Camps and Activities for Children with Special Needs or Disabilities

Youth Camps and Activities

child swimmingActivities and Camp Opportunities:
ADHD | Academic | Cross Disability | Developmental Disabilities | Equine Therapy | Health Related Special Needs|  Hearing Impairments | Recreation | Physical Disabilities | Transition Programs | Visual Impairments

Please check back for updates.  If you are aware of additions to include in this listing, please contact SD Parent Connection at

Find additional programs and activities through your
  • libraries and community centers
  • schools and churches
  • youth leagues or sports organizations
  • park and recreation programs
  • youth organizations such as Boy/Girl Scouts, Boys/Girls Clubs, YMCA or YWCA
  • childcare facilities and programs
  • 211 Helpline (where available)
  • independent living centers
  • organizations serving individuals with disabilities or special needs
  • United Way or Chamber of Commerce offices
Consider programs/activities that your child's typically developing peers are involved in. Many are supportive and willing to accommodate a child with a special need.  Your child will gain opportunities for fun and friendships.

Cost a factor?
When exploring opportunities for your child/family, do not hesitate to ask program staff about discounted fees, sliding fee scales for families with Medicaid/limited resources; scholarships for children with special needs; or referrals to programs that may provide financial assistance so children may participate.

If your family is involved with any state or local programs to support your child with special needs, check to see if that may be a resource for financial assistance for recreational or educational opportunities.  If not, ask them for referrals.


ADHD Friendly Programs for Summer

ADDitude: Camp & School Directory for ADHD/LD Students


Lifescape - Rapid City
Power Reading and Spelling, Handwriting 101, Kids Get Fit, Yoga for Kids and Xtreme Speech

LifeScape  - Sioux Falls
Speech Superstars, Handwriting, Let's Talk with AAC, Helping Hands, Power Mobility

Music Therapy Services - Sioux Falls
Summer program.

Cross Disability

Adaptive Aquatics - Lifescape - Sioux Falls
Year around programming for toddlers through age 21.

Adaptive Aquatics - Sanford Wellness Center - Sioux Falls
Two sessions annually, the school session runs September thru May and the summer session runs May thru August. For information, call or email

Adaptive Family Play Group - Sioux Falls
Designed for children with special needs, ages 13 and under  Gives children an opportunity to play in a sensory-friendly environment, socialize with peers and develop large motor skills.  Held on third Saturday of month at 9 a.m.-11 a.m. at Kenny Anderson Community Center, 3701 E. Third Street in Sioux Falls.  No registration required.  Free.  Equipment provided, parents provide supervision.  For more information, contact Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation at 605-367-8222 or visit

Very Special - Nationwide

Brookings Area Camp Adventure
A barrier-free day camp experience located in Brookings, South Dakota for individuals with special needs. Contact Christi at 605-770-4035 or visit the website.

Children's Therapy Services - Rapid City
Handwriting Camps, Reading Groups, Speech Groups (or individual), Autism Groups, Aquatic Therapy, and additional activities.

LifeScape - Rapid City
Extreme Speech Camp, Handwriting Camp, Power Reading and Spelling, Kids Get Fit and Yoga for Kids

Lifescape  - Sioux Falls
Social Skills Camps, Handwriting Camps, Speech Superstars, Speech Extreme Camps, Helping Hands: Constraint-Induced Camps, Power Mobility Camps, Let's Talk with AACCamps.

Lutheran Social Services School and Summer Programs - Sioux Falls  (Formerly Here4YOUTh)
Childcare, after school, summer and respite programming for ages 3-21.

Music Therapy Services - Sioux Falls
Summer enrichment programs. Several options available.

Our Camp, Inc. - Sheridan, Wyoming
Camping opportunities for individuals with physical, social, or cognitive disabilities. Camps run for three, four and six day for ages 5-18, 19-39, and 40+. For information, call or email .

True Friends - Minnesota (Formerly Courage - Minnesota)
Offer camp opportunities throughout the summer at 5 camp sites.  Some camps are specific to a special need or disability.  Respite weekends also available.

Kids - Nationwide

My Summer - Nationwide

Summer - Nationwide

Camp High Hopes - Sioux City
Sleep Away and Day Camp sessions

Developmental Disabilities

Camp-ABLE - Ages 11-17
June 21-23 and July 26-28, 2017
Camp-ABLE is for youth ages 11-17 years old with disabilities. Are you ABLE to do camp? You bet! Joy Ranch will make sure the camp experience is accommodated to that all kids may have the full camp experience - waterfron, horses, games, campfire, new friends, and faith formation. A one to two counselor to camper ration means each camper's needs are thoughtfully met. Camp is an experience every kid should have, and Joy Ranch is going to make sure it happens! For more information please contact Jess Larson at
Between February 15 and April 15: Price $250
Register after April 15: Price $300

