Fun & Recreation
People with disabilities like to have fun and learn new things like everyone else. Having a disability or special need does not designate you as a bystander. Michigan has many sports/recreational organizations for special needs and differently-abled bodies to participate in sports and recreational hobbies that provide adaptive equipment for safe and fun activities
Canton Leisure Services Inclusive Recreation
Address: 46000 Summit Parkway, Canton
Ages: Ranges based on program; Leisure Club Programs ages 15-plus.
Cost: Varies based on program; open to residents outside Plymouth-Canton, too.
Whether you or your child has a developmental or physical disability, you are welcome to get active with the therapeutic recreation programs. Leisure Club Programing includes a non-competitive bowling league, dancing, swim, karate & movie nights and more. Plus, they offer an adaptive sports class to teach participants how to play everyday sports with their abilities. In summer, kids 8-14 can also sign up for Camp A.B.L.E.
Address: Meer Center, 6892 W. Maple Road, West Bloomfield
Ages: All ages
Cost: Vary by program and amount of dates program is meeting.
Find sports clinics in soccer hockey and basketball in the winter months; plus summertime sports camp
GUTS – Ground Up Training System
Address: 1008 Orchard St., Ferndale
Cost: Varies by class
This facility offers year-round fitness, athletic and sports programs for children, teenagers and adults with special needs. Current class options include Youth Athletic training, baseball, speed training, Zumba, yoga, boxing and more. Class trials are free and sponsorships are available for families in need.
Michigan Adaptive Sports
Address: Pontiac Lake Recreation Area in summer, Pine Knob in winter
Phone: Contact via email at email@example.com
This Michigan chapter of Disabled Sports USA has adaptive downhill skiing and snowboarding in the winter and adaptive water skiing and kayaking clinics in summer for those with a variety of physical and intellectual disabilities. Many participants’ disabilities range from amputation and paralysis to cerebral palsy, head injuries and developmental disabilities, the site notes.
Michigan Challengers Wheelchair Basketball
Address: Carleton Middle School, 8900 15 Mile Road, Sterling Heights and Beech Woods Recreation Center, 22200 Beech Road, Southfield
Ages: 5-18 (enrolled in elementary, middle or high school)
Cost: $25/registration fee, additional fees for transportation and lodging when traveling to competitions and conferences locally, regionally and nationally
Sign your kid up to play basketball with this local group. Practices are 7-9 p.m. Mondays at the Macomb County location and third Wednesdays at the Oakland County spot. Prep team or varsity team available – both co-ed. While athletes don’t need to use a wheelchair daily, they must have a disability that affects their lower extremities, organizers note.
Oakland County Adaptive Recreation
Address: Drop-in program at a variety of locations in Oakland County
Ages: Vary based on activity
Cost: contact for details
Oakland County Parks has partnered with more than 30 non-profits to provide golf, dancing and other recreational opportunities for people with special needs.
OUCARES Recreation Programs
Address: OUCARES at Oakland University, 425C Pawley Hall, Rochester
Phone: 248-370-2424 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ages: Programs for ages 4 through adult
Cost: Varies based on program; ranges $50-$130 and scholarships are available
Kids anywhere on the autism spectrum along with their friends and siblings can participate in these sports programs, which throughout the year include indoor and outdoor soccer, swimming, judo, basketball, volleyball and SNAG golf for beginners.
Sterling Heights Special Recreation
Address: Various locations in Sterling Heights
Ages: Vary based on activity
Cost: Vary based on program and whether resident or nonresident. Contact for details
Find a plethora of activities for kids with various disabilities, such as dance exercise, bowling and basketball. Check online for the latest newsletter detailing programming.
Special Olympics Michigan – Southeast Region
Address: Various counties across southeast Michigan
Phone: 248-688-9603 (southeast region office)
Ages: 2-7/Young Athletes Program, Special Olympics begins at ages 8-plus
Find a multitude of sports offerings through Special Olympics Michigan, including skiing, figure skating, snowboarding, basketball, cycling, gymnastics, golf, volleyball and many more. Open to kids with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as cognitive delays. No prior experience necessary. Reach out to the Special Olympics Michigan – Southeast Region to get hooked up with your county’s specific contact. Learn more on the Be an Athlete page.
The Miracle League of Michigan
Address: Miracle Field, Southfield Civic Center, 26000 Evergreen Road
Ages: Noncompetitive and competitive leagues for kids and young adults 4-plus
Cost: $75/10-game baseball season (includes major league jersey, hat and trophy), $50-$75/other programs
This Easterseals Michigan program welcomes kids with any disability to play one game per week – no experience necessary. With the help of “buddies,” kids can learn the game and have an opportunity to bat, run bases and score. Games are two innings and last an hour – plus the participants use safety equipment. Other programs through Miracle League of Michigan include dance, bowling and touch football.
Wheelchair Hockey League
Address: Games at Canfield Alkali Arena, 2100 Kinloch St., Dearborn Heights
Sign up to play adaptive wheelchair floor hockey from October-May. Kids with a range of disabilities such as muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, spina bifida, arthrogryposis, osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bones) can join in.
YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit Adaptive Fitness Programming
Phone: 248-644-9036 (Birmingham), 734-261-2161 (Livonia)
Ages: Varies by program; opportunities available for kids ages 3-plus
Cost: Varies based on members or nonmembers
Find an adaptive fitness program with non-competitive games in tennis and yoga at the Birmingham Family YMCA and Livonia Family YMCA. Adaptive swim lessons also available at Birmingham Family YMCA and Macomb Family YMCA. Also, adaptive personal training is available to help establish healthy habits. Offerings may vary by location; contact your local YMCA for details on offerings.
Did we miss any local organizations? Let us know in the comments so we can add them to our list.
Address: Various venues throughout downriver community
Ages: No age requirement
This downriver team offers sports for the physically disabled and those with special needs, including swimming, baseball and bowling.