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Unified Champion Schools


About Unified Champion Schools (UCS)

Unified Champion Schools

The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools ® is a program that is aimed at promoting social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting universal change. With sports as the foundation, the three-component model offers a unique combination of effective inclusive sports, youth leadership opportunities with tools and trainings, and whole school engagement to create climates of acceptance. Students with intellectual disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in all activities, opportunities and functions.


Socially inclusive school environment

95% of Unified Champion Schools (UCS) liaisons felt that the UCS program has created a socially inclusive school environment.


Strong Relationships

65% of high school students stated that the strong relationships they developed with their peers with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities were one of the best outcomes of participating in UCS program


Reduced Bullying

90% of liaisons indicated that the Unified Champions Schools program reduced bullying, teasing and use of offensive language in schools


Increased friendship

More students who participated in the UCS program believed they had a friend at school to help them through a hard time (78%) compared to students not in the UCS program


Increase working together

Students who participated in the UCS program feel more supported by their teachers and peers, have a higher level of grit, receive better grades and are more empathetic and compassionate


Increased participation

95% of liaisons reported increased participation of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in school activities, leading to more inclusive attitudes school-wide

Principle of Meaningful Involvement

All UCS programs need to emphasize the principle of meaningful involvement which ensures every member is presented with opportunities to participate and contribute to their team’s performance. It is important that all coaches and program leaders understand the Principle of Meaningful Involvement prior to the selection of team members by ensuring that all participants:

  • Contribute according to the rules of competition or program
  • Have the ability and opportunity to contribute to the performance of the team
  • Work together to support each other, resulting in improved performance by team members with lesser ability

For more information about Unified Champion Schools and other Special Olympics UAE initiatives, please contact

Unified Sports

Unified sports combines students with and without intellectual disabilities in teams and encourages them to participate in inclusive sports training and competition.

Inclusive Youth Leadership

Inclusive Youth Leadership is an all-embracing leadership club for every student. Students gather to create social opportunities and lead their schools in the advancement of inclusion.

Whole School Engagement

Whole School Engagement includes bullying prevention and inclusion promotion initiatives that reach entire school populations through engaging, inspiring, and optimistic events.