Activities in and around Durham Region for Individuals with Autism
Print a list of tips for recreation staff from Natural Learning Concepts that may contribute toward making your child's recreation experience a success: Top Ten Things You Need to Know About My Child with ASD
Click on the links for detailed information in the following recreation categories:
● Art & music therapy:
Participation House Project (Durham Region)
Oshawa Arts Resource Centre
New Song Music Therapy
● Camps - day:
Exceptional Learning Centre (eXL)
Grandview Children's Centre
Precious Minds Resource & Learning Centre
● Camps - overnight
discount movie theatre passes for support workers
● Horseback riding (therapeutic)
cheerleading squad, sports leagues, school recess programs, skating, Special Olympics
● Other recreation:
Grandview Children's Centre
Inspirational Steps: Durham's Non-competitive Dance & Creative Arts Centre
Kerry's Place Autism Services
Sunrise Youth Group
Tania's Place Activity Centre for Teens & Adults with Special Needs
Monikidz Social Group
Art & Music Therapy
● Participation House Project (Durham Region) – Oshawa - A not for profit organization supporting adult individuals (age 18 -65) with physical and developmental disabilities to lead independent lives and be active members in their community. Offers various programs including Youth-the-Future.
Participation House Programs are for ages 18-65.
● Snowflake Therapy - Snowflake Therapy Services in Peterborough, in partnership with the Autism Ontario Potential Program is offering a myriad of groups this fall, including social groups, therapy groups and support groups. For details click here.
Autism Ontario - Durham Region occasionally offers music therapy programs. See our Events page for details.
● The Arts Resource Centre in Oshawa is offering the Creative Expressions program. This program is specifically for adults with special needs who would like to experiment with a variety of different art mediums. It is starting Sat., September 20th from 10:30am-12:30pm. More information can be found in the City of Oshawa Fall/Winter Leisure Guide at http://www.oshawa.ca/mun_res/leisure/leis_act.asp
● New Song Music Therapy offers adapted music lessons for individuals with special needs, music therapy and more. For details visit http://newsongmusictherapy.com/
Camps - Day
● Exceptional Learning Centre (eXL) – Ajax - Offers summer camp for kids with various academic needs.
● Grandview Children's Centre – Oshawa - Summer Camp 2012 for Children and Youth with Special Needs ages 3 -21. Qualified counsellors, low camper:counsellor ratio, indoor and outdoor activities, social interaction, art, music, sports, games and much, much more. For more information click here.
● Oshawa Psychological and Counselling Services is offering a Reading Intervention Summer Camp. This is a 3-week progrom. The content of the progrom includes cognitive ond memory training activities os well os receiving ocodemic intervention in reading and writing tailored according to the unique needs of the student. For details click here.
● Inspirational Steps – Whitby - Offers themed half day summer camps starting July 5. Cost is $75 a week, price is for early registrations. Subject to change June 1. For more information or to register call 905-556-0226 or email email@example.com
● Hands 2 Feet Paediatric Occupational Therapy Services - Yoga and Art, Music and Movement Summer Camps. For details click here.
● Nova's Ark - Brooklin - Nova’s Ark Spring Camp offers an opportunity for individuals with special needs to join our trained and confident youth leaders to explore the many interesting animals and activities located on our ten-acre property.
Each individual is connected with 3 to 5 youth volunteers who become the Circle of Friends which is key in assisting with their program needs. The focus continues to be on social and communication skills through exploration, sensory stimulation and structured interactive activities.
Register for a single day or for the whole week! This program provides an opportunity for a general overview of Nova’s Ark, focussing on key life skills development, physical involvement and respite time with weather appropriate activities.
Registration is limited and will be processed on a first come/first served basis. Click here for a registration form or for more details go to www.novasark.ca.
● Precious Minds Resource and Learning Centre – North Durham - Hosts day camps throughout the year at various locations in north Durham (Beaverton, Cannington, Sunderland, Port Perry, Uxbridge) for children in Grades 1-6 who need an academic boost, as well as for children ages 5 to 15 with developmental disabilities. Prices vary.
