Things to Do With an Adult With Special Needs


Many adults with disabilities still live in the care of a family member. Once they have graduated from a secondary school, many special needs adults lose their social connection and long for other ways to feel like a part of society. From day camps to art institutes, there are many activities to make your special needs loved one feel productive.

Activity Ideas for Developmentally Disabled Adults Activities for Adults With Disabilities

Work on Independent Living
Many special needs adults strive for independence, and sometimes the best fit for them is an apartment setting or small group arrangement. Work with your special needs person to develop a plan for independent living. Contact a local or state office dedicated to people with disabilities. Many apartment-living special needs individuals qualify for financial assistance.

The goal of employment is also reachable for some special needs adults. In Connecticut, for example, Project Genesis ( partners with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services to provide work for special needs adults and staffing for local businesses. Some such programs feature a week or two during which the client gets a working interview, which gives him a feel for the job and brings no labor cost to the business.

Day Camps
Many towns have developed centers which feature educational opportunities for special needs adults. In Westerville, Ohio, for instance, is The Alternative Center, a day program which includes curricula in math and reading for adults with disabilities.

Throughout the country, day, week and summer camps provide special needs people with opportunities to interact with individuals of all ages through guided activities such as art, sports and trail hiking. For example, Camp Thunderbird in Orlando, Florida, provides certified lifeguards, 24-hour nursing care and a four-to-one camper-to-staff ratio.

Art Therapy
Special needs adults seek an identity and validation, and one of the ways to accomplish this is through artistic expression. According to the National Institute of Art and Disabilities (, the arts provide special needs patients enhanced self-esteem and socialization opportunities while providing the public with increased awareness of their abilities.

Art shows, such as the exhibit held at The University of California at Berkeley (, allow people with special needs to see the work of their peers. NIAD artists can also contribute to the beauty of surrounding communities. Several members previously created a mural for the Richmond Police Department. And in August 2011, NIAD performers were set to perform at an event featuring dancers and musicians.

Peer Social Activities
Organizations such as The Enterline Foundation ( provide links to each state’s activities for adults with developmental disabilities. In New Jersey, for example, links are provided to such activity-based groups as the Douglas Developmental Disabilities Center ( and Bancroft Neuro Health ( Excite Steps (, a San Diego-based group, provides social clubs and workout activities for special needs adults and their peers.

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About aoschmidt

Founder of My College and Career Coach (Part of My Balance LLC) as well as Next Step for Special Needs (501C org) and an Emotion Code Practitioner. I LOVE helping people to prosper! I am the mother of 6 (2 mine and 4 are his) and 2 of these children have special needs. My educational background includes a BS in Psychology and a MS in Counseling and Guidance. Over the past 20 years, I have been assisting families, with special needs children, from birth to graduation and beyond, for FREE! I have been helping these families while working full time in the field of education as a school counselor and learning how the educational system works from both sides (as an educator and a parent). I have been helping families to navigate the medical and educational systems as well as obtaining other services that are available to their children. See ABOUT page for full company profile. Follow the blog via email or join us on Facebook!

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