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Special needs programs for kids in New York City

These special needs programs around the city let children participate in everything from music lessons to theraputic horseback-riding. 

  • Special needs programs for kids in New York City

    Dancing Dreams

  • Special needs programs for kids in New York City

    Fireflies

  • Special needs programs for kids in New York City

    Gallop NYC

  • Photograph: Courtesy the JCC

    Special needs programs for kids in New York City

    Kulam

  • Special needs programs for kids in New York City

    Snack NYC

  • Special needs programs for kids in New York City

    Snack NYC

Special needs programs for kids in New York City

Dancing Dreams


Ranging from helping high-functioning kids with learning disabilities and Asperger's to helping those with more serious differences, these special needs classes allow children to become ballerinas, sports stars and musicians in environments that work within kids' limitations without limiting their potential.

RECOMMENDED: Kids' classes: NYC's ultimate guide to the best programs

Dancing Dreams
Founded in 2002 by Joann Ferrara, a licensed pediatric physical therapist, this program allows girls with physical and medical challenges to become little ballerinas. Each dancer is accompanied in class by a high-school student trained to assist her, and the yearlong program culminates in a recital. Call for location (516-659-8704, dancingdreams.org). Yearlong session begins in September. Families pay what they wish. Ages 3 and up.

Daniel's Music Foundation
This nonprofit offers free musical instruction to all individuals with disabilities in the NYC area. Classes include recreational rhythm, band, composition, guitar and keyboard. Go Fish! Studios, 220 E 86th St between Second and Third Aves, lower level (212-289-8912, danielsmusic.org). Fall session begins in September. Free. Ages 3 and up.

FirefliesNY
Led by a special educator with a black belt in tae kwon do, classes take kids through a blend of the martial art, music and movement, balance, stretching and breathing routines. The program is guided by the Applied Behavior Analysis method and incorporates recommendations from OTs, PTs and other therapists. Various locations throughout Brooklyn (718-355-9480, firefliesny.com). Ongoing enrollment. Ten classes $695, single class $80. Ages 3 to 15.

Gallop
Therapeutic horseback-riding programs help kids with autism, cerebral palsy, developmental disorders or other special needs to meet individual social, emotional and physical goals. Various locations in Brooklyn and Queens (917-740-4696, gallopnyc.org). Fall session begins in mid-September. Ten classes $400. Ages 4 and up.

Kulam
Funded by the JCC in Manhattan, this program includes swimming, soccer, gymnastics, Jewish culture, yoga and music-therapy classes for kids with a variety of needs, including high-functioning autism and learning disabilities. 334 Amsterdam Ave at 76th St (646-505-4444, jccmanhattan.org). Fall session begins Sept 8. Twelve weeks $215–$275. Ages 3 and up.

Powerplay
Specially trained instructors take kids through gymnastics and movement routines that develop general motor skills, increase muscle tone and improve coordination. 432 Third Ave at 7th St, Gowanus, Brooklyn (718-369-9880, powerplaykids.com). Fall session begins in September. Visit website for price information. Ages 2 to 9.

Ready, Set, Play!

Play groups that develop social skills are available with or without an integration option, in which children ages two and up practice what they've learned in class with kids in mainstream classes at the Park Preschool. 85 Warren St between Greenwich St and West Broadway (646-641-6464, readysetplayinc.com). Classes ongoing. Ten weeks $1,400, five weeks $750, single class $160. Ages 2 and up.

SNACK
The Special Needs Activity Center for Kids offers classes ranging from soccer and swimming to basketball and socialization for children with autism and other special needs. *Go Fish! Studios, 220 E 86th St between Second and Third Aves, lower level (212-439-9996, snacknyc.com). *St. Bartholomew's, 109 E 50th St at Park Ave. Fall session begins in October. Sixteen weeks $640-$2,000, eight weeks $320-$1,000. Ages 3 and up.


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