Research & Publications

Special Olympics Global Youth & Education
Global Center for Inclusion in Education Research Brief

Sport as a Bridge and Connector Among Youth

By Jacqueline Jodl, PhD & Louis Lauria | Published 27 September, 2021

In this brief, we consider the evidence base that supports the potential of sport as an agent of change to create schools and communities of inclusion. Throughout history, sport has served as a bridge and connector across social, political, and cultural barriers. Sport teaches lessons in resolving conflict with grace, assuming the perspective of an opponent, appreciating diversity, and placing the good of the team above individual self-interest. Learning how to play together helps to develop and shape inclusive minds and hearts—minds and hearts that choose to include and embrace despite differences. When these inclusive mindsets take root in a school or community, sport can become a transformative instrument for social inclusion and change, especially for those with intellectual differences.

Play Unified: Learn Unified Impact Stories

Faces of Inclusion

Special Olympics Global Youth & Education | Published June 2021

The Faces of Inclusion stories highlight the impact of Play Unified: Learn Unified through the lens of our key communities—the students, coaches, teachers, parents, and organizational partners. These stories put faces on the many lives and communities forever changed through the transformative power of Play Unified: Learn Unified. By joining forces, SNF and Special Olympics have enabled their efforts and impact to spill far beyond the schoolhouse doors, fostering communities and cultures where intellectual differences are accepted and embraced. 


The pages of Faces of Inclusion will introduce you to just a handful of the thousands of individuals whose day-in and day-out commitment have taken Play Unified: Learn Unified from vision to reality. These are the individuals who are driving inclusion forward in their own schools and communities. These are the individuals whose lives have changed because of Play Unified: Learn Unified