In addition to the resources below, check with your Recreation Department for programs offered for children with special needs as well as your local ARC (see ARC listings under Therapeutic Service). Also see listings under Universal Playgrounds, Enrichment, Camps, Sports, Therapeutic Services and Special Education for additional resources.
Provides recreation opportunities and services to people of all ages with developmental disabilities, some free, some on a sliding fee scale. Early intervention program helps parents identify developmental delays in infant children. VIsit ARC New Jersey for local chapter info.
• The Arc of Essex
123 Naylon Ave., Livingston, 973-535-1181.
• The Arc of Hunterdon County
The Concourse at Beaver Brook, 1465 Route 31, Suite 23, Annandale,
• The Arc of Middlesex
219 Black Horse Lane, North Brunswick, 732-821-1199.
• The Arc of Morris County
1 Executive Dr., Morris Plains, NJ 07950, 973-326-9750.
• The Arc of Somerset
141 South Main St., Manville, 908-725-8544.
• The Arc of Union
70 Diamond Rd., Springfield, 973-315-0000.
Adaptive Swim Lessons at Weisman Children's Rehab Hospital
Weisman Children's Rehab Hospital, 92 Brick Rd., Marlton, 856-489-4520 x251. Inclusive swim lessons for children ages 3-6 and 7-11 focus on water safety, social interaction skills and basic stroke mechanics in a group setting.
Allamuchy Mountain State Park Braille Trail
A one mile section of the Canal Greenway Trail in Allamuchy Mountain State Park is paved, ADA accessible with wayside exhibits in Braille, benches and interpretive kiosks. Access the trail north of the Plane Street Bridge in Stanhope. Other ADA-accessible trails include portions of the 26-mile Paulinskill Valley Trail in Sussex and Warren Counties, the D&R Canal in central New Jersey and nature trail in Cape May's Belleplain State Forest.
Bambino Buddy Ball Baseball
Nationwide program established by Babe Ruth Baseball gives ages 5-20 with special needs the opportunity to play baseball with the assistance of a "buddy." Ask your Recreation Department for information about your local Babe Ruth League.
• Westfield Buddy Ball
Buddy Ball of Edison
732-549-4701. Not-for-profit organization provides four seasons of sports and social activities for children and young adults.
Children's Specialized Hospital
150 New Providence Rd., Mountainside, 908-233-3720 ext. 5548. Specialized recreational opportunities are offered for children with disabilities up to age 21.
The Connection Special Needs Programs
79 Maple St., Summit, 908-273-4242. Adaptive Aquatics for ages 3-adult; Young Athletes, ages 21⁄2-7; Yoga, ages 5-11; Dance Foundations, ages 5-12; Teen Scene, ages 13-19; Learn-to-Swim, ages 3-14; Young Adult Social, ages 20-26; Club Oh! for adults.
Diggerland USA Special Abilities Nights
Off Cooper Rd. via Rt. 73, West Berlin, 856-768-1110. Special Abilities Nights, or SAND events, provide fun, judgment-free evenings for individuals with special needs to enjoy with their family and friends and are made possible by the SAMBULANCE Safety Squad. SAND events offer the exciting chance to dig, drive and ride real construction equipment while keeping the unique challenges of individuals with special needs in mind.
Easter Seals New Jersey's Camp Merry Heart
21 O'Brien Rd., Hackettstown, 908-852-3896. Year round recreation at Camp Merry Heart's 123-acre facility includes a wide variety of activities for individuals of all ages and levels of special needs and abilities.
EPOCH (Educational Programs of Children Handicapped)
Madison Area YMCA, 1 Ralph Stoddard Drive, Madison. Afterschool recreation, swimming and enrichment program. Students work one-on-one with a counselor for 90 min., up to 3 days a week during the school year. Contact the Director at PO Box 231, Madison, NJ 07940 for info.
High Expectations, Inc.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org; Bob, 973-202-8994. Parent-driven membership organization based in Union County provides sports, recreation and social activities for children, teens and adults with disabilities. Soccer, basketball, bowling, swimming and softball teams participate in organized leagues, tournaments and venues provided by the Special Olympics of New Jersey. Social activities include dances, craft nights, karaoke nights, movie nights and more.
Livingston Little League
Challenger Division open to area children ages 5-18 with any physical, mental or neurological disability. Call Livingston Rec, 973-535-7925, for contact information.
Monmouth County Park System Therapeutic Recreation
805 Newman Springs Rd., Lincroft, NJ, 732-460-1167. Provides traditional special needs programs and camps as well as inclusive recreation opportunities in hundreds of camps and programs run by the Monmouth County Park System, serving Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex and Mercer counties.
