10 Places That Offer Special Days for Special Needs
4. Ice Skating
My husband plays hockey. I watch hockey…under a blanket while reading a book. But I’ll always put my book down when he takes our son on the ice. It’s not such an easy task when navigating figure skating lessons and couples clinging to each other. Luckily, our local ice skating rink has specific hours for those with disabilities. The ice is wide open and freshly scraped, and even I will get out and try in those conditions. Also, if you live in the northeast, the Gliding Stars organization provides a regular program for individuals with disabilities “to increase their personal potential through the development of ice skating skills in a regular program of instruction and practice in their own local community.”
5. Achilles Club
This one is a favorite. If your child uses a wheelchair, this groups of volunteers offers sports activities in gyms all over the country. Our group meets once a month at the local recreation center. The Achilles Club is a “non-profit organization [that] has chapters and members in over 65 locations within the United States and abroad. Every day, in parks, gyms, and tracks all over the world, Achilles provides athletes with disabilities with a community of support.” They have also developed a program specifically for kids which “provides training, racing opportunities, and an in-school program for children with disabilities.” There’s nothing like watching your child wheelchair race with other kids and adults. The only downside is trying to find a safe place to stand. My toes have seen their fair share of sport-side injury.
The zoo is magical. It’s like an amusement park with wildlife where you don’t have to wait in line for rides. But the best thing about the zoo is their educational programs. They want you to learn a little zoology along with eating funnel cakes and petting goats. Our zoo offers a “Zooper Heroes Camp” which is geared towards children with special needs. It involves crafts, games, and education along with animal encounters. It’s an easy way to get up close and personal with the animals without the crowds. Check your local zoo for this summer program.
7. Children’s Theatre
I was a thespian once upon a time. I too felt the magic of the “big show.” It was high school, and I mostly did backstage work, but still I count myself a veteran of the stage. In theatre, real life meets illusion. It’s like a magic show with plot. But let’s face it, often times shows are too long or too raucous for kids with specials needs. The magic is lost if the environment feels too overwhelming. Our local children’s theatre offers sensory-friendly performances of each show, either on a Saturday or Sunday. Similar to the sensory friendly film environment, the lights are brighter, the sound is lower, and interaction with the audience is welcomed.
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