Sports and Recreational Opportunities in and around our area


The Garden City Athletic Association Challenger League offers various sports which are specifically geared to the special needs community. Boys and girls ages 5 - 18 (or 21 if still in school) can join any or all of the below teams. This is a FREE program open to all special needs players, you do not have to be a Garden City resident. If you do not have equipment, they have extra equipment you can borrow. They welcome all levels from beginner to star athlete. So if you have never played before or just love the game and cannot get enough of it, come join in for a good time and make some new friends.

They also offer volunteer opportunities open to all ages, you do not have to be a resident of Garden City or have any experience. This is a great opportunity to earn community service hours. Most of the volunteers are a buddy to one of our players but we also have opportunities for some behind the scenes work too.


BASEBALL meets in the Fall & Spring on Saturday mornings at the Community Park on Cherry Valley Road (near the Garden City pool). For more information, please email


GOLF meets at the driving range at Eisenhower Park. The 2018 summer schedule is June 19, June 26, July 3, July 10 & July 17 from 6pm until 7:15pm. Professional Golfers teach the players some basic to advance strokes. For more information, please email


TENNIS meets Summer evenings, Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30pm to 8pm at the tennis courts inside the bubble next to the Garden City Pool. For more information, please email


PLATFORM TENNIS  begins in January and is also run by professionals. We meet at the Garden City Country Club. For more information, please email


LACROSSE  meets in the Fall & Spring, practices are on Sunday afternoons (usually 2pm) at the field behind St Paul's School on Stewart Ave. For more information, please email


BASKETBALL begins in January and meets on Saturday afternoons at the Garden City Middle School. For more information, please email


Challenger Sports To download an application click here.


Here are some other local popular sports programs:


NCPAL Special Needs Lacrosse - $50 registration fee. The NCPAL Special Needs Unit is happy to announce their spring & summer 2018 Special Needs Lacrosse program. The practices will be held at MacArthur High School (GPS to Field: MacArthur High School - 3369 Old Jerusalem Road Levittown, NY 11756). We will have plenty of experienced and eager volunteers who will be helping our players to have the best Lacrosse experience possible! If you have any questions about this Special Needs Lacrosse program, please contact Mike Nelson at 516-241-3680.


TOPSoccer (Spring & Fall) Garden City TOPSoccer's Spring 2018 season starts Saturday, April 7th from 11:30am - 1pm at Tullamore Park in Garden City. The program is open to pre-k through 12th grade and both Garden City residents and non-residents are welcome. There is no cost to play and uniform shirts and soccer balls are provided. Soccer shoes and shorts are recommended. Players must wear shin guards. Middle School and High School age volunteers are also needed to work with the players. No soccer experience is necessary. If you have any questions or need directions to Tullamore Park please contact Andy Garger at or 516-775-8058. To Register click here.


Challenger Athletics Inc. (Challenger Lacrosse - South Shore) - For details, please visit their website at


More Recreational Opportunities


AMC Theaters Sensory Friendly Films  This program provides a special opportunity for families to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment. The auditoriums dedicated to the program have their lights up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing!


Autism Theatre Initiative - Making Theatre Accessible to Autistic Children and Adults - Each show is performed in a friendly, supportive environment for an audience of families and friends with children or adults who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or other sensitivity issues. Slight adjustments to the production are made, including the reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe lights focused into the audience. Plus, in the theatre lobby there are quiet and activity areas, staffed with autism specialists, for those who need to leave their seats during the performance.


Ballet For All Kids - an all inclusive program that teaches classical ballet using a wide variety of teaching methods to accommodate all styles of learning including: visual learning, auditory learning, vestibular learning, and emotional intelligence. This method has been very successful in teaching children within the Autism Spectrum, children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities, children with Anxiety Disorders, Behavioral issues, ADHD and neuro-typical children. Free Trial class offered! Registration is on-going and class tuition is $80.00 a month. Classes will take place Wednesdays 4:00pm at You Should Be Dancing! (412 8th Ave. New York, NY 10001). New Sunday classes at 10:00am are being held at the Long Island City School of Ballet (44-02 23rd St. Floor 2, New York, NY 11101).