Camp Pals - Ages 6-10
August 2-4, 2017
This program is designed for youth ages 6-10 years old with disabilities who would like to experience camp and share that experience with a sibling or friend. Campers participate in all the fun camp has to offer like swimming, boating, crazy campfires under the stars, games, and crafts with the security of a familiar race. Joy Ranch will make sure activities are accommodated so all kids may have the full camp experience. So grab your favorite sidekick and head' em up to Joy Ranch. For more information please contact Jess Larson at
Between February 15 and April 15: Price $250
Register after April 15: Price $300

Dance and Art Program for Youth with Down Syndrome
Six-week dance and art program for youth, ages 5-19, offered in Sioux Falls. Program focuses on movement, self-expression, self-confidence and fun. Program Free to Children with Down syndrome. Dance recital and art display follows completion of program at Washington Pavilion To register please contact Front Desk at Sanford Wellness Center, 605-328-1600.

Friendship Ventures - Minnesota

Camping and respite programs for children, teenagers and adults with developmental disabilities. Winter camps begin late December and offered on weekend through January.

Music For All - Ages 17-25
June 21-23, 2017
Music For All is for adults ages 17-25 with disabilities. Certified music and recreational therapists will create a goal-based program using the wide range of activities available at Joy Ranch. Explore with others navigating the transition to adulthood in a safe, supportive, and faith-filled environment. No music experience necessary - just a desire to participate and have fun! For more information please contact Jess Larson at
Between February 15 and April 15: Price $250
Register after April 15: Price $300

Trips Inc. Special Adventures - Nationwide

"We Get It" Family Camp
July 9-12, 2017
This camp is for families with a parent or child with a disability. You'll step back in time to live an old west adventure as you sing around the campfire, take a buggy ride, and dance at the hoedown while exploring faith in the great outdoors! Have unhurried conversations with other families who "get" what it means to have a family member with a disability. As you look across the campfire flames to the faces or new friends, you'll feel supported and understood in the unique challenges navigated by your family. For more information please contact Jess Larson at
Adult (12 and up) Price $300
Child (3-11) Price $200
Child (under 3) FREE
Family Maximum Fee - $1,000
Extra Lodging Room - $550

Equine Therapy

Therapeutic Riding Programs - Statewide
Eagles Ride Equine Center - Piedmont
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

Hope Reins Equestrian Outreach - Baltic
3 day horsemanship camps in June and July from 9 - 3 pm

Horse Power (formerly Handi-Riders) -Sioux Falls


Joy Ranch - Florence
Riding for a Reason allows people with disabilities the opportunity to achieve new successes in horsemanship. These sessions are 4 one-hour lesson.  For more information, contact Jess Larson at or visit

SunCatcher Therapeutic Riding Academy - Rapid City

SPURS Therapeutic Riding Center - Aberdeen

STARS-Special Training & Riding Skills - Brookings

Health Related Special Needs

Camp Gilbert - Waubay
Camp for children ages 8 - 18 with diabetes. Located at NeSoDak camp near Waubay.

Camp Odayin - Stillwater, Minnesota
Day, residential and family camps for children with heart disease.

Diabetes - Nationwide

Kamp for Kids - Family Diabetes Camp

For children with diabetes.

Camps - NeedyMeds
This is a listing of camps for children and adults with specific diseases, and for children who have a parent or a family member with a specific disease. These are not necessarily free camps, or camps for financially needy children and families. But, some of these camps offer financial aid, so contact the individual camp for details. If you're looking for programs that provide general financial aid for camping or other activities, then go to the Diagnosis Based Assistance area of NeedyMeds and search by the specific disease.

The programs listed in this database include camps for children with one specific disease, whole types of diseases (such as all types of cancers) or broader chronic diseases. Many of these camps are funded by either private or government organizations. Some camps take children from anywhere in the U.S., while others are limited to people in specific states. Most have some type of eligibility requirements, usually financial ones.

How to Search for Camps

Hearing Impairments

Summer Language Enrichment Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students - Sioux Falls
Provides students the opportunity to acquire language skills, experience socialization with peers and community activities, and observe adult deaf role models. Weekly thematic units and field trips will reinforce language, socialization skills and culture. For more information, contact Carmen Steen at or 605-201-5702.


Adaptive Aquatics - Sanford Wellness Center
- Sioux Falls
Two sessions annually, the school session runs September thru May and the summer session runs May thru August. For information, call or email Carole Wolf, certified teacher, at

Camp Bravo: All-Ability Performing Arts Camp
LifeScape Center for the Arts and Black Hills Playhouse Jr. are excited to offer "Camp Bravo: All-Ability Performing Arts", June 25-30, 2017 at Joy Ranch, near Watertown, SD.

Performing arts camp is an experience every kid should have. Camp Bravo is designed for children and young adults of all abilities, ages 9-21. Campers will spend the week exploring their performing skills, having an exciting camp experience, and making memories to last a lifetime! Theatre classes will offer the opportunity to explore movement, music, and performance - all of which can be adapted to meet the needs of each participant. The week will culminate with the Celebration Showcase performance for family and friends.

