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Special Needs: The Biggest Guide

Adaptive, Sensory Friendly, Accessible Places and Resources in Metro Detroit & Surrounding Areas

THe Biggest Guide To Special Needs

If you’re looking for ideas for special needs, The Biggest Guide lists resources such as camps, special education, fun activities and things to do, inclusive and boundless playgrounds, as well as special programs in Metro Detroit and surrounding areas,
Check out The Biggest Guide to Special Needs:

Camp Fish Tales – Pinconning, MI

Camp Fish Tales is a year-round independent non-profit camp, conference and retreat center. This barrier-free camp, for people of all ages and all disabilities, is located 67 acres s at the corner of Erickson and Old State Rd. between Linwood and Pinconning, just north of the Great Lakes Bay Region.

Camp Able – Canton, MI

Camp A.B.L.E. is designed for individuals with disabilities. This camp offers unique opportunities to enhance social skills, reinforce gross and fine motor skills and foster independence. We attend field-trips two times a week, from zoo’s to bowling. On Monday, Wednesday and Fridays we participate in different themed activities and welcome guest speakers. We also swim at the Summit on the Park.

Kids In Motion Summer Camps

Incorporating all therapies: Gross and Fine motor skills, sensory activities, speech groups, social skills, outdoor group play, swimming & much More!

Camp Tall Tree – Howell, MI

At Camp Tall Tree, we believe in creating a world that fits our campers, rather than shaping our campers to fit the world. To that end, we consider camper perspective and needs in all that we plan and do. This includes: Challenge by choice activities, Visual expectations and reminders, Sensory break areas, including access to quiet spaces during any noisy parts of the day, Structured & predictable daily schedule, Access to visual & written communication systems with staff.

SCAMP – Rochester Avon Recreation Authority, Rochester, MI

The philosophy of SCAMP is to provide a safe, enjoyable, and exciting experience for all SCAMPers in our care. The opportunity to gain new skills through activity, involvement, as well as life lessons from staff guidance is a fundamental aspect of our philosophy. We strive to meet each SCAMPer’s individual needs and provide an atmosphere whereby they can succeed.

OUR Camp – Northville, MI

O.U.R. Camp is a specialized summer day camp for young children with developmental needs. Its purpose is to provide continuity with school year programs and to stimulate the development of cognitive and social skills during the summer months. Activities are designed to promote improved self-images and group interaction skills. Activities include music, movement, arts and crafts, games and dramatic play to encourage the development of language and motor skills.

Skyline Camp & Retreat Center – Almont, MI

A joy-filled week of fun, folks and food for adults with special needs. Spend time with friends, new and old, visiting farm animals, and practicing your archery skills. We will sing, dance, drum, swim, and fish. Enjoy making activity choices to join in sports & games, gardening, cooking, boating, crafts, puzzles, hayrides, therapeutic horseback riding, and campfires.

Detroit Institute For Children

DIC currently serves children with special needs in over 180 schools, Head Start, and Early Intervention programs throughout Michigan

WizKid Summer Camps – Autism Alliance of Michigan – Virtual

Michigan Virtual has partnered with WizKid Learning to offer the hottest
curriculum in exciting game design subjects like Roblox, Minecraft, coding,
and more!

Play-Place Autism & Special Needs Center – Sterling Heights, MI

Play-Place’s unparalleled destination of education, therapy, recreation and support will impact the unemployment rate of people with disabilities as well as help shave the nation’s $137 billion per year cost of autism (which in 10 years it is anticipated will rise to 200-400 billion – 60% of which is for adult services). Programs, Teen Nights, Birthday Parties, Haircuts, Creative Studio, Play Structures, Activities and Other Services.

TR Buddy Soccer – Independence Township, MI

TR Buddy Soccer is a non-competitive recreational league for boys and girls, ages 7-14, with cognitive disabilities, with or without physical impairments.  Each player is paired with a buddy, ages 10-17, to assist them as needed.  Sessions will be held at Clintonwood Park, 6000 Clarkston Rd.  

Oakland Parks Adaptive Recreation – Oakland County, MI

Inclusion services are offered so that individuals with disabilities can participate in any program or event hosted by Oakland County Parks and Recreation. A certified therapeutic recreation specialist coordinates programs for individuals with disabilities and provides training to staff and volunteers to assist individuals during general recreation programs. Partnerships with more than 30 non-profit agencies, schools and disabled sports organizations enable Oakland County Parks and Recreation to cooperatively provide unique recreational options. 