Pathways for Exceptional Children
Montville organization dedicated to advocating for educational and social reform for children with disabilities, trains communities throughout the state in the children teaching children model for providing programs for children from age 3 to adulthood.
Pop Warner Challenger Football & Cheerleading League
Flag football and cheer experience for children with disabilities ages 5-16.
• Somerset Little Bears• Watchung Hills Pop Warner Challenger League
Sahara Sam's Oasis Indoor & Outdoor Water Park
535 N. Rt. 73, West Berlin, NJ, 856-767-7580. Special needs events are hosted at Sahara Sam's Oasis and made possible by the Sambulance Safety Squad. They provide fun, judgment-free evenings for individuals with special needs to enjoy with their family and friends.
Mar 10, May 19
Shimon & Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center (JCC)
775 Talamini Rd. (conveniently located off Rt. 202-206), Bridgewater, 908-725-6994. Email: PSilberfein@ssbjcc.org.
The JCC offers a variety of special needs programs for children and youth including Special Needs Swimming Skills Program (taught by certified American Red Cross Water Safety Instructors in adaptive swimming) and The Rising Tide Special Olympics Swim Team (part of Special Olympics Somerset County). The JCC Blaustein Early Childhood Center, JCC Camp Ruach and J-Crew After School Program work with families with children with special needs. The JCC offers adjusted schedules and one-on-one assistance. The JCC partners with Special Olympics New Jersey to offer membership to the JCC. The JCC also offers Jewish Family Service's Social Club for Young Adults with Asperger Syndrome or Developmental Challenges; a Parent Support Group and Sibling Support Group. All programs are open to the community. Multiple new youth and adult programs will begin Winter 2017. The JCC also monthly recreational programs offered to adults with special needs.
Upcoming JCC Events
Mah Jongg Tournament.
Camp & Preschool Open House.
Camp & Preschool Open House.
Pasta Dinner, benefitting Special Olympics Somerset County.
Mah Jongg Tournament.
Wrestling Smack Down.
Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) Celebration.
Camp & Preschool Open House.
Designer Handbag Bingo.
5K Run & 1 Mile Family Walk.
Golf & Tennis Outing.
SNAP Special Needs Athletic Programs
Non-profit organization arranges mentoring programs, in-house buddy programs and sports clinics in the Morristown area. Clinics include swimming, tae kwon do, soccer, basketball and baseball. Volunteers sought for mentoring.
Somerset County Park Commission Therapeutic Recreation
355 Milltown Rd., Bridgewater, 908-526-5650. Fees vary for programs. Year round recreation programs for children, teens and adults with disabilities. Camp Okee Sunokee is a 6-week summer day camp for Somerset County residents age 6-14 with learning disabilities or Aspergers Syndrome.
Somerset County YMCA Special Needs Programs
Somerset Hills YMCA: 140 Mt. Airy Rd., Basking Ridge, 908-766-7898 x503. Recreational programs for ages 5-18 include Saturdays in Motion for autistic children and their families; music and movement for ages 5-14; and Aqua S.T.A.R.S. for ages 3-12.
Special Olympics New Jersey
3 Princess Rd., Lawrence, 609-896-8000. Non-profit organization with its own sports complex in Lawrenceville provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. www.sonj.org
Young Athlete Program, for ages 2-7 in many New Jersey communities.
TryCan Coordinator, 908-277-2932; Berkeley Heights Recreation, 908-464-0550 x13; New Providence Recreation, 908-464-4430. Other participating Recreation Departments include: Maplewood, Millburn, Mountainside, Scotch Plains, South Orange, Springfield, and Union.
Through a cooperative effort between communities, one-on-one supervision is provided by trained teen mentors who work with special needs children participating in sports, leisure and social development programs. Children from all communities are welcome to participate. Call a participating Recreation Department for more information.
Union County Recreation Programs for People with Disabilities
Union County Department of Parks and Recreation, 908-527-4781. A full schedule of offerings is available. Activities include karate, golf clinics, culinary delights, fishing derbies, volleyball, recreational swim, yoga, ceramics, zumba, sensory friendly theatre, a series of live performances for children of ALL abilities and their families, and more. Call to be placed on the mailing list.
Watchung Hills Pop Warner Challenger Division
Shortened, non-competitive football and cheer program for boys and girls ages 5-16 with disabilities in Long Hill Twp., Warren Twp., Watchung, Bernards Twp., Berkeley Heights and New Providence.
Westfield Area YMCA
220 Clark St., Westfield, 908-233-2700. Rainbow Fish swim lessons are for ages 3-12; Dragonfly physical and recreation programs are for ages 18-26. Inclusion camp program available.