Local Community Resources
As a parent, having a child with special needs can be challenging, especially when trying to find activities that will be inclusive. We have compiled a few resources in our area that you may find helpful. This is in no way an endorsement, but is simply for your information. If you find other activities or resources that we can share with other families, please let us know!
Specialneedskidsinfo.com -- A wealth of resources from pediatricians to playgrounds. Here you can also find a step-by-step guide and helpful hints after you get a diagnosis for your child.
Celebratingspecialchildren.org An inclusive website that pertains to certain disabilities and services or programs that will help support the family. For instance, there is respite care, playgrounds, support groups and varies agencies.
FULLY ACCESSIBLE PARK PLAYGROUNDS
Clemyjontri Park in McLean This unique playground, a Fairfax County Park Authority park, is a place where children of all abilities can play side by side, "where children who use wheelchairs, walkers or braces, or who have sensory or developmental disabilities, can have a parallel playground experience of fun and exploration." Other features include a carousel and picnic pavilion.
Chessie's Big Backyard at Lee District Park in Franconia This Fairfax Park playground with a Chesapeake Bay theme for kids 5-12 incorporates slides, swings, and other equipment designed for use by all children, including those with special needs. The park also has the "Our Special Harbor" spray ground and a Family Recreation Area with a fully accessible tree house.
INDOOR PLAYGROUNDS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS PROGRAMS
Monkey Joe's Dulles This huge inflatable play and party center in nearby Sterling (just past Dulles Airport) features great fun for kids 12 and under, with wall-to-wall slides, jumps, and obstacle courses, plus a separate toddler play area. It's open daily for walk-in play, and on the fourth Wednesday of each month it hosts Exceptional Kids Night. On these nights, Monkey Joe's (a FairfaxFamilyFun.com sponsor!) closes early to the general public to give families with special needs time to play. Admission is free for kids with special needs and just $5 per sibling.
Wings to Fly Therapy and Play Center Located in Chantilly, this is "an integrated therapy and recreational center that empowers families to become their own experts of their children's potential. Along with therapy programs (occupational , speech and language, music, art) and other services, it offers clients, their siblings, and the general public a chance to enjoy the occupational therapy equipment and other spaces for fun and sensory exploration (open play times vary; a fee applies).
Virginia Flight Trampoline Park Flight holds an exclusive jump time for our jumpers with special needs. Jumpers with special needs jump for $8/hour. One caretaker or parent jumps free with each special needs ticket purchase. Each additional Family member jumps for $9/hour. For large groups we ask that you please call ahead to make sure we can accommodate your group.
SPECIAL PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
My Gym Chantilly special needs classes: This renowned children's fitness center now offers a class for children with special needs on Wednesday afternoons. The program integrates My Gym's philosophies with an emphasis on gross motor skills and socialization.
FANtastic Fridays An ongoing project of the Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services Division, Family Autism Night (FAN), offered monthly, is a free drop-in program for individuals on the autism spectrum ages 2-22 years old and their families. The evening includes a spotlight activity for everyone to enjoy -- it could be games, arts and crafts, a night of swimming, for example -- with other leisure activities available. The goal is to provide the community with opportunities for play, interaction, and socializing with other families in a safe environment. Upcoming events are listed on the News & Information page. Spaces are often limited so advance registration is recommended
Sensory Friendly Films
AMC movie Theaters offers kids’movies at a reasonable price with low lighting and no previews. See the following movie theaters in our area:
MJ Capital Center 12
Potomac Mills 18
Rio Cinemas 18
St. Charles Town Center 9
Tysons Corner 16
ADAPTIVE SPORTS/RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES
Therapeutic Recreation Programs for Children, Teens, and Young Adults: Fairfax County also offers many ongoing specialized programs for kids and adults of various ability levels. These include summer programs, water/swimming activities, wheelchair programs, and beepball, the adaptive form of baseball for the visually impaired and legally blind -- and an integrated program for preschoolers with or without disabilities to play together. Fairfax County Public School provides a packet every year with information regarding recreational resources and summer camps for children with special needs. Contact the Parent Resource Center.
The AMAA is a resource for students and instructors to gather and share ideas, curriculum, and other adaptive training information while breaking down martial arts training stereotypes associated with the disabled.
Poac-nova.org Adapted sports and leisure activities (i.e., challenge baseball, swimming, soccer) as well as traveling tips via links
eddiesclub.org Offers recreational and social programs, as well as Challenger baseball for kids through adults with special needs.