Everybody belongs at the New Canaan YMCA. We proudly offer programs, support services, special events, volunteer opportunities, and employment for over 130 kids, teens, and adults with special needs each year. Through our programs, individuals build confidence, make friends, and develop independence in a supportive and welcoming environment. Our support needs department offers support aides for individuals to participate in traditional programs as ability allows, as well as a wide range of specialized programs designed specifically for individuals with special needs.
This Kid Zone program is specially-designed for families with young children with special needs. Participants are encouraged to explore different stations (i.e. ball pits, swings, inflatables, trampolines, climbing structures). Taught by a gymnastics instructor, children will be encouraged to play and will have opportunities to actively interact with their environment, explore their senses, and work on core strength, balance, and social skills. Parents/caregivers are required to stay to supervise and may join in to play along. Private therapists welcome!
Instructional swim program that is designed to focus on body position, control, water safety skills, and fundamental swim strokes. Participants should be comfortable in a body of water.
A variety of afternoon and Saturday programs for young adults with special needs! Programming includes wellness and fitness classes, like cooking, swimming, and sports. There are also a variety of classes in the arts, like theater, music, and more!
This modern inspired dance program is an exciting way to exercise while having fun dancing with friends. Each class will begin with a warm-up of freestyle dance and then work on dance routines to music and end with a cool down and stretch. Each participant can request a favorite song to be added to our playlist for 45 minutes of fun-filled music and movement!
A non-competitive program that is designed to be instructional for YSN teens who want to swim for fitness and improve endurance and skills. Participants must be able to swim 25 yards of freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke, as well as 50 yards continually. Class is held in the Forese Family Lap Pool (deep water). Please note: first-time registration requires Director’s approval.
Rhythm Hearts Theater is back! Join us for a program designed especially for individuals with special needs, incorporating music, art, and theater. This program adapts stories from a wide variety of mediums (short stories, classic rhymes, movies, Disney, Broadway, cartoons, etc.) into plays, which provide opportunities for peer socialization, and self-expression. Led by Music Therapist, Matt Hennessey, session will conclude with a theater production compiling all the original works of the session.
Join us for a free swim social hour with friends and get some exercise in the Forese Family Scooter Pool (warm pool).
Our healthy living program is designed specifically for teens and young adults. This is an instructional class for those who enjoy fitness with friends. Each session consists of warm-up/stretch, workout, walk/run ratios, and a cool down. Great for all fitness levels! The class concludes with preparing and sharing a healthy snack with friends.
Join us for an afternoon of music and drumming with music therapist Phylis Bethel, followed by a soothing, 30-minute yoga stretch.
This is a run-walk fitness program designed for all abilities! It is an instructional class for YSN teens who want to run (and walk) for fitness to improve endurance and strength. Each session will consist of a warm-up, stretch, workout, walk/run ratios and cool down. Classes will take place in the back field or at New Canaan High School’s track weather permitting, and in the Wellness Center during rain or other inclement weather.
Community outings, dinner field trips, and enriching evening activities at the Y specially designed for young adults with special needs. Dinner included each evening.
Support aides are available at no additional charge thanks to donations to the Y. Support staff is limited though and is provided to qualified participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Families interested in additional support for inclusive programming for any program at our Y, or interested in more information, should contact Carolynn Kaufman, Director of Inclusion & Support Services at 203-920-1656.
An inclusive program available at Camp Mini, Sports Camps, & Camp Y-Ki offers campers of varying limitations the opportunity to participate in a traditional camp experience with additional support for up to 4 weeks of camp at no extra cost. Extra support is offered based on availability and need.
Six-week program offered at our Y, this camp program is specifically designed to meet the needs of our participants with special needs who require additional direction and support, but do not require 1:1 or intensive behavioral and/or physical intervention. This specialized camp offers a high staff-to-camper ratio and a structured schedule that rotates weekly to offer: swimming, art, dance, music therapy, yoga, group fitness, with a personal trainer, drama, cooking, and weekly special events (i.e., African Drumming, Mad Science, and Magic Show). Camp Jam offers participants the opportunity to participate in an enriching summer camp experience while developing skills, building friendships, staying active, and most importantly having fun!