It is hard to find extracurricular activities that our kids are interested in, and that understand our kids. With Autism awareness growing so are the opportunities for inclusion in extracurricular activities! If your kids are interested in sports, inclusive sports teams in the area include:

  • Adapted Karate at Baltimore Martial Arts Academy in Catonsville. Adapted Karate at Baltimore Martial Arts Academy provides a program for children with special physical, intellectual and emotional needs.
  • Allied Sports offers inclusive sports programs such as soccer, bowling and softball to high school students.
  • Baltimore Adapted Recreation and Sports provides recreation and sports programs for individuals with physical and developmental disabilities. Includes bowling, skiing, cycling, kayaking and more.
  • Baltimore Area Special Hockey, an ice hockey league designed for children and adults with traumatic brain injury, Autism and Down Syndrome.

If sports aren’t in hour child’s interest, there are also program for Arts, Theater and exploring nature. These programs include:

  • Access-Ability Sailing, Downtown Sailing Center offers opportunities for individuals with disabilities the opportunity to sail on Saturdays from April-August.
  • Ann Street Players at The Fells Point Corner Theater is a community program that welcomes individuals with disabilities get involved in theater.
  • Augmenting Ability in Harford County offers group and individual Music Therapy and adapted music lessons.
  • Exploration Art School offers programs to students with executive functioning challenges, ADHD, and ASD.

There are also programs out there to serve the entire family. Such programs include:

  • Lighthouse in Catonsville provides Sociabilities social skills groups and family counseling for children and their parents.
  • AMC Sensory-Friendly Films- AMC partnered with the Autism Society to provide a sensory friendly atmosphere for the whole family on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. Participating theaters include: AMC Columbia 14, White Marsh 16, Owings Mills 17, Georgetown 14 and MJ Capital Center 12.
  • The National Aquarium in Baltimore offers special visit times on select dates, early and express entry options, listening devices and other special accommodations for individuals in need.

But the fun doesn’t have to be limited to after school and weekend activities, there are now vacation options that include sensory friendly activities that are inclusive for all families! Surfer’s Healing is a program that has spread to multiple beaches across the country, teaching kids to surf! Surfer’s Healing originated in Southern California, but has spread to beaches all over the country including Ocean City, MD, Mexico and Puerto Rico! For more information on registering and locations check out, https://www.surfershealing.org/. Another great vacation opportunity is Autism on the Sea. Autism on the Sea is a national organization that has teamed up with Royal Cruises to create a sensory friendly atmosphere, as well as experienced staff and great activities to accommodate adults, kids and families with special needs. For more information on Autism on the Sea their website is, https://autismontheseas.com/.

Opportunities for inclusive activities are available for all children, families and interests! For more information on the activities listed above, and for other opportunities visit http://baltimoreschild.com/special-needs-recreation/.

By Michelle Fox

For more information on The Shafer Center contact 410-517-1113 or info@shafercenter.com