Blaze Summer Camp - Precious Minds' full day support camps focus on your child and their individual needs. Each structured camp features creative theme-based activities including music, art, table tasks, cooking, outdoor time for exercise, games and lots of fresh air. Designed for kids (ages 5-12) and youth (ages 13-18+) with developmental disabilities.
New for 2013 - Connect 360 for Kids & Teens – Formerly Exploring Leadership, this new program will be for kids (5-12) and teens (13+) who have a diagnosis of higher-functioning autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, or learning disabilities. There will be a focus on social skills, along with outdoor recreation, life skills, and an out-trip for the teens group. For more information click here.
● Tania’s Place Activity Centre for Teens & Adults with Special Needs - Hosts several ongoing programs including Summer Day Camp, school holiday, Super Saturday and Saturday Night Dance Socials (for Youth 13-17 years) and programs for Adults 18 years and older who live with a developmental and/or physical disability. Note: Tania's Place activities are high-energy with a minimum of 15-20 participants and may not be suitable for some individuals with autism. Tania's Place requests full disclosure of developmental disabilities and special needs with registration. A personal interview/assessment is conducted for all new clients prior to acceptance of registration. A completed Questionnaire must accompany all registrations. Note: Tania's Place is moving. Please see their letter to the public as well as the new summer camp poster for details.
● TRACE(Tyndale Research in Autism and Community Education) Autism Summer Camp for children with ASD, PDD-NOS and Aspergers - Toronto - TRACE is a non-for-profit organization which has been formed to provide seminar and training programs to parents and professionals, conduct research, and offer autism intervention services such as our upcoming social skills summer camps. The summer is a fantastic time for the children to be learning basic social skills in a fun and engaging day camp environment which will allow them to put their learned skills to practice. The goals of the program include: 1) Promoting a positive learning environment, through the use of ABA techniques, that caters to the needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder 2) Learning about and practicing social skills applicable to daily life 3)Giving the children a positive summer camp experience.
Summer camp will be running for it's 4th year this August for the weeks of Aug 19-23 and 26-30th. The camps focus on teaching Social Skills and Having Fun. 1:1 staff support is provided to campers ages 4-12. During teaching times campers are grouped according to language level ranging from non-verbal to Asperger's. The cost is $400 per week and includes a weekly field trip. Parents can find out more information and register by visiting our website at www.tyndale.ca/TRACE or emailing TRACE@tyndale.ca.
● Tutorwiz Education Centre - Pickering - Tutorwiz Education Centre operates Computer Day Camps during March Break and throughout the months of July and August for children 6 to 14 years of age, especially suited for those with special needs - LD, ADHD, and Aspergers. Each camp runs from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily. Campers will learn the functions and features of many educational computer programs including: Inspiration/Smart Ideas, WordQ, Kurzweil 3000, WORD and POWERPOINT. They will also learn to operate a computer by voice, create and design computer games and learn the basics of website design. Activities at camp include: Designing/creating business cards,brochures, newsletters etc. Designing/creating computer games, with Gamemaker Pro. Designing/creating an animated POWERPOINT presentation including sound and videos Movies and a Movie Review Creating music on a computer Creating comics Keyboarding For more information or to register, click here, call 905-683-6341 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abilities Centre - The Abilities Centre is a fitness and recreation facility in Whitby that offers programs and camps for individuals of all abilities. For details on their summer camps and programs see their Treks Camp flyer, Theme flyer and Media Arts Program flyer.
Camps - Overnight
● Camp Kennebec - Arden - Offers a summer residence program for youth with Learning Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders and other behavioural concerns. Some highlights of Kennebec include: - 2:1 camper to staff ratio - over 50 different activities that campers choose from, their days at camp are scheduled by their choices - mature, highly-skilled and motivated staff - family budget-planning to offset expenses - in-home visits and many more unique aspects of Kennebec. Click here for more details Contact: Tim French, Camp Manager Camp Kennebec 905-436-3376 905-243-5116 cell email@example.com
● Camp Kirk - Kirkfield - A residential (overnight) camp for boys and girls 6 to 13 years of age who have Learning Disabilities and/or AD(H)D Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), including those with incontinence or enuresis (bedwetting) difficulties. Our mission is to provide a nurturing, non-competitive and structured environment that allows these children the opportunity to enjoy a residential camping experience and to develop social, emotional and physical skills, thereby raising their self esteem. Camp Kirk is unique in that each and every camper has some form of learning disability. Together, they learn that they are not alone, and that it is possible to focus and build on their strengths and abilities in order to help them become the best that they can be.
