Activities Specific For Kids With Special Needs

  • This list will continue to evolve as new programs become available.  Did we miss something?  Email us program information you'd like us to include to



    Challenger Baseball

    Challenger Division of Little League Baseball is designed to give children and adults ages 4 and up an opportunity to play baseball regardless of their challenges.  Participants enjoy the full benefits of taking part in an athletic program structured to their abilities.  The value of the program is found in the proven therapeutic and socilization benefits of participating in sports, the strengthening of self-esteem, and the disciplines of teamwork, sportsmanship, and fair play.


    The Miracle League of Grand Island and WNY

    The Miracle League program provides and opportunity for children with mental and/or physical challenges to play baseball.  With a specially designed turf this league makes dreams come true for children with special needs.


    Dance Programs

    Danceability Buffalo

    An independent dance, fitness and movement program serving the special needs community.


    Moving Miracles

    A dance program that provides sessions in a safe, non-threatening environment for individuals to grow and develop their personal potential.  Uses a holistic approach, which encourages the mind/body connection.  Experience spatial relations, sensory integration, body awareness, and concept formation to our environment and others.



    Rolly Pollies SN@P FIT Gym

    Open play time dedicated to children with special needs and their families.  Ages 12 and under.  Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 4-5 pm.


    Sky Zone Sensory Sunday

     9-11 am Sundays.  Where families with sensory challenges can jump and fun together in a relaxed, supportive environment.


    We Rock the Spectrum Buffalo Northtowns

    Provides children with fun and motivational environment to help them in the areas of strength, movement, sensory processing, communication, positive behavior modification, social interactions and self care skills.  Classes and open play available.




    Regal My Way Matinee

    Sensory friendly movies - lower sound, lights brighter.  Niagara Falls Regal theater only.


    Music Programs

    BPO Kids for Exceptional Kids

    A program to make BPO Kids concerts more accessible and comfortable to all children, especially those with Autism Spectrum Disorders, cancer, and other chronic physical or healthcare challenges.  Includes pre-concert activities, sound muffling headphones, preferred exit seating, and access to quiet space if child needs a break.  Ushers, staff, and volunteers have received awareness and educational presentations to increase their understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders, and best practices to communicate and interact with children and families.  For tickets, call the box office at 885-5000.


    Other Activities - Fun Things to do

    AU-Some Aquarium at the Aquarium of Niagara

    Please join us for AU-Some Aquarium!  Special evenings dedicated to providing a safe, supportive, sensory-friendly environment where families with autism can meet, learn and have fun together.  Families will enjoy the touch tank; a sensory friendly sea lion show, sensory and art activities, gluten free snacks and informational resources from community partners.  Noise reducing headphones are available at the front desk.  All evenings run from 6 - 8 pm, with the sea lion show at 7 pm.  Occurs one time per month.  Call for additional information.

    For more information call: (716) 285-3575 ext 219, email:


    Au-Some Evenings at Explore and More

    An exciting and free program dedicated to children on the autism spectrum and their friends and families.  Once a month, these special Au-Some Evenings give children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Sensory Disorders, their friends, and their families and opportunity to play and learn together in an understanding and supportive environment.


    Chuck-E-Cheese Sensory Sensitive Sundays

    New York State locations of Chuck-E-Cheese will be beginning a sensory sensitive play time for children who have autism and other special needs in January 2017.  The first Sunday of every month they will open their doors from 9 am - 11 am with reduced lighting and noise, caring and trained staff, and will still offer food and games.  Contact your local Chuck-E-Cheese for additional information.


    Sensational Fun

    Our mission at Sensational Fun is to embrace and empower children with diverse abilities through diverse play.  We aim to provide a family oriented play place where children with special needs can learn and interact with others while still being themselves in a safe, engaging, and understanding environment.  It is the goal of Sensational Fun to provide an array of sports, clubs, camps, and special programs which are adapted to the unique abilities of our special needs community.


