics only accepts signatures by a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Nurse Practitioner (N.P.), Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) or Physician Assistant (P.A.).
18. What is the Official Special Olympics Release Form?
This form provides for, among several things, a photo release, allows for emergency medical treatment to be administered in the event an athlete is injured and a parent/guardian cannot be reached, and allows an athlete to attend Healthy Athletes while at a State Tournament.
19. Who needs to sign the Official Special Olympics Release Form?
Adult athletes (age 18 and over) who are their own guardians must sign the top section of the form. A witness must also print their name and state their relationship to the athlete. Athletes who are minors, or adult athletes who are not their own guardians, must have their guardian sign the bottom portion of the form.
20. I am an adult but not my own guardian - can I sign the Official Special Olympics Release Form?
Yes, but you must also have your guardian sign the bottom of the Release Form.
21. Where can I obtain the Application for Participation in Special Olympics form and the Official Special Olympics Release Form?
You can obtain the forms from your agency manager, coach, or print the forms from our website.
22. I just moved to Wisconsin from a different state - can I have my previous Special Olympics program just mail my records to Special Olympics Wisconsin?
No - you must have the Special Olympics Wisconsin Application for Participation in Special Olympics form and Official Special Olympics Release Form completed. Forms from another state are not accepted.
23. Where do I need to send the Application for Participation and Release forms?
You can either give them to your coach, agency manager or mail them directly to Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters in Madison. Please check with your coach or agency manager before mailing them to Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters.
24. Can my doctor's office fax my medical to Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters?
No, to ensure privacy regarding athlete personal and health information, all forms must be mailed.
25. What is Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters's address?
Special Olympics Wisconsin, 2310 Crossroads Drive, Suite 1000, Madison, WI 53718.
26. I have Down Syndrome - are there any other forms I need to complete?
Down Syndrome athletes must have the Athlete with Down Syndrome Special Examination Form completed and processed by Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters in Madison if they wish to compete in any of the following sports: alpine skiing, diving, equestrian, football (soccer) skills or team, artistic gymnastics, judo, powerlifting, snowboarding, diving start, butterfly stroke, squat lift, high jump, and pentathlon.
27. I'm a new athlete - when do I have to have my paperwork in?
If you are a new athlete, your paperwork must be processed by Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters before you begin training. Also, if you wish to be eligible for a sport's District, Regional and State Tournament your paperwork must be postmarked and correctly completed by the medical deadline date for that sport.
28. What are the medical deadline dates for Special Olympics Wisconsin?
February 1 - Basketball Skills, Team Basketball and Gymnastics
April 1 - Aquatics, Powerlifting, Athletics (Track and Field), and Soccer
June 1 - Softball, Tee Ball, Golf, Unified Sports® Golf, Tennis and Bocce
October 1 - Bowling and Volleyball
December 1 - Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoeing and Snowboarding
29. Why does Special Olympics Wisconsin have deadline dates for their sports seasons?
It's necessary for Special Olympics Wisconsin to hold competitions to division athletes for the State tournaments. These competitions can begin as early as two months before the State tournaments. Medical deadlines are needed to determine which athletes will be eligible for these competitions and for the duration of the sports season.
30. How often do I have to have a new medical done?
Medicals expire three years from the date of one of the following:
The date it was signed by the healthcare provider.
The date of the last exam as written by the healthcare provider.
31. I don't know when my current medical expires - how can I find out?
You can ask your coach, your agency manager, or you can look it up on our website under Athlete Medical Expiration Lookup. Enter your last name and 8 digit date of birth (mm/dd/yyyy).
32. My current medical doesn't expire until May 25th and I compete in Aquatics. When do I have to have my new medical in to Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters?
Your new medical must be correctly completed and postmarked to Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters by April1.
33. My current medical expires August 1st and I'm on a Bocce team. I don't have an appointment with my doctor until July 15th. Will it be ok to send in my new medical after my doctor appointment?
No, your new medical must be correctly completed and postmarked to Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters by July1. If you cannot be seen by your healthcare provider by July 1, then ask him/her to fill in the Physical Examination section based on the date of your last exam.
34. My current medical expires November 10th and I compete in Bowling. When do I have to have my new medical in to Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters?
Your new medical must be correctly completed and postmarked to Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters by October 1.
35. My current medical expires January 1st and I want to compete in Alpine Skiing. Is it okay to wait until January 1st to turn a new medical in?
No, you must have a new medical correctly completed and postmarked to Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters by December 1.
36. My current medical is going to expire soon but my doctor doesn't have any appointments available - what should I do?
Ask your doctor to complete a new medical for you based on your last exam date.
37. I need a new medical but my insurance won't cover another physical yet - what do I do?
Ask your healthcare provider to complete a new medical for you based on your last exam date.
38. Are Social Security numbers required on the medical form?
No, social security numbers are not required on the medical form.
39. Do Release forms expire like medicals?
No, Release forms only need to be completed once unless the athlete's guardianship changes.
40. I sent in my new medical and want to know if it was received and processed - how can I find out?
You can ask your coach, your agency manager, or you can look it up on our website under Athlete Medical Expiration Lookup. This information is updated once daily.
41. I moved and want to stay involved in Special Olympics Wisconsin - what do I need to do?
You can contact your previous agency manager, your coach, or your Regional Director of Sports. They will be able to put you in touch with a new agency. You can also contact Samantha VeDepo at Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters in Madison.
42. I still have questions - who can I contact?
You can contact your Regional Director of Sports, agency manager, coach or Samantha VeDepo at Special Olympics Wisconsin Headquarters in Madison.
For more information, contact
Athlete Records Manager
Toll Free: (800) 552-1324
Direct Line: (608) 442-5677