● Camp Kodiak - Perry Sound - Camp Kodiak is an integrated, therapeutic, summer camp serving children and teens with and without Learning Disabilities, AD/HD, NLD and Asperger Syndrome. The program is staffed with teachers, psychologists, social workers, child and youth workers, recreation specialists and university/college students. The camper to staff ratio is 2:1 and cabin groups are small. They build confidence and self-esteem by structuring all of their activities – athletic, artistic and social – to ensure success. Facilities include modern, tongue-in-groove log cabins with full bathrooms, 425 acres of land and 4km of waterfront. Their programs feature over 50 sports and activities, and an academic program.
Club Kodiak is their corresponding program for young adults 19+. It is a camp vacation experience, which emphasizes a life skills program in addition to many sports and activities. They provide 3:1 guest to staff ratio, a structured program and 24-hour subtle supervision.
● Camp Winston – Muskoka - A 5-acre facility located in Kilworthy, Ontario on Sparrow Lake in the beautiful Muskoka Region (a 2 hour drive north of Toronto) operating a residential recreational summer programme for campers with complex neurological disorders, such as Tourette Syndrome, and Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder. Children and teenagers with Autism come to Camp Winston in August. Camp Winston also provides Behaviour Management and Skills Workshops and various weekend retreats. Staff at Camp Winston believe in creating physically and emotionally safe environments in which campers and workshop participants are nurtured, respected and challenged. Through recreational programmes, staff members attempt to foster self-esteem, age-appropriate independence, decision-making and negotiation skills. Workshops provide a supportive and understanding learning atmosphere in which practical strategies and skills in the area of behaviour management are taught. The Camp Winston Head Office is located in Richmond Hill.
● Kinark Outdoor Education Centre – Autism Quest Program Supported residential recreational experiences on weekends and in the summer for children and youth ages 9-16 with high-functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome. A number of respite/leisure programs for teens and adults with disabilities/special needs are also available at the Kinark Outdoor Education Centre. Click here for more information on the following programs.
2014 Autism Summer Quest Program - A five day Residential Summer Camp Program for ages 9-16 yrs. Click here for details and application form.
Summer Social Recreation Program - This five-day residential program for youth 14-18 years old, encourages the growth of social and life skills through recreational programming. ($1450). Click here for details and application form.
Adolescent Social Recreation (yearlong) - This is a direct funded MCYS Respite program in response to parents and service providers indicating that there exist social skill developmental service gaps for adolescents in rural areas within the Central East Region.
Autism Family Respite Weekends - This is a wonderful opportunity for families with children on the autism spectrum to enjoy a supported family trip together. The program provides time for families to participate in activities (such as canoeing, hiking, and rock climbing) together, as well as respite time where diagnosed children spend time with a one-on-one respite worker, siblings spend time together in a recreational program, and parents are able to network and participate in activities together. Click here for details and application form.
Autism Summer Family Camp - The program was developed in direct response to families who greatly appreciated the AFR Weekends, but are now looking for an affordable option for families who did not require one-to-one support. This all-inclusive, four day, family program is an opportunity to get outside and meet others! ($650). Click here for details and application form.
● Ontario Pioneer Camp - Muskoka - The camp has developed an integrated special needs program that runs at Adventure Camp, Boys’ Camp, and Girls’ Camp all summer long. Camp staff recognize that people with intellectual and physical challenges are just like everyone else—they have the capacity to love, to have fun, to have friends and to know when they are missing out or being treated differently. A 1:1 staff to camper ratio exists and staff will modify the program in whatever way is necessary to allow for inclusion. Each site has an inclusion coordinator who is there to ensure that any child with special needs is having their challenges addressed and to provide support and information for the 1:1 leaders. One of the camp’s core commitments is to pursue authentic relationships where everyone is included.
