10 Recreational Activities for Children with Special Needs in Metro Atlanta

Parents of children with developmental and physical disabilities may experience difficulty finding activities which their child can comfortably participate. Ensuring siblings are simultaneously engaged and occupied can be another challenge. Many of the programs listed below are inclusive of typically developing peers too!

Studio Movie Grill (John’s Creek & Duluth)
For families raising children with special needs, private screening of family friendly movies is available. These monthly screenings are FREE for children with special needs and their siblings, with the purchase of a $6 adult ticket. Movies are shown with the lights up and volume lowered. Children are free to walk around, dance, or even talk during the movie.
Ages: All

AMC Sensory Friendly Films (Duluth)
The idea for the program began with a request from a parent of a child with autism for a special screening at AMC Columbia Mall 14 in Columbia, MD. More than 300 children and parents attended the first screening. The program provides families with a special opportunity to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment. The auditoriums dedicated to the program have their lights up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to dance, walk, shout or sing!
Ages: All

AquaMobile Swim School (Your Home)
AquaMobile Swim School is a private swim school that offers high quality swim instruction at clients’ homes throughout a wide range of cities. Having lessons taught in a comfortable environment facilitates the learning process and also saves time by having an instructor come to you!
Ages: 6 months – 85 yrs

Adaptive Swim Aquatics of Georgia (Alpharetta)
Adaptive Aquatics of Georgia can help develop your child’s swimming skills, from learning to independently swim with their face in the water to pre-competitive stroke instruction. Every child learns differently and at their own pace. Adaptive Aquatics is aware of this and prepared to teach children with all types of learning modalities and disabilities. They offer a learn to swim survival program, private one-on-one lessons, semi-private classes, and adapted group classes for children, teens, and adults with special needs. Whatever age or swimming level, Adaptive Aquatics of Georgia can help your child succeed in the water.
Ages: 3+

Atlanta Soccer Association (Multiple Locations)
TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a program for young athletes with cognitive, emotional or physical disabilities, organized by youth soccer association volunteers. The program is designed to bring the opportunity to learn and play soccer to any boy or girl, age 8-19, with a mental or physical disability.  NASA’s TOPSoccer Program was developed and implemented to provide athletes with special needs, a fun and safe soccer environment focusing on the player\’s abilities, not his/her disability. In addition to focusing on the player’s abilities, NASA’s  priority is to build the self-confidence of special athletes. Through NASA\’s TOPSoccer Program, these special young athletes feel they are an integral part of the North Atlanta Soccer Association. It is important that our entire membership embraces, educates us about athletes with special needs, and experience joy that soccer brings to our special players.
Ages: 8-19

Haven Hills Equestrian Center (Fairburn)
This is a forty-three acre farmland located in Fairburn, GA which offers riding lessons. Lessons include basic horse care, tacking up, and riding. They provide equine education for enthusiasts in a no-pressure, hands-on, family friendly environment. Theraputic horsemanship has been added as a service to cater toe special needs children
Ages: 3-70

Moores of Atlanta Chinese Martial Arts (Smyrna)
The Little Warrior program (ages 4-6) focuses on building skills such as hand-eye coordination, balance, self defense and basic martial arts skills. They emphasize discipline and self confidence, as well as having fun! Kids will learn all of this mixed into one awesome program. The students in this program test approximately every 6 weeks on the material they have learned. The Shou Sho Warrior (ages 6-12) focuses on physical fitness, discipline, coordination, agility, building self confidence, and creating a true self defense skill. Students must know all material and maintain a certain level of discipline for their test based on their belt rank. Students are challenged to focus and have fun through the structure and pace of the class. Building character within kids is something that Moore’s is passionate about, in addition to tailoring classes for children with special needs.
Ages: 4-12

The Georgia Ballet (Marietta)
The Dance-Ability program will be open to eight children per semester. The goal of the class is to give children with special needs a traditional dance class experience, while tailoring the class to allow for their comfortable participation. A professional dance instructor will teach the dance class with support from teaching assistants assigned as needed to help the participating children one-on-one. Each participating student receives full tuition for the semester, a uniform for the class, a costume for an end-of-semester performance opportunity, and five tickets to the year-end performance for their family. Funded by the Resurgens Foundation.
Ages: 6-13

Camp Hawkins (Mt. Airy & Baxley)
A summer residential camp for youth ages 8-21 coping with varying developmental disabilities, such as Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorders, learning disorders, Autism, brain injuries and/or other developmental delays. Sessions last five days and serve up to 20 campers each week. Staff to camper ratio is one-on-one to ensure that the needs of each camper are met. Registered nurses are on site at all times, and staff members are trained and CPR certified. In addition to camper attention and support, special dietary needs are also accommodated.
Ages: 8-21

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