Big Apple Day Program
Photograph: Courtesy Big Apple Day Program Big Apple Day Program

Summer camps: Special needs camps for kids in New York City

Children with special needs build skills while meeting new friends and having a blast at these summer camps in and around New York City.

By Mary Squillace, Lindsey Garland and Lizzie Plaugic

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer camps in NYC

Ranging from helping high-functioning kids with learning disabilities and Asperger's to helping those with more serious differences, these special needs camps allow children to play sports, take field trips and enjoy music activities in environments that work within kids' limitations without limiting their potential.

Special needs camps

92nd Street Y's Camp Bari Tov and Camp Tova

Things to do Camps
Kids with developmental disabilities who require one-on-one supervision participate in a number of fun-filled camp activities, including swimming, adaptive sports, art, music, nature and playground time, at Camp Bari Tov. Counselors all have a focused background in special education; on Fridays they accompany the campers on field trips. For a small-group setting, try Camp Tova; there, children with learning disabilities and other developmental challenges make friends and strengthen their creative, social and physical skills. Counselors, all of whom have a background in special education, guide the kids as they swim, play sports and make art projects. On Fridays the campers travel to fun off-site destinations, such as the beach, the zoo, amusement parks and bowling alleys. Camp runs in a single eight-week session June 30–Aug 19, Mon–Fri 8am–5pm. $6,100. (Space is limited.) Free round-trip bus transportation provided to and from the 92nd Street Y. Ages 5 to 13.

Kicking the Spectrum

Things to do
Martial arts practice combines with other low-key activities to create the ultimate camp experience for students with special needs. Campers enjoy 3-hour sessions of engaging activities including karate, soccer, yoga, music and arts & crafts. Designed to promote socialization, increase self-confidence and develop awareness, the program helps children expand beyond their limitations. Session 1 runs June 30–July 3, 9am–12pm, 1pm–4pm or 9am–4pm. One week of morning or afternoon sessions $470, one week of full day sessions $930. Session 2 runs Aug 18–22, 9am–12pm, 1pm–4pm or 9am–4pm. One week of morning or afternoon sessions $590, one week of full day sessions $1,170. Individual day and session options available. Ages 3 and up.
Watch Me Grow Camp
Photograph: Watch Me Grow

Watch Me Grow Camp

Things to do Camps Gramercy
Preschoolers of all developmental levels can improve their socialization, motor and language skills through indoor and outdoor activities led by a licensed Occupational Therapist. Campers are grouped according to developmental level where they’ll play games and learn in the Watch Me Grow’s 4,000 sq. foot sensory gym. Camp runs July 7–Aug 15, Mon–Fri 9am–noon. Extended hours available for additional fee. Six-week session $3,400. $150 discount if you register by March 15, 2014. Ages 3 to 5.

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