Special Needs

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.

Boston's Top 5 Accessible Live Performance Venues for Families with Special Needs

Mommy Poppins Boston is delighted to share this guest post from Amber Bobnar of WonderBaby.org, a support and information site for parents of children who are visually impaired (featured in our list of favorite blogs in 2013):

We take our family out to concerts in the Boston area almost every weekend, and my eight-year-old son, Ivan, is in a wheelchair and totally blind. Accessibility is very important to us!

Below you’ll find my rundown of our favorite accessible theaters and live performance venues in the Boston area. I share pros and cons based on a multitude of special needs because I realize that the criteria for what’s accessible will be different for each family. Some kids are in wheelchairs, some have sensory issues, some have hearing or visual impairment and all will react differently in different environments! Find one that looks like a good match for your family and give it a shot! Remember, if it doesn’t work out you can always leave. No big deal. 

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