special needs sports

Being involved in an exercise or sports program is important for children of all ages. It helps develop coordination, strength and agility; but also strengthens social skills and builds self-confidence. However, when you have a child with special needs, it can sometimes be difficult to find the right program. As I was putting together this list, I was really surprised and impressed with how many programs are available for our little ones. If you know of another program, please let us know in the comments.

North

Morning Dove Therapeutic Riding – Zionsville

What: Morning Dove’s PATH-certified instructors offer programs for children and adults with physical, cognitive or emotional disabilities from therapeutic riding, hippo therapy to specialized programs for military veterans and children with Autism.
When: Weekly sessions are year round.
Fee: Price varies by program.
Contact: 317-733-9393 or contact@morningdovetrc.org
Theraplay – Carmel
What: TherAplay is a not-for-profit pediatric outpatient clinic in Indianapolis that incorporates hippotherapy into pediatric physical and occupational therapy sessions for children age 18 months to 13 years.
When: Year Round
Fee: TherAplay is an in-network provider with Anthem, Cigna, UnitedHealthcare, Children’s Special Healthcare Services, and Indiana Medicaid. There are also options for self-pay and TherAplay’s scholarship program.
Contact: 317-872-4166 or info@childrenstheraplay.org

Special Olympics of Hamilton County – Hamilton County

What: Special Olympics offers year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Competition opportunities are available to athletes of all abilities by offering official events of varying degrees of difficulty and challenge.
When: Various programs are offered throughout the year, check the website for start dates
Cost: Free. Uniforms, equipment and competitions are provided by Special Olympics of Hamilton County

Contact: 317-571-TEAM or SOHCsports@gmail.com

 

Indiana Elite Cheerleading – Noblesville
What: Indiana Elite hosts a special needs cheer squad for children’s of all ages.

When: Weekly Sept – March
Fee: $45 a month, plus the cost of a uniform

Contact: 317-770-9100 or Karlette@comcast.net

 

Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation and The Monon Center – Carmel
What: With hundreds of programs to offer, special needs children can engage in anything from yoga and bowling to swimming, gaming and much more. Those needing specialized accommodations for the Monon Center can apply for a modification evaluation in which a member of the staff will evaluate the child and then set up whatever modification is required.
When: Year Round
Fee: Prices vary by program.
Contact: To schedule your child’s assessment contact Michelle Yadon at 317-573-5245 or myadon@carmelclayparks.com. For general information, contact 317-848-7275 or info@carmelclayparks.com
Carmel Dads’ Club – Carmel
What: Each Saturday throughout the school year, Carmel Dads’ Club participants get together to play a rotating sports schedule, featuring T-ball, soccer, basketball, bowling, tennis and volleyball. In addition, participants also have the opportunity to take part in an annual soap box derby.
When: During the School Year
Fee: Free
Contact: Suzanne Mandel at 317-595-9016 or rsmandel@att.net
Power Kids Indiana – Noblesville

What: Through the sport of gymnastics, Power Kids gives children an opportunity to safely experience a wide range of vestibular and proprioceptive integration, while practicing social skills and building self-esteem.

When: Year round
Fees: an 8 week session is $205 with no additiaonal registration fees
Contact: Brian Jones at -317-523-2824 or Powerkids2003@gmail.com

 

Noblesville Parks and Recreation – Noblesville

What: New to Noblesville Parks and Recreation are a handful of adaptive programs including parent and child yoga, adult yoga and t-ball for ages 12-16. However, they are in the process of expanding their special needs programming and hope to add additional activities.

When: Currently on Spring programs are available, but could change as the program expands
Fees: Vary by program
Contact: Nicole or Cindy at 317-770-5750
DeVeau’s Gymnastics – Fishers

What: DeVeau’s Gymnastics offers an adaptive class for special needs children ages 6-10. Through this class, children child will learn new movements to increase their flexibility, balance, strength, power and endurance.
When: Class time and availability varies. Call for details.

Fees: 10 week sessions are $110 with a $40 enrollment fee
Contact: Chelsea at 317-372-1037 or Chelsea.Stauch@gmail.com
Agape Unbridled Hope – Cicero
What: Offering therapeutic horseback riding, Agape Unbridled helps special needs children ages 4 and up build strength, flexibility, balance, self confidence and coordination.
When: Lessons are available on trails year round or in the heated arena during cooler months.
Fees: Each lesson costs $38 with various payment plans available
Contact: 317-773-7433
TOPSoccer –Noblesville
What: A division of Indiana Soccer, TOPSoccer is a community-based training and team placement program for athletes age 6 and up with mental or physical disabilities.
When: Spring and Fall Soccer Seasons
Fee: Free
Contact: Peter at pete.garin@gmail.com

 

