: Parents of children with special needs are sometimes at a loss as to where to find appropriate recreational activities and other services for their children. Westchester County has a great variety of programs, camps and resources for special needs children and their families. Here are some of the offerings:
ACTIVITIES Boys and Girls Club of Mount Kisco 351 Main Street, Mount Kisco, (914) 666-8069 Swim classes run through the year for children with and without special needs. Classes are usually 5-7 children with a 1:1 ratio. They also offer a variety of other programs.
Creative Yogashine Valhalla, (914) 769-8745 Vitalah Simon, dance therapist Yoga (group and individual) for children of all ages with emotional, developmental and physical disabilities.
JCC of Mid-Westchester 999 Wilmot Road, Scarsdale, (914) 472-3300 x 426 Julie Mosiello, Coordinator of Club JCC Club JCC is a social afterschool and weekend recreational program for special needs teens in grades 9-12. Members can participate in a computer club, Saturday night teen lounge, Wednesday afternoon social group, Sunday Adventure Travel group; and other activities such as arts and crafts, dances, swimming and more.
Greenburgh Special Education Recreation 11 Olympic Lane, Ardsley, (914) 693-8985 ext. 128 Susan Edelstein, director of special recreation, [email protected] Offers a large array of activities and outings for children with disabilities, such as horseback riding, swim classes, art classes, dances and parties.
Gymtime Scarsdale and Mount Kisco, (914) 241-8650 Gross motor activity classes where young children can be mainstreamed.
Heartsong 590 Central Park Avenue, Scarsdale, (914) 725-9272 Music and art therapy for children of all ages with all special needs. Children are grouped together by functioning level with 8 children per class. Classes are held in Bronxville and White Plains.
HERO Janet Lefkowitz, (914) 761-2130 Adapted tennis, dance, music and pet therapy for all ages.
Music Therapy Institute of the Westchester Conservatory of Music (914) 761-3715 Andrea Frisch, director Music therapy programs for children with and without disabilities.
North East Westchester Special Recreation, Inc. 63 Bradhurst Avenue, Hawthorne, (914) 347-4409 Weekend, summer and afterschool recreational programs for children with special needs.
Northern Westchester Center for the Arts (NWCA) 272 North Bedford Road, Mount Kisco, (914) 241-6922 ext 22; or [email protected] Mary Frei, special needs programs director A vast array of programs for children ages 4 to adult with developmental, educational, emotional and physical disabilities, including art, music, theater and creative writing. There is also yoga, dance, Kung Fu and ballet for children in wheelchairs, and a sibling support group.
NorWest Cortlandt Manor, (914) 737-4797 and [email protected] Christopher Morbito, director Year- round therapeutic recreational programs for children with disabilities ages 5 and up. They hold weekend, school vacation, and afterschool programs, plus a 6-week summer camp and an August mini-camp.
Once Upon a River 1 Bridge St. Suite 105, Irvington, (914) 591- 6868, www.onceuponariver.com. Dr. Jonathon Slater, director Martial arts, yoga, personal fitness, nutrition and art therapy programs for children 3-16 with physical and/or emotional challenges, such as AD/HD, anxiety, depression, autism, self-control, self-esteem, anger and weight issues.
Parents Place, Inc. 3 Carhart Avenue, Room 202, White Plains, (914) 948-5187 Pam Ancowitz, director A two-hour drop in center for children ages birth through 5 with caregivers for singing, art, play, snack and the opportunity to talk with social workers and other parents. This program is not specifically designed for children with special needs but accommodates and welcomes them. Parents Place also runs a parent support group for parents of children up to 6 years with PDD or autism, run by Lynn Kalvin, CSW.
Pegasus Pleasantville, Bedford Hills, North Salem, (203) 356-9504 and www.narha.org Therapeutic horseback riding for children with special needs.
Special Program and Resource Connection (SPARC) Lakeland, Yorktown, Mahopac and Ardsley, (914) 243-0583 Rose Rothe, director Recreation and cultural programs for children and teens focusing on socialization and how to handle themselves in the community. They also have Saturday morning music classes for 5- to 10-year-old children with autism and related disorders. Private consultations for home music, art and recreational therapies are also available.
Special Needs After School Center, Inc. 199 Main Street Suite 211, White Plains, (914) 761-9518 Dr. Vivienne Ratner, director Provides evaluations, advocacy services and 1:1 certified special education teachers for children first grade through college.
Spirited Friends, Inc. 250 Station Plaza Suite 33, Hartsdale, (914) 841-9847 Jennifer DiPasquale, COTA Therapeutic facilitated play and recreational program which incorporates sensory play for children 3-14 years with special needs. Class size: maximum of 5 and groups meet once a week for 50-minute sessions.
Swimming Lessons Melissa Flannery, [email protected] Swimming lessons specifically designed for children with autism, ADHD and other special needs.
Wagon Road Camp The Children’s Aid Society, Chappaqua, (914) 238-4761 Vince Canziani, director Overnight respite program servicing children 7-17 years old with physical and developmental disabilities. Open weekends and school holidays October- May and one week in August. They offer arts, crafts, athletics, nature, cooking, horseback riding, music and drama. They have heated cabins.
CAMPS Camp Hidden Valley, Fishkill Sponsored by The Fresh Air Fund, (212) 897-8979 1-800-367-0003 or www.freshair.org Camping assistant: Madhu Katta Camp for children with disabilities ranging from autism to attention disorders.
