Recreation and Sports for Children and Youth with Special Needs**

Visit these organizations and resources to find recreation opportunities for your family and child with special needs.

Photo credit: Outdoors for All


Baseball: Little League Challenger Division – Adaptive little league baseball program for youth with physical and intellectual challenges. Visit to find a Challenger Division near you.

Cycling: Adaptive Cycle Resource List – List of suppliers for adaptive cycles. Prepared by Outdoors for All Foundation at

Horse Assisted TherapyHorse Assisted Therapies: PATH International – The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) promotes safety and optimal outcomes in horse-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs. Visit the “Find a Center” section of their website to find a horse therapeutic center near you.

Soccer: Top Soccer – The Outreach Program for Soccer (TOP) is for players 4 and older who have developmental and physical disabilities. The program is based on skill level, not age. Players are paired with volunteer buddies who help them with the game. 23 programs are located throughout the state.

Swimming: Swim Lessons – Adaptive aquatics programs offered at some YMCA locations provide swimmers of all abilities and ages swim lessons in a small, structured class, personalized to meet their needs. Specialized instructors teach both swimming and social skills. Parents and caregivers are welcome in the water during lessons.

Multiple Sports:
Special Olympics of Washington – Sports programs for children and youth with intellectual disabilities. Individuals are eligible for training and competition at age eight with no upper age limit. The “Young Athletes” program is for children with and without intellectual disabilities, ages 2 to 7 years old. It introduces basic sport skills such as running, kicking and throwing. Find your local Special Olympics community.

Seattle Adaptive Sports – Programs include wheelchair basketball, sled hockey, power soccer, track and field and youth mentoring throughout the year. Annual events for sports clinics, camps and tournaments provide skill building and competitive application. Most programs are in the Puget Sound region. Here’s a link for sports and recreation programs offered across Washington and the U.S.

Outdoor Recreation

Outdoors For All Programs and ActivitiesOutdoors for All – Outdoors for All enriches the lives of children and adults with disabilities and their families through year-round adaptive outdoor recreation programs. Programs include snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross country, downhill skiing, cycling, hiking, yoga, kayaking, day camps, rock-climbing, camping, military programs and custom events.

Fishing and Hunting: 
Cast for Kids – C.A.S.T for Kids Foundation hosts annual fishing and boating events for children with special needs. Their goal is to expose children, who may not otherwise get the opportunity, to the sport of fishing and the enjoyment of the outdoors. Visit their calendar to find an event near you.

Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife – List of ADA compliant water access sites across Washington.

Youth Outdoors Unlimited – Washington based non-profit organization dedicated to take youth diagnosed with life threatening illnesses or physical disabilities hunting or fishing.

Camping and State Parks:
ADA Accessible State Parks – List of accessible state parks and campgrounds in Washington. Includes parks with accessible trails, restrooms and other services. Within your park of interest, click on “View Amenities & Services” to get specific information on how the park is accessible.

ADA accessible-Coastal areas – Provides information on the level of accessibility for coastal parks in Washington.

Discounted Passes – Washington State Parks offers passes that reduce or waive camping, moorage, watercraft launch fees and day use for people with disabilities. Passes are valid only at Washington state parks. Application for disability pass.

National Parks, Monuments, Forests, Wildlife Refuge & Fishing Services Access Pass – The Access pass is a free, lifetime pass to many public recreation sites in the U.S. Available to citizens or permanent residents that have been medically determined to have a permanent disability. At many sites, the pass also provides a discount on fees (such as camping, swimming, boat launching, and guided tours).

Looking for activities in other states?
Visit the directory of organizations across the U.S. offering adaptive sports and recreation. (via Exceptional Parent).

**Disclaimer: The Center for Children with Special Needs has not vetted or formally reviewed the individual programs on this list. The inclusion or exclusion of any resource in this directory does not imply endorsement or disapproval from Seattle Children’s, the Center for Children with Special Needs or the Washington State Department of Health.

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