● Camp Concord - Camp Concord is a residential, overnight summer camp for individuals with communication, intellectual, or behavioural disabilities.
They serve both children and adults, starting at age 7 and offer a 2:1, camper to staff ratio. Camp Concord has two distinct programs:
Everest Program - designed for campers aged 7 - 17, with a focus on social skills. Camp Concord is an integrated camp, where we integrate our campers into the mainstream camp during non-competitive environments, such as meals, and camp fires. This integration
allows our campers to work on social skills and make friends.
Summit Program - focuses on life skills, specifically independent living skills. This program is designed for adult campers (ages 18 and older). Life skills include laundry, cooking, and cleaning. The facility includes a laundry room and fully functioning kitchen, where supervised by our staff, campers will cook lunch daily.
They offer a personalized program, where campers and their families chooses what activities they would like to be involved in. This program decreases the campers anxiety, and allows campers to feel comfortable in their surroundings. Click here to see flyer.
● Heartfit Farm is a non profit summer holiday destination for intellectually disabled teens and adults over 18yrs. They draw on the therapeutic power of animals and the restorative power of nature to calm anxiety, reinforce skills build social skills and dilute fearful new experiences. Staff include career teachers, autism specialists, certified DSW and volunteers who return year after year. Their catchment area is wide and their unique program accepts only 8 guests per week. Families are encouraged to visit the farm and see if it is suitable for their needs.
● Access 2 Entertainment Acces 2 Entertainment provides free admission (or a significant discount) for support workers accompanying a person with a disability at participating movie theatres across Canada. The person affected by a disability pays regular admission.
● Therapeutic Horseback Riding – Ashburn - The Stables at Windreach Farm were developed by paralympian rider Alexander (Sandy) J. Mitchell and designed to be fully accessible to meet the needs of both elite equestrian competitors and pleasure riders with disabilities and/or special needs.
● Wake Robin Farm – Uxbridge - "A small, private riding facility offering personalized riding instruction for children and adults with special needs focussing on individuals with intellectual and cognitive disabilites. The goal of the program is to provide a safe and positive environment for students to experience the joys of horses and horsemanship at a pace that is comfortable for them. The benefits of riding include increased attention span, improved self-esteem and confidence, as well as many physical benefits. Students work 1:1 with an experienced instructor and well-schooled horses to learn about: safety rules, grooming, tacking up, mounting and dismounting, riding skills." Program includes 8 one hour lessons. Fee: $40 per lesson. Free 1/2 hour introductory lesson. Call for more information: 416-526-1298.
● Basketball Program - Pickering - Durham West Special Olympics has launched a Junior Special Olympic Basketball Program to focus on fun, skill development and the opportunity for more social interaction with peers. Begins Tuesday, February 17 to April 7, 2009 at Pineridge High School on Liverpool Road in Pickering from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Registration fee: $10.00. Equipment required: indoor running shoes, shorts, track pants and t-shirt. For more information, contact Debbie May at 905-686-2538 or firstname.lastname@example.org
● Challenge League Sports – Oshawa - Special Sports for Unique Players in Durham Region. Challenge League Sports is a registered charitable organization for children ages 5 and older whose special needs can’t be met by existing sports leagues – all skill levels are welcome. Games in the Challenge League are modified to promote maximum participation, individual development and fun. Season begins at the end of May. Challenge League's summer sports registration is coming up in March. Registration forms will also be available for families on site.
Dates: Wednesday March 6 and March 20, 2013
Times: 6:15 pm - 7:45 pm
Location: Village Union Public School
240 Simcoe Street S., Oshawa
(Across from Glazier Medical Centre)
Click to see the flyer and registration form.
● Durham Rowing Club - 2012 Adaptive Rowing Program - Port Perry - The Durham Rowing Club is seeking members to join its 2012 adaptive rowing program. The goal of the program is to make the sport of rowing accessible to people with a broad range of disabilities and special needs.