Be the Best Sport - Be the Best Sport is focused on the athletic development of children with Special Needs. Our mission is to create and provide fun and exciting programs for children with special needs ages 18 and younger; such programs will offer recreational sports for the children and their families. To Register please Call 516.453.0990


Dancing Dreams, a non-profit dance program for children with physical and medical challenges located 190 Glen Head Road Glen Head, NY 11545. Boys and girls ages 3-18 with physical challenges are welcome to join our program. Classes are taught by physical therapists and each child is paired with a 1:1 Helper. Participants are exposed to various genres of dance including ballet, tap, modern and hip-hop. A full-scale onstage performance every spring culminates the year. To enroll or for information call: 516.659.8704 or email:


The Family Center for Autism - The Family Center for Autism is Long Island's first venue that will provide a lifespan of services to children on the Spectrum and a lifeline of support to families who love them. Located in Garden City, their four-story building complete with recreational center (Sporting opportunities taught by Be The Best Sport), Internet cafe and parking offers a full range of therapeutic, educational, social, recreational and vocational programming for the person with Autism and a wealth of support, informational, respite and social opportunities to their parents, siblings and other family members. In addition to the services, they also create family friendly events. Questions? Contact Tina Moreno at 516-741-9000 Ext. 484.


Herrill Lanes, New Hyde Park, Fall Bowling 


Hope Fitness  Making fitness accessible for ALL abilities


HorseAbility  Therapeutic Riding Program, Hippotherapy Program, and Summer Day Camp offers a wide range of horse-related programs to children, adults, and families with special needs to promote the physical, psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual well being of its participants.


i Can Bike Hosted by the Down Syndrome Advocacy Foundation. Held at Pratt Recreation Center -Post Campus of Long Island University, 720 Northern Blvd. Brockville, NY 11548. For information or questions about this bike camp please e-mail Susan at, call 516-928-7008 or visit their website. You can also download a rider application and/or volunteer application here!


Infiniti Elite Gymnastics - Special Needs Class for Boys and girls, Ages 4 - 11 years. The classes are with parent participation to encourage their child both physically and socially. Students will begin to learn basic gymnastic skills in a fun and positive environment. Class time is one hour in duration.


Kids Learning Loft - a private facility in Nassau county providing various unique education and behavior intervention services to school aged children. KLL specializes in children with developmental disabilities, specifically autism spectrum. They have also expanded their strategies in working with individuals with ADD/ADHD and typically developing children with social or academic difficulties. They offer classes in yoga, art, cooking, music and social skills.


Kids Plus Inc.  - Organization dedicated to researching, creating and providing therapeutic recreation programs which include developmental sports programs and structured recreational activities that promote, through participation, the physical, social and emotional well-being of children with developmental disabilities; as well as respite for their families.


Kombative Edge Kids Martial Arts Martial Arts for Students with Learning Disabilities - contact SIFU Justin (516) 782-9625 or Kombative Edge Kids, Learning Disabled Program with experienced martial arts instructor who has spent 10 years teaching how to apply martial arts to children with learning disabilities.


The League of Yes - The League of Yes' mission is to establish and sustain baseball programs for people (of all ages) with disabilities. Their objective is to provide an opportunity for those individuals to experience the joy and benefits that come from playing our national pastime. The aim is to help the league's players develop social skills and increase self esteem, while promoting community support and sponsorship for the league.


Long Island Blues Special Hockey for girls and boys (ages 5 - 18) For questions, contact Laura Russo at 631-255-3305 or at


Manhasset Soccer  Adaptive Soccer Program - Register online under the adaptive team for special needs sidebar.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art - The Museum offers a variety of workshops that welcome kids and adults with a range of abilities and learning styles, together with family and friends.


