A Special Needs Guide: Fitness, Life Skills And Fun


If you’re a parent to a child with special needs, finding fun and active programs specifically for your child can be a challenge. But it just got a whole lot easier—with programs like yoga to soccer to play centers, kids can have fun while developing skills and friendships and trying something new. We rounded up a collection of locations and resources in New Jersey that can help parents find everything they need for their preschool kids, grade school, tweens, and teens. Scroll down for places and a list of our NJMOM partners for more information. (featured photo credit: istock/kali9)

Classes, programs, and fun for special needs kids and teens

Servicing all 21 counties in NJ, BrainBuilders is a place where your child can grow, with classes starting at age 2 and continuing through teens. Opt for early learning or social groups where kids can learn valuable skills and hang out with their peers. Home during school breaks? They offer special Fun Days and camps for kids to be engaged and meet new friends.
Centers located in Lakewood, Toms River, Evesham, and South Plainfield serve all NJ counties.

Certified Fitness for Special Needs, Inc.
No matter what fitness level your child is at, Certified Fitness has classes that include All-Sports Fitness Fun, Yoga, Drumming, and Martial Arts. Older kids can benefit from Lunch Crunch, where they learn how to choose fast food wisely, prepare food, read nutrition labels, and go grocery shopping.
295 Route 22 #102, Lebanon, NJ 08833

HealthBarn USA
During their special needs programming, students can learn culinary skills through cooking, gross motor skills through gardening, yoga, and active movement, and practical nutrition through games and scavenger hunts. They also have self-esteem development too.
1057 Hillcrest Road, Ridgewood, NJ 07450

Kids will love to explore and learn life skills at this 53,000-square-foot facility, which features a simulated downtown area with shops, cafes, a bank, a medical center, and a cross street where they practice skills, and older kids can get job training. There are also classes for dance, music, art, theatre, movie nights, and social events. 
10 Microlab Road, Livingston, NJ 07039

Pediatric Therapy and Yoga of Morris
Kids can learn yoga and breathing techniques from certified therapists to help improve gross motor skills, quell anxiety, and guide each child to find harmony and inner peace. Classes are offered weekly, and private sessions are available. New students can try a drop-in class.
18 Elm Street, Morristown, NJ 07960

Got a kid who likes soccer? This program offers drills and games in a fun environment where young athletes with disabilities can develop their fitness, technical skills, courage, and self-esteem. Bonus: Player registration and TOPSoccer Coach/Buddy training are currently free, thanks to the generous support of RWJBarnabas Health.
Leagues throughout New Jersey

This unique program uses a buddy program with trained peers from area high schools. Classes are taught by special ed teachers and change seasonally, including tennis, cooking, basketball, pilates, game club, and baseball. 
100 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901

Spectrum Sports
Want to introduce your child to a sport but not sure what? Spectrum Sports offers specialized programs that include basic sports skills, fitness, obstacle courses, games, and yoga to develop skills and foster a love for fitness. 
Headquarters: 1329 Hurffville Road, Deptford, NJ 08096
Other locations include Moorestown, Voorhees Township, and Sewell

Unique Athletics
At Unique Athletics, children, teens, and young adults can join fitness programs, try classes, or explore the sensory gym. Summer camps, birthday parties, and special events are also available. Their summer camp includes a ninja course, sensory gym, tumbling, and arts and crafts.
21-05 Marlot Ave., Fairlawn, NJ 07410

We Rock the Spectrum
Specifically designed to offer an inclusive environment for every kid, We Rock is where kids can let loose in a space tailored to their sensory needs. With crash mats, suspended equipment, tunnels, and trampolines, kids will have a blast finding what makes them happy. Need a break? Book a We Rock Care package where kids are paired with a staff member, and parents can feel safe knowing their child is in good hands and having fun.  
Paramus, Waretown, and Mount Laurel

Explore more programs for special needs with our NJMOM Partners


Special Needs Guide

Photo Credit: Bierman Autism Center

Bierman Autism Center

At Bierman Autism Centers, we understand the unique and personal journey you and your child are on. We are more than just a provider of comprehensive early intervention services – we are your trusted partner every step of the way. Our dedicated professionals offer a range of specialized therapies tailored to your child’s needs, including Diagnostic Testing, ABA, Speech, and Occupational Therapy. Imagine an environment where your child feels safe, nurtured, and understood. Our center-based ABA model provides a supportive and dynamic setting where children aged 18 months to 9 years can thrive. We tailor our approach to foster individual progress and measurable outcomes. With convenient locations in Berkeley Heights, Eatontown, Princeton, and Ramsey, NJ, we create a nurturing, inclusive space that promotes learning and meaningful peer interactions. Our passionate teams provide personalized 1:1 therapy to maximize your child’s potential. Driven by a shared mission, we unlock progress and possibilities through evidence-based practices, innovative techniques, and a supportive community. Join us on this transformative journey, where we celebrate each milestone and create a brighter future together. Experience the difference at Bierman Autism Centers, where every child’s success is our inspiration. 
Locations in Berkeley Heights, Eatontown, Princeton, and Ramsey


Special Needs

Photo Credit: PlayDate


PlayDate is a space for neurodivergent children to work on their social and play skills while their caregivers take a much-needed and deserved break. As educators for neurodivergent children, we understand the importance of a good play date. Play dates are great opportunities for kids to socialize, use their imagination, and learn. We have created a warm, safe, and nurturing environment where each class size is small and targeted specifically for the child. Classes are facilitated by trained professionals who have a passion for helping children. 
193 E. Mount Pleasant Avenue, Livingston, NJ 07039


 The Center School new jersey

Photo Credit: The Center School

The Center School

The Center School is a private, non-profit, approved school for students with learning disabilities. Our students range from grades 1-12, and we also offer a transition program for high school graduates up to age 21. Most students are on the autism spectrum and are classified with multiple disabilities. In addition to the academic-based program, our students receive all the related support services that students with IEPs need to succeed: physical and occupational therapy, counseling, behaviorists, reading specialists, speech/language therapists, and a psychologist. Along with a robust academic curriculum mirroring that of mainstream schools, students have access to electives like music, woodshop, computers, and physical education, as well as after-school clubs and athletic teams like soccer and basketball and an e-sports competitive gaming program. We ensure our students receive the NJ common core state curriculum and the same access to activities, but with the accommodations, services, and supports they need by tailoring each student’s program to their specific IEP needs.
2 Riverview Drive, Somerset, NJ 08873


Special Needs Guide

Photo Credit: As You Are

As You Are

As You Are is a virtual clinic that provides autism evaluations to kids ages 16 months to 10 years old through telehealth appointments. Families are connected with a Board Certified Physician from the comfort of their own homes to help them understand if the child’s behaviors can be best explained by autism or another diagnosis. After a diagnosis is determined, the team helps guide families along their autism journey and ensures they have the knowledge and resources they need to help their children thrive. Learn more and schedule an evaluation at asyouare.com/NJmom.


Special Needs Guide

Photo Credit: JDK Social Station

JDK Social Station

JDK Social Station is a specialized multi-sensory teaching facility that enhances the social and living skills of children with social deficits and other related issues. Our program is individualized to help every child reach their maximum potential. JDK Social Station offers a variety of social programs throughout the year. Our programs emphasize supporting children to develop self-confidence, play skills, and social and problem-solving techniques. We offer private therapy, weekly social skills classes, music & movement programs, and a summer program. Learn more at our open house dates: March 19 from 6:00 PM -8:00 PM, March 23 from 1:30 PM-3:30 PM and June 22 from 1:00 PM-3:00 PM.
780 Post Place, Secaucus, NJ 07094

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About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.