Special Olympics, with over 2.25 million athletes in 164 countries worldwide, provides a window into the health and well-being of persons with intellectual disability worldwide. Special Olympics athletes represent tremendous diversity in terms of geography, race, socioeconomic level, gender, and ability level, as well as in disability type and etiology of disability. Special Olympics research projects are designed to take maximal advantage of that diversity. Five years ago, Special Olympics University (SOU) had many questions about the health and well being of people with ID, but had few answers. Under the current Cooperative Agreement between Special Olympics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SOU has engaged in a series of research projects to address these questions. The findings from these studies have created a foundation of knowledge that is continually drawn from and built upon as new questions are posed. The current proposal reflects an intentional scaffolding of new projects on top of the knowledge base created during the past 5 years. SOU proposes to build upon this rich foundation of knowledge by designing studies that look more deeply at issues affecting attitudes, health, the status of persons with intellectual disabilities, and the impact of SO programming. Further, SOU proposes an investment in the strengthening of research capacity throughout the organization, extending into regions and countries where there is currently little or no research capacity in the field of intellectual disability. SOU also proposes to collaborate with other institutions to strengthen SOU s own data gathering, management, and sharing abilities. Specifically, SOU is targeting the following areas: Deepened and broadened impact assessments of SO programming on the health and well-being of athletes, families, and communities; Research studies that extend and enhance the health programming at SO; Global expansion of SOU's research capacity; Targeted research on attitudes;and Continued systems and policy level research.
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