Mid-Island Gymnastics - Their classes offer kids the opportunity to experience the wonderful world of gymnastics in a fun and relaxed environment. Visit their website or call (516) 935-9804


More than A Gym  Therapeutic alternatives developmental gym. They offer a variety of classes for children with special needs and developmental delays. 82 Rushmore St. Westbury, NY 11590 516-761-1239


Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged (Victory Challenge) - brings together athletes from across New York to compete in a weekend-long sporting event. Athletes compete in Track and Field, slalom, archery, swimming, wheelchair basketball and table tennis. These events offer physically challenged children who are between the ages of five and 21 years old opportunities to participate in sports and recreational activities which are adapted to best suit their unique abilities. The participants consist of some 1,200 young athletes who are physically disabled, visually impaired, or blind, hearing impaired or deaf, and those with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries or Les Autres, which include arthritis and muscular dystrophy. Contact your school for details about participating.


Nassau County Police Athletic League (PAL), Special Needs Unit


The New York Equestrian Center -Located in West Hempstead, NY, next to the 775-acre Hempstead Lake State Park, has been providing services at their facility for over 90 years. For information on their special needs riding program contact their director, Jeannine Mahoney at 631-121-9544.


The New Victory - At The New Victory, they believe the performing arts should be for everyone. They committed to being a cultural home for New York families and are excited to again have four events in our season that are accessible to individuals with ASD or sensory sensitivity. Learn more about the specific accommodations, support resources and the productions themselves here.


Pal-O-Mine Their mission is to provide a comprehensive therapeutic equine program that uses horses to facilitate growth, learning and healing.


POWER PALS  Power Pals is running a program called Meet Me At the Gym, that teaches tweens and teens how to navigate the fitness gym. This program will focus on fitness and the importance of being healthy. Contact them at


The Rebecca Center for Music Therapy at Molloy College Programs are individualized and specifically designed for children, adolescents, and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Asperger's Syndrome, Down's syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities and other developmental or emotional challenges.


Rolling Thunder Special Needs Program - organization dedicated to providing challenged individuals with the opportunity to successfully participate in all levels of mainstream running, walking or wheelchair racing year round.


Sensational Development - Occupational Therapy


Shine (Special Horses Instructing Nobel Equestrians - is an equine program serving individuals with special needs since 2006. They accommodate individuals from 3-103 years old and work with a variety of special needs from developmental to various physical disabilities. Their goal is to introduce riders to the special bond they can have with horses.


Smuggler's Notch Adaptive Program (SNAP) in VERMONT - dedicated to providing therapeutic recreation for children and adults of all abilities in a supportive environment. Experiences are tailored to meet the needs and goals of each individual. The ratio of counselor to program guest is based on the individual needs of each person.


Special Action For Escape (S.A.F.E Personal Safety Programs, Alternate to traditional Self Defense programs for individuals of all abilities) For 16 yrs and up.


Special Olympics  runs MANY sports programs on Long Island a contact or visit their website


The Starry Night Cafe - a unique experience that caters to the creative talents of adults with disabilities by providing a safe and stimulating environment where individuals can socialize and express themselves through poetry readings, musical and vocal performance and by actually running the cafe themselves.


Surfers Healing seeks to enrich the lives of children with autism and the lives of their families by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing. Registration for summer session dates opens in May. All registration takes place through the Surfer's Healing Website.


Surfer's Way is a non-profit organization designed to offer children with special needs the opportunity to experience the exhilaration and liberation of surfing. They offer free surf outings during the summer at Riverside Beach in Long Beach, NY. Visit their website for further details and dates.


Team Heroes Sports  is a non-profit organization on Long Island that provides families of children with autism the opportunity to participate in sports in an integrated setting, and provides materials/supplies they need in order to educate their child.


Theresa Academy for Performing Arts  TAPAa's primary goal of their classes is for the children to experience the joy of dance, drama, art, and music. Their teachers use a wide variety of teaching methods to accommodate all styles of learning. There are many other benefits to the children who participate including improvement in coordination, overall fitness, focus, listening, balance, self-esteem, self-expression, rhythm, and musicality. For more information visit call (516) 432-0200 or email