SOA Learn

As society in Australia becomes more inclusive, so will our schools, workplaces and sporting clubs. 

Special Olympics Australia has developed an online learning hub that will help you grow and enhance your skills and ability to interact with people with intellectual disabilities and autism, and provide them with greater sporting opportunities. 

SOA Learn provides a platform designed to help teachers, mentors and coaches improve the delivery of sport and physical activity for people with an intellectual disability and autism.

Gallagher are a partner of Special Olympics Australia and our official sponsor of Special Olympics Sport and Coaching program. Gallagher support our movement’s mission to deliver the highest quality coaching and sport experience to more than 7,500 athletes in Australia, and millions around the world. Learn more about the Gallagher and Special Olympics partnership.


Autism Inclusion in Sport, Recreation and Physical Education: Live Webinar Series
Join us for a free webinar series and learn practical strategies to include people with autism in your sport, physical education or recreation programs.

Engage directly with experts and people with lived experience of autism. Increase your toolkit of knowledge, resources and practical applications to improve your confidence in delivering inclusive programming.

This webinar series expands upon topics presented in our online learning module 'An Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder' found on SOA Learn and includes:

  • Understanding Autism
  • Getting to Know Your Participants
  • Communication and Inclusive Practice
  • Sensory Sensitivities and Regulation
  • Creating an Inclusive Program and Environment
  • Inclusive Practice for PE Teachers and Schools

Sign up to SOA Learn for access to the webinars, resources, and certificates of learning.


LATEST COURSE – Young Athletes Coaching Course
Special Olympics Young Athletes is a sport and play-based program for children with and without intellectual disabilities (ID),
ages 2 to 8 years old.

Young Athletes focuses on activities that support social and physical growth and provides a model that creates greater access and opportunities for participating children and their families. As an early intervention strategy that aims to increase fundamental movement skills, the program creates a transition pathway into a more structured sporting environment – leading to long term participation in sport and physical activity in a range of environments.

The Young Athletes Coaching Accreditation Course provides an introduction to the Young Athletes program and demonstrates practical tips and resources to support community coaches, educators and parents in improving the fundamental movement skills of young Australians, helping make the pathway to participation in physical activity for every child more accessible.

Access to the course and support resources is free of charge.

Sign up here for access to the course.


An Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Special Olympics Australia have released a new FREE online learning course called An Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

This course provides an overview of ASD and explains some practical strategies that coaches, teachers, volunteers and anyone working with people on the autism spectrum can use to create safe, welcoming and engaging sporting programs. Most importantly though, the course provides an invaluable insight into the sporting experiences of people on the autism spectrum, told by people living with the condition themselves. 

Although not everyone with ASD has an intellectual disability, Special Olympics Australia in conjunction with Special Olympics International is leading the world in supporting people with Autism. 

This course will provide you with an overview of ASD, how athletes with ASD experience sport and some important practical strategies you can implement into your coaching.

Sign up here for access to the course.


ONLINE COACH COURSE – Improving sport for people with intellectual disability

Developed using current research and methodology from world leading sporting bodies, this course will support coaches, teachers, parents, athletes, volunteers and administrators in school communities and local sporting clubs to assist people with an intellectual disability to get active and involved in sport.

This course will cover important theoretical concepts and challenge you to apply what you learn directly into your coaching environment. The course also provides a unique insight into the perspective of people with intellectual disabilities.

The coaching course is free. Sign up here for access to Special Olympics Australia’s online coaching course.



Special Olympics Australia has based our Activity Cards on the Playing for Life philosophy which adopts a ‘game sense’ approach to coaching. This allows participants to learn and develop skills through games rather than drills. 

Developed in partnership with Sport Australia, there are six different types of games (warm up, invasion, movement, net and court, striking and fielding and target) that apply to all the sports in the Special Olympics Australia catalogue. Each activity can be modified to suit the available playing area and equipment. Some key features of game sense coaching include:

  • skill execution and decision making within the context of the sport
  • small sided games and activities
  • modified rules, area and equipment
  • questioning to challenge students to reflect and think about their involvement
  • focus on fun, inclusion, safety and high levels of involvement

The Coaches' Guide provides further information on how to best use the SOA Activity Cards, including tips on how to deliver sport and physical activity to people of all abilities.

These resources are free. Sign up here for access to Special Olympics Australia’s Activity Cards and Coaches’ Guide.



SOA Learn is growing to become a community of learning. Each year we will launch more courses that help Australia become more confident in delivering inclusive sports programs. In addition to online learning opportunities we will host discussion groups and develop useful resources that will support coaches, teachers, parents, athletes, volunteers and administrators in increasing the physical activity of people with intellectual disabilities and autism.

Sign up here for free access to SOA Learn and keep updated with best practice information for the delivery of sport and physical activity to Australians with intellectual disabilities and autism.


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