Campers will also participate in fun camp activities like: horseback riding, covered wagon rides, pontoon rides, fishing, camp fires, and playing games with new friends - all in a complete accessible environment for campers. Staffing will be available at up to a 1:2 ration, and nurses will be on site to accommodate special medical needs. Family accommodations and programming available upon request - for more information contact Jamie Richardson at (605) 444-9631 or

Early registration due by Feb. 15 - Go to

Dakota Spirit Sparkers - Sioux Falls
Offering a positive experience through cheerleading for child to young adult athletes with special abilities. Spring, fall and winter sessions.

Just Jymnastics - Rapid City
Offers traditional gymnastics classes and classes for students with different physical or cognitive abilities or emotional needs.

Joy Ranch - 886-4622
A barrier free camp and retreat center with an 1880s theme located north of Watertown.
Camps scheduled throughout the summer for children, families and adults. People of all disabilities are welcome to participate in all programs at Joy Ranch. 
"We Get It" Family Camp is a camp for families with a parent or child with a disability and is scheduled for July 2016. Camp-ABLE is for youth with disabilities and camps are held in June and July 2016.  Contact Karen Kraus at or call 605_940-2755 or visit

Miracle League, Sioux Empire Baseball Association - Sioux Falls
Youth Division for players ages 5-18 with special needs. Adult Division is for players ages 18 and older with special needs. For applications visit

Native American Advocacy Program Camps
Several camps planned for 2015.  Visit or call Marla C. Bull Bear at 605-775-2147.

Personal Fitness Training - Sanford Wellness Center - Sioux Falls
Individual and group  fitness sessions with personal coach. For youth with special needs. For information, call or email Carole Wolf, certified teacher at

PDR Youth Deer Hunt - Clark
Annual fall event. A real South Dakota hunting experience for physically-challenged, including wheelchair enabled adolescents ages 12-18. Free.

Sioux Wheelers - Sioux Falls
Wheelchair basketball for children, youth and adults of all abilities. Participation is not limited to those who use a wheelchair. Email contact and website is

Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation
Activities throughout the summer encouraged for children with special needs.   Visit to register online or call 605-367-8222.  Registration is required.

South Dakota Dept of Games, Fish and Park - Statewide
Strives to accommodate the needs of people of all abilities by providing greater accessibility to facilities and programs for persons with disabilities.

Special Olympics South Dakota - Statewide
605-331-4117 or 1-800-585-2114
Aberdeen, Brookings, Mitchell, Sioux Falls, Watertown, Yankton

Skiing and Snowboarding - Great Bear
Great Bear Skiing in Sioux Falls offers adaptive skiing program for people with disabilities. Lessons offer specialized gear and individual instruction. Each lesson includes private instruction, equipment and a lift ticket. Half day lessons are $40; full day lessons are $50. For more information call Great Bear at 605-367-4309.

Soccer Camp - Sioux Falls

Dakota Alliance Soccer Club. Tim Soyer at 605-376-0205.

Special Olympics United - Wolf Pack Team
Teams for participation in Special Olympics South Dakota. For information, please e-mail or contact Carole Wolf at 605-261-5716.

US National Parks and Federal Recreation Areas
Persons with disabilities can get a Free, Lifetime Access Pass to National Parks and Federal Recreation area in the United States.

Physical Disabilities

Adaptive - Nationwide

Meeting the Need - Black Hills

A unique wheelchair friendly wilderness retreat located on an old tin mining operation in the Black Hills. Contact Dallas Dietrich at 605-666-4610.

Joy Ranch - Watertown
A barrier free camp and retreat center with 1880s western theme located north of Watertown. People of all abilities are welcome to participate in all programs at Joy Ranch. Contact Joy Ranch at for more information or visit

Transition Programs

Independent Living Choices
Free program for students 14-21 with IEPs. $20 application fee.

Visual Impairments

SD School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
605-626-2580 or 1-888-275-3814
Aberdeen and Sioux Falls
Students ages 6-21, who reside in South Dakota, may attend free of charge. Students residing outside of the state may attend on a tuition basis. Attend from one to six week-long sessions. Registration forms available on-line. Contact Dawn LaMee at 605-626-2580 or 1-888-275-3814, or

SD School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Summer Programs
605-626-2580 or 1-888-275-3814
The SDSBVI Extended School Year Summer Program will bring together blind and visually impaired students from across South Dakota for learning and fun on the campus at the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Aberdeen, SD. Students who are blind or visually impaired, ages 6-21, who reside in South Dakota , may attend free of charge. Students residing outside of the state may attend on a tuition basis. For More information contact Dawn LaMee at

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The contents of this website were developed under grants from the U.S. Department of Education Project Grant H328M140021; Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Grant H84MC07994, Family to Family Health Information Center, $90,030 and approximately 5% financed with non-governmental resources. The contents should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by US Department of Education, HRSA, HHS or the Federal Government.