Wheelchair Hockey League – Pinckney, MI

The Wheelchair Hockey League (WCHL) is Michigan’s only adaptive floor-hockey league. The purpose of this league is to provide an appropriate means for persons in wheelchairs to have the opportunity to play in a competitive floor hockey league and have the chance to engage in the camaraderie and excitement of the sport.

Austism Dance Therapy: Proud to Be Me – Virtual

We help encourage socialization between children, physical exercise, & awareness of intellectual, developmental, and sensory impairments. We hold beginner-level dance & movement classes, designed for elementary & middle schoolers with special needs. The free class is also designed to help refine and improve motor skills, concentration, social/communication abilities, general happiness, and more.

Canton Leisue Services Therapeutic Recreaction – Inclusive Recreation Services – Canton, MI

Canton Leisure Services is committed to an inclusive approach to recreation, which allows for individuals with disabilities to participate in programs and activities as fully as possible, while providing reasonable accommodations.

USA Hockey – Plymouth, MI

USA Hockey is committed to fostering a welcoming environment for all by building a diverse, equitable and inclusive game. We celebrate every race, gender and background to unite as one community. We believe meaningful action can positively affect important change in our sport and carry over into our everyday lives.

The Adaptive MoGo Bike Share Program – Detroit, MI / Ferndale, MI

Adaptive MoGo offers cycling options for riders of all abilities! With 16 cycles including recumbent tricycles, upright cargo tricycles, hand tricycles, tandem bicycles, tandem tricycles, side-by-side quadricycles, and a box-bike, Adaptive MoGo accommodates a wide range of rider needs.

Adaptive Programs – Rochester Avon Recreation Authority, Rochester, MI

Our adaptive recreation staff would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.  We would also like to be sure that each participant is enrolling in the correct program based on individual interests, needs, and personal goals.  

Team Guts – Ferndale, MI

Team GUTS™ is committed to improving the health, fitness and overall well-being of those in our community with special needs and disabilities. We are doing this by offering various adaptive fitness programs in a fun and recreational setting.

Downriver Panthers – Flat Rock, MI

Do you or someone you love have a diagnosis that keeps you from participating in sports or other recreational activities? If so, the Downriver Panthers is your team!  Becoming a member is FREE! We accept members of all disabilities, all ages, and all residences. We welcome friends and family to join us in most of our activities.  While being a Panther is free, we do fundraise year round to keep costs to members as low as possible (if not free).

Sterling Heights Adaptive Recreation – Sterling Heights, MI

Adaptive Recreation offers programs and activities designed to meet the neurodiversity needs of individuals who have developmental delays, cognitive impairments, physical impairments, or autism. All our programs through Sterling Heights Parks and Recreation Department are inclusive and we welcome anyone to enjoy all that is offered! The sports and activities you find within the Adaptive Recreation program are specialized to meet the community integration, social, and recreation needs of residents and non-residents who are looking for non-inclusive opportunities.

Troy Adaptive Recreation – Troy, MI

We provide quality recreational opportunities for community members with disabilities. This specialized programming offers those with physical, cognitive, developmental, or other acquired disabilities the chance to fully participate in their community, with focus on health, wellness, and recreation for all. We provide programs for all ages and are always evaluating what the community is looking for.

Adaptive Sports Leagues – Rochester Avon Recreation Authority, Rochester, MI

RARA has seasonal events, sports leagues, clubs and meet-ups for adaptive or special needs children, teens, young adults, and adults

Miracle League – Easterseals of Michigan – Southfield, MI / Orion Twp, MI

Home to Michigan’s FIRST baseball field for children with any physical or cognitive disability, offering the true Major League experience. Easterseals Miracle League of Michigan provides an organized baseball program for children and adults with special needs in a safe, friendly environment

Inclusively Fit – Sterling Heights, MI

Inclusively Fit is a 5000 sq. ft. professionally staffed and fully equipped fitness center designed with the special needs community in mind. In addition to our culture of caring, we employ Adaptive Fitness practices to ensure each wellness program meets the needs of the individual. Our success is measured in the accomplishments of our clients. We think they say it better than we ever could.

LEGOland – Auburn Hills, MI

Sensory sensitive adults are welcome to visit during Sensory Friendly Mornings without a child (age 16 or under) in the party until the attraction opens to the general public. During Sensory Friendly Mornings, we’ll reduce the lighting, turn off music & disable distracting stimuli for an hour before we open to the general public. This event is perfect for our friends on the autism spectrum.

