What is MATP?

The Special Olympics Motor Activity Training Program is designed for athletes who are unable to participate in official Special Olympics sport competitions because of their skill and/or functional abilities. The Motor Activity Training Program is designed to prepare athletes -- including those with severe or profound intellectual disability and significant physical disabilities for sport-specific activities appropriate for their ability levels.  For this reason, there are no official rules for competition. Emphasis is placed on achieving personal bests, and it allows for adapted equipment and physical assistance.

Challenge Day

Once the eight-week program is completed, a Challenge Day Celebration is offered. Participants are awarded based on participation, not placement. Instead of competitions, there are skill stations where athletes are given the opportunity to demonstrate their personal best.  

Encourage typically developing students to volunteer as Unified Volunteers, where they assist the participant to do their best, even if they assist them with the activity. 


  • Provide classroom coaches, therapists, teachers, para-professionals, and parents to the basic methods in working with people with severe disabilities in a sport, as opposed to a therapeutic setting.  
  • Providing the opportunity to be included within traditional sports with modifications. 
  • Acquaint coaches and others with the goals and objectives of the MATP and how it fits into the larger scheme of Special Olympics along with the individuals IEP both in school and post secondary participation. 
  • Provide coaches and others with the necessary skills to organize and conduct MATP opportunity to enjoy sports activity for people with severe disabilities.
  • Provide coaches and others with the necessary skills to organize and conduct a Challenge Day Celebration for people with severe disabilities. 

Seven Basic Motor Skills

Seven Basic Motor Skills
The purpose of MATP is to help develop and enhance motor skills that are directly related to those used in official Special Olympics sports. MATP works with the following seven basic motor skills:

  • Mobility – leads to gymnastics and athletics
  • Dexterity – leads to athletics and softball
  • Striking – leads to softball, bowling and golf
  • Kicking – leads to soccer
  • Manual Wheelchair – leads to athletics
  • Motorized Wheelchair – leads to athletics
  • Swimming – leads to aquatics

Sample Lessons (& How to Get Involved)

  • Warm-Up Activities – General awareness activities, relaxation activities and stretching  
  • Skill Stations – Activities that develop basic motor skills of Mobility, Dexterity, Striking, and Kicking  
  • Group Game – A fun way for participants to apply the skills practiced at the skill stations. Also provides opportunity for participants to learn rules of a certain game and interact with peers and volunteers  
  • Conclusion – Conduct range of motion/stretching and relaxation activities to cool down

Contact your area office for more information or reach out to info@sotx.org.