    Strong National Museum of Play

    The Strong is a highly interactive, collections-based museum devoted to the history and exploration of play.  It is one of the largest history museums in the United States and one of the leading museums serving families.  For social stories related to visiting the Strong National Museum of Play, visit:


    Sweet Charlotte's

    Sweet Charlotte's if a safe and positive children's play place created to embrace all children and their families.  We welcome you to come and play with our "back to basic" toys inspiring children to use their own imagination.  Owned by a mom of a child who has Autism.



    RACIN!  Rollin' Athletic Inclusion Network

    The mission of RACIN! is to improve the physical, social and emotional lives of people with developmental disabilities through regular physical activitiy and involvement in the local racing scene.  Together, we run, walk, and roll!



    Buffalo Sabres Sled Hockey

    A competitive sled hickey organization that promotes the athletic abilities of physically challenged youth and adults in Western New York.  All that are athletically inclined, but have a physical handicap are encouraged to attend a game or practice, and explore if this is a good sport match.


    Buffalo Sabres Thunder

    WNY's first hockey team for athletes with Developmental Disabilities.  They provide both male and female individuals with Developmental Disabilities the unique opportunity to play ice hockey.  They provide players the opportunity to be part of a team, provide training in ice hockey, provide players with the thrill of competition while having fun and facilitating the development of social skills.  Must have the desire to play and ability to skate.


    Gliding Stars of WNY

    A skating program for all ages.  It is the philosophy of Gliding Stars to use the sport of ice skating for physical, mental, and emotional growth of persons with disabilities.  All persons with physical, mental, and developmental disabilities welcome.



    SABAH is dedicated to the mission of enriching the quality of life foe individuals challenged by physical, cognitive, and/or emotional disability by providing educational and therapeutic recreation, promoting fitness and developing social and communication skills.  Although the organization began as one which provided adaptive ice skating for those with special needs over the winter, SABAH now offers six year round programs on the ice and on the turf.



    Bill Lounsburg Adapted Ski Program

    Adapted ski programs.  We can accomodate a wide variety of disabilities, including people with wheelchairs.  For physically and mentally challenged individuals.


    Buffalo Ski Club

    Join the Hills Angels adaptive coaches for two hour sessions designed for children and adults with physical disabilities and developmental delays.  Staff work with participants and their companions to tailor sessions to the skier or snowboarder's needs.  Our goal is to train participants and companions with the skills to ski independently.


    Kissing Bridge Adaptive Ski Program

    Ages 4+.  The adaptive ski program at Kissing Bridge helps physically and developmentally challenged individuals learn to ski.  


    The Phoenix Adaptive Ski Program

    Adaptive ski/snowboard program focusing on the instruction and guidance for adults and children with special needs in Western New York.  Staffed by dedicated volunteers and trained instructors, this program provides a safe, compassionate skiing environment.  Each student is matched up with an instructor and volunteer.  Helmets and proper winter/ski clothing is required, but not provided.  Skis, snowboards, boots and poles are not provided.  Special adaptive equipment is provided.  Call (716) 699-8159 for more information.


    Soccer Programs

    TOP Soccer

    Open to all players with special needs ages 5-21.  Accomodates all disabilities whether mental or physical.

    - Amherst

    - Lockport: contact:



    Fantastic Friends of WNY

    We are an organization dedicated to providing friendships and fun for special needs people, ages 10 - the early 20's.  We will be hosting monthly social events.  At events, special needs participants will be partnered up with a "buddy".  Our event locations will vary.


    Sports - General

    Camp Abilities

    Camp Abilities Brockport id a one-week educational sports camp for children and teens who are blind, visually impaired, and deafblind.  The camp is set up to provide a 1:1 instructional situation for each person, which is often on the contrary to other camps designed for people with visual impairments.  Our counselors are pooled from physical education and special education undergraduate and graduate programs across the U.S., and overseas. 


    C.A.P.S. - Challenged Athletes Participating in Sports

    The purpose of CAPS is to provide safe, nurturing and supportive athletic activities and opportunities for children and young adults with physical and/or mental special needs.  An easier way to put this is that we give people with disabilities a chance to play sports and participate in various activities that may be difficult to find elsewhere.  We offer sports (baseball, football, soccer, hockey and basketball) and social activities (holiday parties, dances and special guests).