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium – Auburn Hills, MI

Sensory sensitive adults are welcome to visit during Sensory Friendly Mornings without a child (age 16 or under) in the party until the attraction opens to the general public.

Urban Air Adventure Park – Livonia, Oxford, Sterling Heights, MI

An event specifically designed for children with Autism and special needs to enjoy time at the park without loud music, flashing lights- and to have a lot of fun! See calendar for timing and details.

Chuck E. Cheese – Canton, Sterling Heights, MI

We open 2 hours early on the first Sunday of every month, specifically for children with autism and other special needs. • Reduced lighting and noise. • Food and games offered. • Trained and caring staff.

Emagine Entertainment – Movie Night Out

What does Sensory Friendly mean? Brighter house lights and lower volume. *Note: there are no modifications made to the film. Audience interaction (movement, speaking, singing) & electronic device (phone, tablet, etc.) usage are allowed. Guests are welcome to bring a safe snack for any food allergies/restrictions. *Participating locations: Birch Run (MI), Canton (MI), Hartland (MI), Macomb (MI), Novi (MI), Rochester Hills (MI), Saline (MI), Woodhaven (MI) 

Scarlet’s Playground – Commerce Township, MI

Scarlet’s Smile, a 501(c)3 organization with the mission of building a barrier-free all-inclusive playground, was named after Scarlet, a wonderful six-year-old who was diagnosed with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) at the age of eight months. After visiting several playgrounds that segregated children with disabilities, it became the dream of Scarlet’s Smile to build a playground that all children, regardless of ability, could recreate equally and enjoy together for years to come.

Michigan Science Center – Detroit, MI

We are proud to participate in the Museums for All program. When you show your SNAP EBT card and picture ID, general admission tickets are only $3/person for up to four people in your party. Offer valid in person only. MiSci puts you at the center of science by making sure all our guests have a safe and comfortable visit. If you have any specific concerns, please give us a call at 313.577.8400.

The Henry Ford / Greenfield Village – Dearborn, MI

Sensory-Friendly Saturday is an event designed for guests on the autism spectrum and with other sensory processing disorders. For this event, a variety of accommodations, activities and more have been put into place to create an inclusive, welcoming and safe space for our guests. Prior to this event, staff members of The Henry Ford participated in Michigan Autism Safety Training (MAST) provided by the Autism Alliance of Michigan to better understand the characteristics of autism and how to recognize and communicate with someone with autism.

Sky Zone – Canton, Shelby Township, MI

Enjoy the freedom of jumping. Sensory hours provide a quieter, toned-down jumping experience for those with special needs.

Bowlero – Royal Oak, MI

We are a Certified Autism Center. Join us on Wednesdays from 4pm-6pm for special low sensory hours designed for players on the spectrum or with other special needs. All you can bowl, 2 hours with shoe rental included for up to 5 players per lane: $7 per player. Opt to bowl with the league or on your own lane as capacity allows.

AMC Theatres – Star Gratiot, Livonia 20, Forum 30, Birchwood

AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! Our Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Wednesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month. Please check your local theatre listings for specific showtimes, and don’t forget to share your family fun with #AMCSensoryFriendly.

Boundless™ Playground at High Point School
1735 S. Wagner Road, Ann Arbor

Centennial Playground at Gallup Park Universal Access
3000 Fuller Rd, Ann Arbor

Scarlet’s Playground at Dodge Park in Commerce Township
180 Commerce Rd, Commerce Charter Twp, MI 48382

Dad Butler Playfield Boundless Playground™
2034 E. Eight Mile Road, Detroit

Delray Community Center Boundless™ Playground
420 S. Leigh Street, Detroit

Let Them Play Playground at Friendship Park
2280 W. Clarkston Road, Lake Orion

Rotary Park Universally Accessible
32300 Six Mile Road, Livonia

Cooke School
21200 Taft Road, Northville

McKinley Barrier-Free Park
31500 Grove St., Fraser

Wing Lake Development Center Playground
6490 Wing Lake Road, Bloomfield Hills

Frog Hollow Boundless Playground

Thornton Creek Elementary
46180 W 9 Mile Road, Novi

Hardy Elementary School
24650 Collingswood Road, South Lyon

Children’s Play Farm at Inglenook Park Boundless™ Playground
20901 West 12 Mile Road, Southfield

Beech Woods Park Wheelchair Accessible Playground
22200 Beech Rd, Southfield, MI 48033

Paradise Penisula Playscape at Waterford Oaks County Park
1702 Scott Lake Road, Waterford

All Kids Playground at Hess Hathaway Farm Park
825 South Williams Lake Road, Waterford

Play 4 All at Soroptimist Park
5100 Woodward Street, Wayne

Lodge Playground at Marshbank Park
28015 Hiller Road, West Bloomfield

Play 4 All Boundless Playground
5100 Woodward St., Wayne

The Monroe Welcome Center Playground
21200 Taft Road, Northville

Check out the Michigan Accessible Playground Directory as well as Boundless Playground™ locations.

