PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC) -- Hundreds of students from Portsmouth Public Schools competed in Special Olympics Young Athletes Thursday.

Organizers say it helps build confidence.

In total, 110 preschoolers with special needs are playing. Another 110 of their classmates who aren't in the program are participating, as well as buddies.

"He gets to interact with other kids, other students that's his age. And he doesn't have to feel like he's alone in this, he has other kids. Their needs might be different than his but it's just like one big happy family," said Latisha Harvey, whose son Tyrese was diagnosed with a developmental delay.

In total, there's 1,643 students in special education across the district. For parents, that translates into a support system.

"It's great because when I have questions or whatever, at first I was alone and now it's like a family network," said Harvey.