What is adaptive rowing? Adaptive rowing is sweep rowing (one oar per rower) or sculling (two oars) for people with physical or intellectual limitations. The basic techniques of adaptive rowing are the same as rowing for the able-bodied. Participants learn the elements of the stroke: drive, recovery, catch angle, oar handling, etc. The general learning curve is comparable to any novice rower and participants experience the same thrill at discovering our sport. For safety reasons adaptive rowers must be able to swim and be able to follow instructions. Registration forms and additional information on the club are available on the club web site www.durhamrowing.com or by contacting Scott Withers at email@example.com Enrolment is limited so an early registration is advised.
● PaddleAll is a kayak and dragon boat program for individuals with special needs. Click here for 2014 registration form.
● Durham Dragons Special Hockey - Ajax - A program designed for developmentally challenged individuals of all ages (male and female) that would otherwise not be able to play hockey. Each weekend they experience the thrill and camaraderie that is part of a hockey team: "It's not just hockey ... It's so much more!"
● Fitness Friends - Fitness Friends is a great way to encourage the participation of students with special needs in fitness and sports programs. You may be able to encourage staff at your child's school to implement this program.
● Hockey for Individuals with Special Needs - Newmarket - The Newmarket Night Hawks hockey team play every Saturday throughout the year at 2:00 pm and also participate in tournaments. Teams are divided by ability, not age. New players are always welcome; your child doesn't even need to know how to skate, but full equipment is required.
● Special Olympics - List of Special Olympics Programs in Durham Region.
● Ultimate Canadian Cheer - Durham Region - Offers a unique opportunity for individuals with special needs of all ages (children, youth & adults): a competitive, traveling cheerleading squad. The practices are held in Pickering with competitions throughout the GTA. The squad is co-ed, and individuals on the autism spectrum are welcome to participate. Contact UCC for more information: 905-839-8822 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
● Zumba - Special Needs program - designed for youth with mild developmental disabilities. Participants will get moving to the beat with this music and movement class fusing Latin rhythms with easy to follow moves. Have fun while improving motor skills and coordination. Youth/instructor ratio, 10:1. Ages: 13+. On Mondays from 4:30-5:15 pm at the McLean C.C. Fitness Studio, Ajax. Start Date: January 6, 2014. To register visit the Town of Ajax website recreation website, Registration Code: 110769 Fee: $84 + HST/12 weeks.
● Mixed Martial Arts Class specifically for individuals with developmental disabilities with Bruckmann Mixed Martial Arts (875 Wilson Rd S Oshawa, ON). Starting Saturday, January 4th from 10:30-11:30am, and every Saturday until the end of April. The cost will be $10 a month (4 classes/month=$2.50 a class). For more info contact Jordan at email@example.com.
● Autism on the Seas - Group and individual travel for families and adults with autism. All activities are structured to match each individual's abilities and accommodate people with autism of all ages. Click here for the 2013-2014 cruising schedule.
● Disability Travel Card from Easter Seals - Reduced fare tickets allowing individuals with permanent disabilities to travel with an attendant on the lines of Motor Coach Companies that participate in the reduced fare plan, and Via Rail.
● Tarita's Travel Connections - specializing in accessible travel.
● Grandview Children's Centre - various locations in Durham Region - Recreation Services include programs for children and youth with special needs of all ages (ranging from age 1 1/2 to 21) including Art, Music, Dance, Martial Arts, Swimming Lessons, Sports Night, Digital Photography Club, and much more. For more information, contact Grandview's Registration Hotline at 905-728-1673 or toll free 1-800-304-6180 x 2247
● Inspirational Steps – Whitby - Durham's non-competitive dance and creative arts centre. From dance to boys’ sports clubs, Inspirational Steps offers a variety of modified as well as integrated recreational programs for students with special needs. Ages infant to adult, classes are small and modified for each child's individuals needs; experience with communication boards, sign language, sensory integration; incorporates the ABA method of teaching.
● Kerry's Place Autism Services – Oshawa - Girls Club - This group is for girls aged 10-14 who have a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism or Aspergers who would like an opportunity to meet other girls their age that they can relate to and have fun with. We will work on a scrapbook each week after discussing different topics that are important in a young girl’s life. Girls will also participate in fun activities such as movie night, baking and nail painting. Please call 905 579 2720 ext 21 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
● Kerry's Place Autism Services - Oshawa - Lego Club - Lego Group will allow children to work on social skills, relationship building, fine motor skills, turn taking, team building and understanding the deconstruction of Lego. Please note their are two time slots for this group, please choose the one that best works for you and your child. Please call 905 579 2720 ext 21 or email mailto:email@example.com for more information.
