Changing Expectations in Special Olympics

A guide to skill acquisition, health and sport for individuals with an intellectual disability

Sport Invy - Publications

Book Description

Individuals with an intellectual and/or developmental disability (IDD) are happy with whatever they do. They expect little and appreciate every activity offered to them and, if they’re not so good at what they do, we assume it must be due to their disabilities.  After all, in the world of Special Olympics, the vast majority of athletes compete in sport events at a low skill level compared to their generic (normally abled) counterparts.

In this book I outline what I have learned in recent years working with IDD athletes in BC Canada: that their low skill levels may not be so much due to their disabilities after all, but in fact may be more closely related to OUR OWN low expectations of them and associated sub-optimal training programs. 

This book hopes to adequately convey my revelation that with the proper environment, including our elevated expectations of them and modified training programs, IDD athletes can inspire and perform at skill levels never before thought possible! Moreover, the principles discovered here can also be applied to generic athletes and indeed to all of us, because there are elements to learning that we can all benefit from.

Book size 132 pages             

24 different basic sports programs are available to complement this book  (paper or ebook). These sports are divided in three bundles (summer, winter and indoor sports) and are only available from this website (and not part of this book) as updates are frequent.

Soft Cover Book USA and International Orders

Soft Cover Book USA and International Orders
Canadian Orders can be purchased from the Bookstore section of this website. USA and International customers for the soft cover paper book please order from the following link:

Note that you will be then be leaving this site to my book printer. All transactions (purchase and shipping) will be done through this distributor. Thank you.

Book price: USD $8.99 plus shipping charges depending on your location and type of delivery.

PDF book and sport downloads are available for all customers in the bookstore section of this site. Prices are in USD $.

Bookstore ($ in USD)

Note: Proceeds from sales will be used to organize basic skill acquisition programs and purchase home training equipment for Special Olympics athletes


Free Downloads

Functional Testing (provided by Special Olympics British Columbia, Canada)

SOBC 19 General Functional Tests.pdf

Energy Balance for Special Olympians                           Learn how many calories are consumed in each SO sport

Energy balance for special olympics.pdf

Club Fit Manual (provided by Special Olympics British Columbia, Canada)

Club Fit Manual .docx


Born and raised in Quebec, Jacques Thibault wore the maple leaf for Canada in long track speed skating at the 1980 and 1984 Winter Olympics and was a World Championships silver medalist in 1984. After obtaining a Master’s degree in science (physical activity – motor learning) at Laval University, Jacques worked with some of the top athletes in the world in his role as Program and General Manager of the Olympic Oval in Calgary, Alberta from 1990 to 2013.Jacques is recognized as a world-class sports expert, and was an original contributor of Canada’s ‘Own the Podium’ program for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver and ‘Own the Podium’ Russia at the 2014 Games in Sochi. He is a Canadian level five coach and has been directly involved with more than 50 Olympic medalists in winter sports.More recently, Jacques collaborated on the development of Special Olympics BC Performance Program, and has been the driving force behind the implementation of this program. Jacques is also spearheading the Special Olympics BC Sport Development Program, travelling extensively to assist in the development of new sport programs and innovative methods of training for coaches and working with SO athletes to develop and optimize their skills. Jacques is the author of two technical books on training design and skill acquisition in speed skating, Training Designs for Long Track and Short Track Speed Skating and The Secrets of Short Track Speed Skating, as well as Big Red’s Ice Machine, a children’s book about an ice resurfacing machine.


The vast majority of Special Olympic athletes do not possess basic skills in their sports. This website offers basic skills acquisition programs for 24 different SO sports.

Come back often and check for intermediate and advanced skill updates as they will be posted whenever available.

Note: Proceeds from sales will be used to organize basic skill acquisition programs for Special Olympics.


  • 4627 17th Avenue Northwest, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T3B0P2