Stony Creek Swim Center – Noblesville

What: Through its Noblesville location, Stony Creek Swim Center offers Aqua Abilities, which is a specialized program for students with unique learning differences.
When: Year Round, classes are once a week
Fee: $74 a month
Contact: 317-773-7399
Fishers YMCA – Fishers
What: YMCA Adapted Programs are designed for children of all ages with mild to moderate special needs. Some programs available include swimming and dance.
When: Year Round
Fee: Varies by program.
Contact: 317-595-9622

Sky Zone – Fishers
What: Sky Zone Fishers offers a special needs time that is meant for those who may need more guidance from a friend, family member, or caretaker.
When: 2nd Monday of each month at 6pm
Fee: The price is $8 per jumper and includes FREE admission for one caretaker.
Contact: 317-572-2999 or amy.mcdonald@skyzone.com

East

Special Olympics of Hancock County – Hancock County
What: Special Olympics offers year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Competition opportunities are available to athletes of all abilities by offering official events of varying degrees of difficulty and challenge.
When: Various programs are offered throughout the year, check the website for start dates
Cost: Free

Contact: Teresa Cook at 317-861-9316 or TTCook@msn.com

 

Edelweiss Equine Assisted Therapy Center – Greenfield
What: Through therapeutic riding, Edelweiss offers opportunities for people ages 5 and up to nurture independence, confidence and trust in a safe and stimulating environment.
When: Classes are offered Monday – Wednesday at 4:30, 6:00, and 7:15

Fee: $40 for a 1-hour lesson
Contact: 317-759-9444 or info@horses4therapy.org

 

TOPSoccer – Greenfield and Lawrence

What: A division of Indiana Soccer, TOPSoccer is a community-based training and team placement program for athletes age 6 and up with mental or physical disabilities.

When: Spring and Fall Soccer Seasons

Fee: Free

Contact: Greenfield – Amy at ajtitus1202@gmail.com; Lawrence – vslivova@iuhealth.org

 

Gymnastics Unlimited – Warren Township
What: With a goal to make sure every child has a chance to shine on stage, Gymnastics Unlimited offers a special needs team where athletes learn a small routine throughout the year and compete at the exhibition level approximately 8 times.
When: Weekly practices year round.
Fee: $30
Contact: 317-897-4648


South

Greenwood Little League: Challenger Division – Greenwood
What: The Challenger Division is designed for children 5-18 who are mentally or physically disabled.
When: Spring Season
Fee: Registration is $50 and includes a shirt and hat.
contact: Trael Kelly at 317-716-2455

 

Archers for Autism – Greenwood
What: Archers for Autsim is an archery club created especially for children on the autism spectrum ages 7-19.

When: The club meets every other Saturday starting in the Spring
Cost: $7 per session and includes equipment
Contact Johnny at jspns77@Gmail.com

 

Special Olympics of Johnson County – Johnson County
What: Special Olympics offers year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Competition opportunities are available to athletes of all abilities by offering official events of varying degrees of difficulty and challenge.
When: Various programs are offered throughout the year, check the website for start dates
Cost: Free (however some sports require a facilities fee). Uniforms and equipment are provided by Special Olympics Johnson County.
Contact: 317-738-7038 or specialolympicsjc@gmail.com

 

Rainbow’s END – Greenwood

What: Rainbow’s END is an organization that allows for kids with special needs to participate in group activities. Programming for children of all ages includes swimming, baseball, and bicycling, with the potential for new activities to be added.

When: Various programs are offered throughout the year, check the website for start dates

Fees: Price varies based on activity & membership to the club.
Contact: rainbowsendoptimistclub@gmail.com

 

TOPSoccer – Franklin Township, Bargersville
What: A division of Indiana Soccer, TOPSoccer is a community-based training and team placement program for athletes age 6 and up with mental or physical disabilities.
When: Spring and Fall Soccer Seasons
Fee: Free
Contact: Franklin Township – Hannah at mangush@uindy.edu; Bargersville – Stephanie at robertsjstephanie@hotmail.com

 

Franklin Township Lead The Challenge Softball – Franklin Township

What: goal of Lead The Challenge is to share the joy and camaraderie of team sports with children who have special needs.

When: Spring Season
Fee:
Contact: 317-869-3249 or LTCSoftball97@aol.com

Baxter YMCA – Perry Township
What: YMCA Adapted Programs are designed for children of all ages with mild to moderate special needs. Some programs available at the Baxter YMCA include swimming, dance and martial arts.
When: Year Round
Fee: Varies by program.
Contact: 317-881-9347

 

West

Special Olympics of Hendricks County – Hendricks County
What: Special Olympics offers year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Competition opportunities are available to athletes of all abilities by offering official events of varying degrees of difficulty and challenge.
When: Various programs are offered throughout the year, check the website for start dates
Cost: Free

Contact: Greg Smith at 317-714-3299 or gregsmith21@comcast.net

 

Optimist Miracle Movers – Hendricks County

What: With a mission to provide special needs individuals with the experience and enjoyment of organized sports, Optimist Miracle Movers offers softball, soccer, bowling and swimming.
When: Varies by program. Check the website for start dates.
Cost: Varies by program.
Contact: info@optimistmiraclemovers.com

 

Fusion Gymnastics – Brownsburg
What: Fusion Gymnastics offers hour-long classes for boys and girls with special needs. Children can participate independently or with a guardian if needed.
When: Class time and availability varies. Call for details.
Fee: Price is $170 for 10 weeks, plus a yearly registration fee
Contact: 317-858-5805

 

Starr Soccer (Hendricks Community Soccer) – Brownsburg

What: Within the Starr Soccer program, Hendricks Community Soccer, offers special needs kids an opportunity to play according to skill level rather than age.

