Special Needs

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9 Great Programs for Long Island Kids With Special Needs

There is no doubt that people who are challenged with special needs can experience sadness, insecurity, isolation, and exclusion. With increased attention paid to autism, cerebral palsy, dyslexia, and other conditions, research and resources seem to be increasing.

Unfortunately, some of these programs are not publicized sufficiently, even though many families would benefit tremendously from easy access to them. There are, however, several great programs for Long Island kids with special needs. And we’ve compiled a list just for you.

For more educational and developmental programs for Long Island kids, see our classes and enrichment guide or our Long Island Special Needs Guide.

10 Awesome Accessible Playgrounds for New Jersey Kids

New Jersey has a growing number of parks and playgrounds that cater to every outdoor adventurer, particularly children with special needs. Every child has a right to play in his or her own special way, so we’re recognizing some of the best all-access playgrounds the state has to offer.

Featuring ground-level playthings, wide ramps for wheelchairs, belts and buckles for added protection, and plenty of rest and reflection areas to retire to between bouts of fun, these playgrounds are beyond special and well-deserving of their shout-outs!

And now that summer is on the horizon, find more inclusive outdoor fun at the Watchung Sensory Trail, and at Van Saun Park's Harmony Playground, featuring a pond-themed, ADA-accessible splash pad

Autism-Friendly Museum Hours and Cultural Programs in NYC

New York City is one of the most bustling places in the world, which can make outings with any child tough, but things get particularly tricky for parents of kids on the autism spectrum, who might worry about overstimulation in kid-friendly settings. That’s why many museums and cultural centers have created comfortable, safe spaces for families with special needs to explore, often in tandem with educators and specialists.

We’ve gathered up some of the best of the bunch, from The Met to the Brooklyn Children's Museum to an after-school "Subway Sleuths" program, as well as several FREE options. Peruse our NYC Special Needs Guide for more helpful tips and local programs.

Inclusive Playground Opens in Greenlawn in Suffolk County

Parents with active tots know the value of outdoor play. It helps children gain self-confidence, develop muscle coordination, and burn calories. It also serves as a creative and stimulating outlet for their energy.

This would seem to be especially true for children with special needs. With that in mind, Greenlawn has welcomed a new, inclusive playground to Pickle Park. It makes running, playing, and generally having a good time easy and fun for children of all abilities.

Located in the Town of Huntington, it's a worthy addition to Long Island's top inclusive playgrounds and top playgrounds for toddlers.

Inclusive Playgrounds for Long Island Kids with Special Needs

Inclusive playgrounds allow kids of all ages and abilities to come together in an environment that facilitates shared play. Long Island has so many great playgrounds where kids can just be kids, but here is our list of accessible playgrounds that also include equipment and/or layouts suitable for children with special needs or disabilities.

Looking for more playground fun? See our lists of the best playgrounds on Long Island and the top playgrounds for toddlers. For a complete overview of parks, playgrounds, and family fun hiking trails, check out our guide to Long Island parks and playgrounds.

8 Museums With Special Needs Programs for NYC Kids

Parents of special needs kids take note: Many cultural institutions are raising the bar when it comes to accessibility. While a crowded museum can be overwhelming or inaccessible for special needs kids, some of our favorite kid-centric museums go the extra mile, modifying their educational offerings to accommodate kids of all abilities.

Take, for instance, the Children's Museum of the Arts, where weekends go way beyond the fantastic dot paintings and clay bar sculptures. Here, a trio of programs caters to special-needs visitors with inventive programming meant to meet kids where they are, and encourage artistic exploration for all.

Read on to learn more about the programs at CMA and seven other city museums. While the increased access is priceless, most of the programs are FREE for kids and their families, though some programs may require advance registration. Be sure to click through to the websites for more details.

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