    Find Your Niche (Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders)

    Ages 5-19.  Sports covered may include: football, basketball, soccer, golf, general sports, outdoor activities.  This provides the participants with a general knowledge of various games and activities through a series of skills development stations.


    Rochester Accessible Adventures

    Inspiring hope.  Improving ability.  Rochester Accessible Adventures partners with the community to ensure individuals with disabilities are able to access inclusive active recreation and sports opportunities.  Rochester Accessible Adventures is community based and community driven.  We understand that real change happens through collaboration and we partner with businesses, municipalities, service providers, medical providers, and other non-profits to ensure people with disabilities and their families have access to active, healthy lifestyle opportunities.



    SABAH is dedicated to the mission of enriching the quality of life for individuals challenged by physical, cognitive, and/or emotional disability by providing educational and therapeutic recreation, promoting fitness, and developing socail and communication skills.  Although the organization began as one which provided adaptive ice skating for those with special needs over the winter, SABAH now offers six, year round programs on the ice and on the turf.


    Special Olympics

    They provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.


    The Independence Foundation

    The Independence Foundation is dedicated to providing support and assistance to children and individuals with physical disabilities so that they may live independently, self-directed lives.  It is our goal to provide accessible housing, social activities, community involvement and recreation.  Offers: Soccer, bowling, social activities.


    WNY Adaptive Water Sports

    Offering fishing, sailing, SCUBA and waterskiing to persons with physical or mental disabilities.


    WNY Challenger Sports

    The challenger sports league is open to players of all ages.  Each player has a physical or mental condition that limits their participation in other competitive sports programs.  Games are structured to allow all players to be involved as they are able.  Traditional rules are modified and the focus is always on having fun while learning the game.  Sports offered: baseball, basketball, bowling, golf, volleyball


    Swim Programs

    Clarence Learn to Swim - Adaptive Swim Program

    Offers reserved classes for children with a classified disability or significant medical condition.


    JCC Adapted Aquatics Program

    Offers multiple programs for children with special needs to learn how to swim.

    1. Au-Some Swimmers - swim program for children on the spectrum.

    2. Special Friends - swim program for children with cerebral palsy, spectrum disorders, Fragile X Syndrome, Down's Syndrome.  1:1 instruction and group play.  Maximum of 5/class.

    3. You and Me on Land and Sea - adaptive swim program combined with relationship based parent/child and peer play group.



    Unique Theatre Company

    The Unique Theatre Company is an extraordinary company of artists that aspire to promote community integration trhough the arts.  They are dedicated to providing a venue where persons of all levels of ability can learn to express themselves through art, playwriting, acting and more.  Unique Theatre company is comprised of aspiring and/or working playwrights and actors who have an interest in giving voice to persons with disabilities, as well as changing current cultural perceptions of what it means to be a person with disabilities.


    Therapeutic Horseback Riding

    Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center

    There is a unique bond between horses and people that can be particularly meaningful to children with disabilities.  Riding programs provide a relaxing, non-academic environment in which children can interact with adults and peers and more importantly with their horse.  We currently offer programs for mentally and emotionally impaired, learning disabled and developmentally challenged children ages 6 - 18.


    Equi Star, Inc

    Our mission is to enrich the lives of people with disabilities  through equine related activities.  These activities offer therapeutic benefits for children and adults with varying conditions, such as Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Delays, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Trisomy 21, Anxiety, and many more.


    High Hurdles

    The High Hurdles Therapeutic Riding Program offers cognitively, emotionally, and physically challenged individuals a unique opportunity for growth and development.  Out person centered philosophy drives us to create customized lesson plans based on the goals and desires of each particular rider.  Our arena contains the state of the art SureHands lift, which allows riders who use wheelchairs to have a more dignified transfer to horseback, giving those who may not otherwise have the chance to ride the oppotunity to do so.


    Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc.

    Assisting ideividuals to develop their higest potential through therapeutically based equine activities.