When: Spring and Fall seasons
Fee: Free, including uniform
Contact Dave Romie at -317-858-0399

 

Strides to Success – Plainfield

What: Strides to Success develops custom mental health equine therapy programs for children and adults with a variety of needs.
When: Year Round
Fee: Varies
Contact: 317-838-7002

 

Hendricks Regional Health YMCA – Avon
YMCA Adapted Programs are designed for children of all ages with mild to moderate special needs. Some programs available include swimming.
When: Year Round
Fee: Varies by program.

Contact: 317-273-9622

Central (Inside the Loop)

Special Olympics of Marion County – Marion County
What: Special Olympics offers year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Competition opportunities are available to athletes of all abilities by offering official events of varying degrees of difficulty and challenge.
When: Various programs are offered throughout the year, check the website for start dates.
Cost: Free

Contact: Robbie Ritter at 317-327-7016 or mcspecialo@yahoo.com

TOPSoccer – Butler Area, Westfield
What: A division of Indiana Soccer, TOPSoccer is a community-based training and team placement program for athletes age 6 and up with mental or physical disabilities.
When: Spring and Fall Soccer Seasons
Fee: Free
Contact: Westfield – Shannon at smajeski@indianafirejuniors.com; Butler Area – Tom at thomas.p.markey2@gmail.com
Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana Sports Programs – Marion County
What: RHI Sports specializes in serving youth and adults with spinal cord, orthopedic, neuromuscular, and visual impairments.
When: Various programs are offered throughout the year, check the website for start dates.
Fee: Prices vary
Contact 317-329-2000 or rhisp@rhin.com
http://rhin.com/rhi-sports-program/

 

Joseph Maley Foundation – Pike Township
What: The Joseph Maley Foundation was established in 2008 with the mission, “serving children of all abilities.” Their sports programming offers swimming, running, yoga and t-ball, with plans to offer additional activities in the future.
When: Currently during the spring and summer months, with the potential to expand year round.
Fee: Varies by program.
Contact: Cory Hernandez at 317-525-4438 or coryh@josephmaley.org

 

Power Soccer – Entire State
What: With teams all across Indiana, Power Soccer is a high paced competitive sport for individuals age 5 and up with power wheelchairs.
When: The season runs from September to May with national competitions taking place in June and July.
Fees: Prices vary. So that players can determine if they really like the sport, before investing, equipment is available by loan for up to one year from Power Soccer.
Contact: 317-706-8977 power-soccer@indy.rr.com
Allisonville Challenge Baseball – Washington Township
What: The Challengers division of the Allisonville Youth Baseball and Softball League is open to kids ages 8 – 18 with physical or emotional disabilities that enjoy the game of baseball.
When: Saturday mornings during the Spring season
Fees: Participation is $40 and includes a shirt and hat.
Contact: Bet or John Leemhuis at 317-796-0867 or jleemhuis@plvkcpa.com
Dream Season – Indianapolis
What: Dream Season offers a series of 2 hour, non-contact football camps to males and females ages 12 and up with intellectual disabilities. Each camp is led by local high school, college and NFL players and gives kids the feeling of playing in a regulation game. They can choose to attend one camp or several to complete the season.
When: Various dates throughout the year
Fees:
Contact: 765-474-0709 or DreamSeasonFootball@gmail.com

YMCA of Greater Indianapolis – Multiple Locations
What: YMCA Adapted Programs are designed for children of all ages with mild to moderate special needs. Some programs available at the Baxter YMCA include swimming, dance and martial arts.
When: Year Round
Fee: Varies by program.
Contact: 317-266-9622 or find your branch here http://indyymca.ebookview.net

IUPUI Motor Activity Clinic – IUPUI Campus
What: The Motor Activity Clinic at IUPUI provides affordable physical education opportunities to children with disabilities ages 3-15. Some activities within the clinic include dance, puzzles, group activities and games, bike riding, obstacle courses, ball activities, crafts and gymnastics.
When: Weekly sessions (usually Saturdays) during the fall and spring semesters.
Fee: $35 a semester
Contact: Dr. Katie Stanton-Nichols at 317-274-2295 or kstanton@iupui.edu
Indy Parks