Identity Salon – Grand Blanc, MI

Wendy Pruett- Williams and Identity Salon to offer a sensory friendly hair care experience to children, teens, and adults living with autism. See the flyer below for more detailed information and contact Wendy directly with any questions and/or to schedule an appointment. Thank you Wendy!!

Autism Alliance of Michigan

We are leading collaborative efforts across the state that will improve the quality of life for individuals with autism through education, access to comprehensive services, community awareness, inclusion efforts, and coordinated advocacy.

Autism Home Support Services

Transform person-centered behavioral health by advancing measurement science, establishing performance-based standards, increasing access to quality care, and leading community collaboration.

Early Autism Services

At Early Autism Services, we are passionate about the potential of your child. Since our founding in 2008, we’ve believed the best way to develop that potential is through proactive, personalized Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy programs that enable families to work hand in hand with licensed professionals. We offer high-quality ABA services in Detroit and throughout the United States, Australia, and India.

Job Accommodation Network

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on job accommodations and disability employment issues. Serving customers across the United States and around the world for more than 35 years, JAN provides free one-on-one practical guidance and technical assistance on job accommodation solutions, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related legislation, and self-employment and entrepreneurship options for people with disabilities. 

The Friendship Circle – West Bloomfield Township

Friendship Circle of Michigan is a non-profit organization affiliated with Lubavitch of Michigan. Our goal is to provide every individual with special needs the support friendship and inclusion that they deserve. Friendship Circle provides assistance and support through recreational, social, educational and vocational programming, and also provides support to individuals and families struggling with isolation, addiction and other family-related crises.

Judson Center – Metro Detroit, MI

Since 2005, Judson Center’s Autism Connections program has been providing therapeutic, behavioral and support services that improve the quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. See how we can help you and your loved one.

Kids On The Go – St Clair Shores, MI

Kids On The Go is a pediatric non-profit program designed to provide children with special needs (3-17 years) with physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapies both over the summer months and during the school year. We recognize and facilitate the goals of children with special needs and to further develop their current skills through therapeutic and wellness programs for the children and their families.

Michigan Alliance For Families

Michigan Alliance for Families provides information, support, and education for families who have children and young adults (birth to 26 years of age) who receive (or may be eligible to receive) special education services. This website can help you with finding information on special education issues as well as disability specific information.

Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute – Detroit, MI

The Institute’s mission is to contribute to the development of inclusive communities and quality of life for people with disabilities and their families through a culturally-sensitive, statewide program of training and education, community support and services, research, and sharing of information. The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute is one of 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) nationally.

Michigan Disability Resources

There are many state programs and services available for your family.

Disability Rights Michigan – Lansing, MI

Disability Rights Michigan (DRM) is the independent, private, nonprofit, nonpartisan protection and advocacy organization authorized by Federal and State law to advocate and protect the legal rights of people with disabilities in Michigan.

OUCARES – Oakland University Center for Autism Outreach – Rochester, MI

The Joanne and Ted Lindsay Foundation Autism Outreach Services (commonly known as OUCARES) encompasses the outreach services of the Oakland University Center for Autism. The mission of OUCARES is to improve the quality of life of individuals impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) by offering quality and comprehensive programs across the lifespan.

The Children’s Center – Detroit, MI

We help children by looking at more than a single issue. We treat the whole child. We examine the barriers in the home, school or community. We work with the family who raises them. And we bring all our learning together to support their healing and get them on the road to a happier, more fulfilling childhood.

Amber Louchart
Author: Amber Louchart

Amber is the proud mother to four beautiful children, Damian (27), Rosaleigh (14), Carlyn (11), and Naomi (8). Her family also includes four cats. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and feels blessed to be able to care for her children full-time and provide them with so many opportunities through Metro Detroit Mommy. In addition to Metro Detroit Mommy, Amber has a passion for hosting karaoke with Malibu Entertainment.  She enjoys the metro Detroit nightlife especially, singing, dancing and meeting new people.