● Sunrise Youth Group - Whitby - A variety of recreational programs throughout the year for individuals with developmental disabilities age 15 and over, including Wilderness Weekend Camping Trips, Cabin Retreat Weekends, Dances and Special Events, Residential Camping, New Year's Eve Party, day trips, Club Nights and more.
● Tania’s Place Activity Centre for Teens & Adults with Special Needs – Ajax & Oshawa Hosts several ongoing programs including summer day camp, school holiday, Super Saturday and Saturday Night Dance Socials (for Youth 13-17 years) and programs for Adults 18 years and older who live with a developmental and/or physical disability. Note: Tania's Place activities are high-energy with a minimum of 15-20 participants and may not be suitable for some individuals with autism. Tania's Place requests full disclosure of developmental disabilities and special needs with registration. A personal interview/assessment is conducted for all new clients prior to acceptance of registration. A completed Questionnaire must accompany all registrations.
● Variety – The Children’s Charity & Variety Village - Scarborough - Variety Village, a unique Sports Training and Fitness Centre and the flagship project of Variety – The Children’s Charity, has been recognized as a world leader in offering progressive state-of-the-art programming and services for children and adults of all abilities. The Village has been providing both a facility to enjoy and a place of hope and encouragement for individuals with special needs for close to 25 years. Approximately 3,000 children and youth with special needs depend on Variety Village for safe, healthy sports programming each week. Variety Village provides essential sport and fitness programs using a proven integrated model that helps individuals of all abilities develop a greater sense of independence, self-worth, confidence and well-being. With its focus on ability, rather than disability, Variety Village has a reputation among peers and the public as making a real difference in the lives of its members. Variety Village allows its members to see that they have the ability to do things they thought they could never do. By seeking solutions, rather than focusing on problems, Variety sends everyone a strong message: there is always a way – it simply takes imagination and determination.
Y.E.S. Yoga - Special Therapeutic Yoga Program for children diagnosed with an ASD(high functioning) or ADHD. 10 week Yoga based program for children 7 to 10 with ASD and/or ADHD.
$250 for a 10 week program that includes:
- phone intake/consultation
- 10 1 hour classes
- Using breath work to control emotions
- Learning yoga poses for strength and resilience
- Games that encourage co-operation
- Meditations to calm the mind
- Individual progress report
- Building basic social skills
For details click here.
Zumba - Special Needs program
This class is designed for youth with mild developmental disabilities. Participants will get moving to the beat with this music and movement class fusing Latin rhythms with easy to follow moves. Have fun while improving motor skills and coordination. Youth/instructor ratio, 10:1. Ages: 13+. Following are the details for the Winter session:
Time: 4:30-5:15 pm
Location: McLean C.C. Fitness Studio
Start Date: January 6, 2014
Registration Code: 110769
Fee: $84 + HST/12 weeks
Click here for registration form.
Aloha Toronto (Aloha Autism Association) is excited to offer the 3rd annual Aloha Toronto SUP camp for autism @ Balmy Beach Club, Toronto on Sunday, August 24, 2014. This is a full day event featuring Surfers Healing from San Diego, a group started by a dad with a kid with ASD and who take kids out on surfboards, fully protected in every way, and help them experience the pure joy of being in/on the water! There are only 130 spots available. Registration will open after the kickoff on June 14th. Stay tuned to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AlohaToronto?fref=ts
Monikidz Social Group for girls.
Sensory Friendly Movies: J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate is pleased to provide local families who are affected by Autism, other disabilities, or sensory issues an opportunity to view movies in a safe and accepting environment. Lights will be kept on, noise level will be turned down, and previews will be omitted. Movie-goers are welcome to move around, walk, sing, shout, and be themselves! All students MUST be accompanied by an adult. Respite workers, family members, and friends are welcome! For details and dates click here.
Ready, Set, Play!: Play Skills Development Group for Children 6 and Under. For details click here.
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