Special Olympics Arkansas, a program recognized with top distinction for their Healthy Communities programming, awarded Abilities Unlimited with the 2018 Healthy Workplace certification December 7th during a Health Heroes awards banquet held at Next Level Events in Little Rock Arkansas. This award is a piece of the Healthy Community distinction that denotes a year-round focus on advancing the health of people with intellectual disabilities.

Now in its 6th year, the Special Olympics Healthy Communities initiative continues to improve health and wellness for people with intellectual disabilities around the world. Since 2012, Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation, have committed $37 million to Special Olympics global health programming. The goal is to increase access to health, fitness and wellness programs for people with intellectual disabilities — no matter where they live. So far, the Healthy Communities initiative has been activated in 53 countries and 22 states in the United States, and has made significant advancements in increasing access to inclusive health, fitness and wellness programs for people with intellectual disabilities in the communities in which they live.

“Abilities Unlimited has made great strides to include fitness and health into their daily activities. We were extremely proud of their hard work and the innovative ideas that they implemented this year. They truly created awareness around living healthier lives for their clients. In addition to this they have empowered people with intellectual disabilities to step up and lead the charge to live healthy and advocate for their own health. It was an honor to recognize them for the 2018 Healthy Workplace certification," said Camie Powell, Director of Marketing and Corporate Relations for Special Olympics Arkansas.

The vision of Special Olympics for its health program, made possible by the Golisano Foundation, is to create a world where people with intellectual disabilities have the same opportunities and access to health care as people without intellectual disabilities.

The experience of Special Olympics in identifying and addressing the unmet health needs of people with intellectual disabilities has revealed the myriad of complex barriers to health faced by this population. Barriers to this vision include lack of access to quality health care, education, and resources.