Special Needs

10 Summer Camps for Westchester Kids with Special Needs

For children with special physical, emotional, learning or medical needs, it can often be difficult to find summer camp programs designed specifically with their challenges in mind. While many traditional summer camps can accommodate a child with some minor needs, those designed to play on the strengths of special needs children while helping them develop in areas of weakness can often offer campers an experience unlike any other. 

We've rounded up ten summer camps in and around Westchester County that cater to children with special needs, providing individual attention with low staff to student ratios coupled with programs designed to let kids have fun, learn and explore while developing social skills and confidence in a nurturing and safe environment. Read on for more details on special needs summer camps in Westchester and the lower Hudson Valley area. Looking for more camp options? Check out our ever-growing Summer Camp Guide and our Camp Directory

Overnight Summer Camps for Kids with Food Allergies in CA, OR, & WA

With summer right around the corner, parents have a lot of planning on their plates to ensure a fun-filled time away from school. There are many overnight camp choices for kids without dietary restrictions, but let's face it: for those who do have dietary concerns - gluten-free, peanut-free, vegan, or other needs - the list is not as long. For those moms and dads who want overnight camps as a potential activity for their kids this summer, here's a list to consider, especially if diet is a concern.

The following camps are located throughout the west of the US and have a focus on special diets and accommodating food allergies.

6 Sensory Play Spaces in Westchester

In recent years, Westchester County has seen an explosion in the number of parents seeking services, enrichment and experiences for children who experience sensory information in non-standard ways. In response, businesses and institutions across Westchester have created programs to match the needs of local families. While there are many places where parents can go for occupational and physical therapy, there are also times when kids just want to do what kids do best--play! We found six local gyms and play spaces that open their doors to kids who experience the world in unique ways, helping them develop motor skills, core strength, balance, coordination, sensory integration and more in a fun and engaging way.

Play Time for Long Island Children with Special Needs

Play time is crucial to childhood development—it teaches children basic sensory functions, as well as how to interact and get along with the people around them. Playtime with a child with special needs can be tricky because most organized play spaces aren’t adaptive to the needs of some children. Luckily, Long Island has all kinds of play areas geared toward all children.

And for more kid-friendly activities, be sure to check out our Long Island Events Calendar.

Our New Camp Guide and Business Listings with Improved Search & Features

Last fall, we asked our readers to take a short survey and share their thoughts about how to improve our Summer Camp Guide. Overwhelmingly, we heard that you wanted a combination of our editorial recommendations, plus the ability to search listings and find recommendations from other parents.

So we're happy to debut our newly updated Camp Guide and our Camp Directory, now featuring an improved search, parent reviews and star ratings, and other enhancements. Even better: Our overhauled Directory isn't just for camps. We have listings for party places and services, and enriching classes, too.

Read on to find out more or head straight to our Day Camp Guide and Directory to browse the listings and leave reviews for your favorite programs.

What Is a Charter School and How To Find One in Los Angeles

In last week's Mommy Poppins LA schools feature, we provided an overview of school choice and promised more information on each of the available choices. This week, due to rapidly approaching application deadlines, we are focusing on independent charter schools, attempting to separate myth from reality and address commonly asked questions, including: What is a charter school? Why are so many families choosing charter schools? What sets charter schools apart from traditional public schools? Why is there controversy around charter schools? And how do we build alliances between traditional neighborhood schools and charter schools?

Special Needs-Friendly Ski Resorts Near NYC: Adaptive Winter Sports Programs for Kids of Different Abilities

Winter is a wonderful season for outdoor fun—just ask my three young snow-loving kids. In fact, there are so many fantastic skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing resorts near New York City, it's difficult to choose.

But since I'm also a mom to a teenager with special needs who isn't into winter sports, that makes our decision all the more challenging. He is both physically and cognitively disabled, and the thought of struggling onto lifts, into gear, up hills and through crowds doesn't appeal to him—not to mention the possibility of wiping out. So my family needs a resort that's able to accommodate children of all ages as well as abilities.

Happily, there are some amazing adaptive winter sports programs at resorts within a few hours of NYC, and some are low cost or even FREE. Here are five ski programs for special needs families.

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