You don't have to go far to get your child with special needs involved in the right sports program. We did the legwork for you! Here are some highlights in our area:
East Meadow Baseball/Softball Association
30 Merrick Ave., East Meadow
(516) 794-8965; [email protected]
The Challenger Division, with Lee Cook at the helm of an amazing crew of volunteers, provides an extraordinary program for special needs children in the community, often integrating players from other leagues to act as "buddies" to assist the kids.
KISS (Kids in Special Services)
Mid-Island Y JCC, 45 Manetto Hill Rd, Plainview
(516) 822-3535; www.miyjcc.org/kiss.php
Sports (and other activities) for high-functioning children with developmental and/or learning disabilities such as language delay, ADHD, Asperger's and autism spectrum disorders.
Gymboree Play & Music
Plainview, Woodbury, Westbury, Oceanside, East Northport, Oakdale, St. James
Their Sensoree Kids class, led by an occupational therapist and a Gymboree teacher, places an emphasis on helping children 3-6 with sensory processing difficulties to cope with sensory stimuli in their everyday lives. Parents participate and are invited to bring their child's own therapists.
10 Aerial Way, Syosset
(516) 827-0500; www.gymnastique.org
Offers a special needs gymnastics program for children 4-12 with learning disabilities involving autism, speech or occupational and physical delays. Participants gain strength, agility, flexibility and improve social and gross motor skills in a positive and nurturing environment.
My Shine Program
Sweet Hills Riding Center, Melville
(516) 551-1491; www.myshineprogram.com
A therapeutic equestrian program for ages 3 and up that includes a half-hour group lesson, riding, grooming, tacking and games on horseback. Riders consist of individuals on the autism spectrum, with Down Syndrome, Fragile X-Syndrome, mild forms of Cerebral Palsy, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, Sensory Integration Dysfunction, emotionally fragile, hearing- and vision-impaired, and low muscle tone.
(516) 432-9211; [email protected] or www.surfersway.org
Dedicated to teaching children and young adults with special needs, who might not otherwise engage, to surf. They also hold periodic free one-day events for special needs individuals.
Find special needs sports programs in other areas.