Recreation Resources and Tips for Families

A multi-ethnic group of seven school children standing outdoors in a row, carrying bookbags and lunchboxes. The girl with the white bow in her hair has down syndrome.

Through play, we express ourselves, feel, move, gain confidence, and make connections. Simply put; recreation, play and leisure give us joy, freedom and an opportunity to take risks— one of the best things about being a human being!—Katrina Davis (Family Resource and Support Seattle Children’s Autism Center)

If you haven’t had the time or opportunity to locate summer activities for your son or daughter, below are a list of options and avenues to explore.

Some require more planning than others, but not all. Don’t rule out events that are for the whole community. There are lots activities and events that everyone can enjoy. Sometimes, showing up helps open doors for others with similar accessibility and accommodation needs.

Center for Children with Special Needs Camp Directory
Although the program closed due to loss of funding, the camp directory is still online. Be sure to visit the websites of camps you’re interested in for current information about enrollment, cost and availability.

DDA Respite in the Community
If your child is enrolled in the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA), ask your case manager for a list of summer recreation programs that are contracted with DDA.

Disney World
Walt Disney World Resort offers services to help Guests with cognitive disabilities—including those on the Autism Spectrum—maximize their Resort experience.

Inclusive Playgrounds and Parks
Use the Center for Children with Special Needs interactive map to find an accessible playground near you! Each listing provides detailed information about the unique features for children and individuals with special needs.

Outdoors for All (located in Seattle)
Adaptive and therapeutic recreation for children and adults with disabilities.

Events for children and families in the Puget Sound region.

Recreation and Sports for Children and Youth with Special Needs
Organizations and resources offering opportunities for your family and child with special needs.

TSA Procedures for Children with Disabilities
TSA procedures for screening children with disabilities and medical conditions.

Trips, Inc.
All inclusive vacation packages for individuals age 16 and older.

Parent & Disability Specific Groups

One of the best ways to find out what’s available in your area is to connect with other parents and families who share similar experiences.

Autism Moms of Seattle Facebook group (over 2,500 moms through WA)
Autism Society
Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound
Down syndrome Outreach, a Program of The Arc of Whatcom County
Down Syndrome of Snohomish County
Local Arcs
Fathers Network
Parent to Parent
Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy (Family resource line: 425.894.7231)

Local Recreation Resources

Community Centers and YMCA
Craft classes, yoga, cooking, music, swimming, arts, and special events are often low cost and easy to join.

Not only do libraries host free events and story times, but they are a great resource for finding out what else is going on in the community.

Parks and Recreation
City and county recreation programs provide inclusive opportunities for children and adults of all abilities, as well as specialized programs. In addition to classes, community events such as music in the park are free and don’t require advance sign up. Check your local paper or community notices for times and locations.

Service Organizations
Non-profit community groups, such as Elks Club, Lions Club, Kiwanis, Easter Seals, as well as many faith organizations, have programs and activities to benefit children and adults with disabilities.

Blogs and Articles

The Autism Blog: Learn. Thrive. Recreate. A Recreational Therapist’s Role in Leisure Pursuits.

“Finding the Right Recreational Fit,” by The Arc of Snohomish County

Recreation for All Ages and Abilities, by Katrina Davis


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