Camp Victory (203) 329-3394, 1-800-919-3394 Fred Tunick, director Summer day camp in Westchester for children with special needs.
Camp Huntington High Falls, (845) 679-4903, www.camphuntington.com Dr. Bruria Falik, director Special needs residential camp for ages 6-21. Offers 7-, 4-, and 3-week programs including basketball, ranching, farming, gardening, performing arts and painting.
Kamp Kiwanis Taberg, New York, (315) 336-4568 Nancy Ann Nowak, director Inclusion camp for children 8-14 including instructional swim, field trips, canoeing, arts and crafts.
Internet information on camps for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder: www.mclean.Harvard.edu/cns/camp/welcome.htm www.acacamps.org (click on “find a camp”) or call the American Camping Association at (212) 268-7822 for an annual directory.
NATURAL FOODS Gourmet Garage 935 Central Park Avenue, Scarsdale (near Ardsley Road), (914) 722-2112
Miss Roben’s P.O. Box 1149, Frederick, MD 21702, 1-800-891-0083 Mail order company specializing in allergy-free foods (gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, soy and corn free).
Mrs. Green’s Natural Market Scarsdale (914) 472-9675 Eastchester (914) 472-0111 Katonah (914) 232-7574 Larchmont (914) 834-6667 Mount Kisco (914) 242-9292 Yorktown Heights (914) 962-4462 Mahopac (845) 628-0533
Trader Joes 727 White Plains Road, Scarsdale, (914) 472-2988 1260 Boston Post Road, Larchmont, (914) 833-9110
RELIGIOUS RESOURCES Church of the Magdalene 525 Bedford Road (route 448), Pocantico Hills Mary Weiner, (914) 592-2784 Catholic Mass service for special needs families, first Sunday of every month at 1pm.
Methodist Church of the Tarrytowns Tarrytown Catherine Johnson, (914) 591-1009 Religious services and programs for families with children with disabilities.
Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) (914) 565-8610 Jewish cultural programs for developmentally disabled children and adults. Provides adapted religious services including Bar/Bat Mitzvah program. WJCS also offers many support groups and mental health community resources.
SOCIAL SKILLS GROUPS Lisa Abram, CSW, (914) 533-5283 Sheila Wall, MSW, (203) 845-8727 Group therapy program for middle school children with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. Focus is on social skills, listening skills and anger management.
Sheri Baron, Ph.D., (914) 762-2058 Kids Clubs Groups: intensive developmentally based therapeutic program focusing on communication and social skills for children with social/emotional communication deficits. Dr. Baron also has adolescent groups.
Susan Rose, Ph.D., Mamaroneck, (914) 381- 3331 or (212) 787-7016 A social skills group for high functioning children 3-8 with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and PDD. Groups focus on listening skills, maintaining eye contact, reciprocal conversation and identifying the emotional response of others.
Scarsdale/Edgemont Family Counseling Center 405 Harwood Building, Scarsdale, (914) 723-3281 Group therapy for youth 5-18 years.
Robert Milich, Ph.D., Croton-on-Hudson, (914) 271-5326
RESOURCES Chappaqua Public Library 195 South Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua, (914) 238-4779 Excellent resource center for parents of children with disabilities.
Child Care Council of Westchester (914) 761-3456 Extensive information on childcare providers, programs, agencies, schools and camps.
EPIC Parent Center 1061 North Broadway, Townhouses 2nd floor, Yonkers, (914) 966-2338 Parent Center manager, Jane Zucker Free parenting skills workshops and parent training.
Hudson Valley Hospital Center 1980 Crompond Road (Rte. 202), Cortlandt Manor, (914) 734-3257 Parents of autistic children support groups.
ParentLink www.westchesterparentlink.org Advocacy group for parents of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome. Monthly support group meetings at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.
RESOURCE PHONE NUMBERS & INTERNET ACCESS Autism Society of America, Westchester Chapter 540 West Boston Post Road #174, Mamaroneck, (914) 833-2594, www.autism-society.org
www.apraxia.cc www.apraxia-kids.org Excellent websites to learn more about Apraxia, Dyspraxia and Sensory Integration.
Council for Exceptional Children www.cec.sped.org
Developmental Delay Registry 6701 Fairfax Road, Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815, (301) 652-2263, www.devdelay.org
GROW, Inc. P.O. Box 1692, White Plains, Helpline (914) 493-1318, www.growestchester.org Advocacy organization on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities.
Hudson Valley DDSO, a branch of the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) (914) 287-7745
Learning Disabilities online www.Ldonline.org Hundreds of articles about disabilities, remediation, IEPs, legal rights.
National Parent Network on Disabilities www.npnd.org
National Vaccine Information Center www.909shot.com
Information about vaccines and mercury www.Safeminds.org
Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) (914) 926-1313
Student Advocacy Services, Inc. (914) 347-3313
Special Education Law and Regulations at: www.special-ed-law.com The Department of Education also has special education law at: www.ed.gov/offices/osers/IDEA
IDEA is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. www.ideapractices.org/aboutus.htm
Westchester/Putnam Legal Services (914) 949-1305
Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health (914) 285-5256
www.wrightslaw.com 1000s of links to information about special education law, advocacy and information.
Yale Child Study Center http://info.med.yale.edu/chldstdy.autism
JENNIFER KAHN RUOFF is a Certified Social Worker with a Masters degree in special education. She counsels children and families with special needs. She also works at the Alcott School. (914) 591-2225.