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Fact Sheet

Working across sectors to increase opportunities for children living with intellectual disabilities to participate in physical activity

The Government of Canada is committed to promoting healthy living and healthy weights, and preventing chronic disease for all Canadians.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has partnered with Special Olympics Canada, the Samuel Family Foundation and the RBC Foundation to increase opportunities for children living with intellectual disabilities to participate in physical activity.

With $468,416 in funding from the Government of Canada, as well as funding from the RBC Foundation and the Samuel Family Foundation, Special Olympics Canada is expanding their “Active Start” and “FUNdamentals” programsExternal site. These programs provide children with an intellectual disability the opportunity to improve physical, social and cognitive abilities, thereby establishing a foundation for being physically active and healthy. These skills provide support for everyday activities as well as a base for Special Olympics sports training and competition as athletes grow older.

Active Start (for children aged two to six)
This program provides early instruction in basic motor skills and gives the opportunity to experience ‘play,’ with the goal of improving physical, social and cognitive abilities. Active Start provides lessons for young athletes to learn about running, kicking, throwing, and jumping and builds on the experiences from the gym. Caregivers will be provided educational information and resources that allow them to offer similar opportunities in the home environment.

FUNdamentals (for children aged seven to 12)
This program focuses on developing basic sport skills while creating a level of enjoyment for physical activity in young athletes. The goal is to encourage young athletes to live a healthy active life through sport. FUNdamentals uses activity sessions that look at specific sport skills such as transportation skills, kicking, throwing and catching that can be transferred into a number of various sports and can be used in everyday tasks.

Government of Canada action on healthy living and physical activity
The Government of Canada is committed to working with the provinces and territories, and the not-for-profit and private sectors, to promote healthy living, reduce the risk of obesity and help young Canadians have the healthiest start in life. This ‘whole of society’ approach brings together partners from all sectors in order to create the necessary conditions that support young Canadians to lead a more active lifestyle.

The Government helps Canadians make healthier choices through various initiatives and actions, such as: