Summertime fun

Special kids with special needs

WRITTEN BY JULIE SCHILLINGS

Summer smile

Summer smile

The countdown to summer has begun! Students are longing for lazy days, summer camp and time away from school. But summer break can be a challenging time for children with special needs and their parents. Many families face a decrease in school and therapeutic hours leaving parents with extra time to fill during the day. A trip to the park may seem like an easy answer for some families, but it is not always accommodating for a child with physical disabilities or special needs. Luckily organizations in our community offer camps and summer enrichment activities designed to accommodate special kids and their unique needs.

The Miracle League of Wichita

The Miracle League of Wichita

Play Ball!

It’s not about counting runs or even keeping track of the outs at The Miracle League of Wichita, a youth baseball league for disabled and special needs kids. Opposing teams cheer for every athlete as they run, roll or even happy-dance across home plate. The Miracle League provides boys and girls the opportunity to be a part of a team and experience a true sense of achievement.

Games are played at the Miracle Field located at Orchard Park in west Wichita. It is the only field of its kind in the state of Kansas with a soft impact, rubber-coated surface completely accessible to wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Bases and lines are painted directly on the field in vivid contrast to aid players with reduced vision. Other assisted equipment such as beep-balls and tees are provided based on the individual athlete’s needs. Each player is matched with an “Angel in the Outfield,” a one-on-one volunteer to help them as much or as little as needed.

Registration is closed for the 2013 season, but fans are encouraged to come cheer for the 100 athletes who will play ball each Saturday at the Miracle Field during the month of May. Witnessing the joy of accomplishment experienced by Miracle League players will bring a smile to your face...and maybe even a tear or two. miracleleagueofwichitaks.org

Think Pink at Cheer Fusion

Founded in 2005, Cheer Fusion has quickly grown into one of Wichita’s premiere competitive cheerleading and tumbling gyms. Owner Kristin Mountain’s passion for cheer is only surpassed by her mission to develop high quality cheerleaders with self confidence in a fun, safe and productive atmosphere. Cheer Fusion has a team for everyone - boys and girls of all ages, from beginners to the elite athlete.

A special needs team is now forming at Cheer Fusion for the 2013 season. The Pink Diamonds is open to all ages and will practice weekly. Team Coach, Alicia Lopez has years of professional and personal experience working with special needs youth. Lopez’s positive attitude and patience will create a supportive environment for the Pink Diamonds Team who will compete regionally representing Cheer Fusion. Contact the gym for additional information at (316)267-5867 or cheer-fusion.com.

Summer Programs

For the Love of Chance Center
Lainie Armstrong
fortheloveofchance.com

Dedicated to enriching the lives of children with additional needs by providing sports, music and art programs which are accessible to children regardless of ability. Fun and friendships are the focus. Sign up for newsletters to learn about upcoming activities throughout the community.

YESS (Youth Education Summer Socialization)
May 28 - Aug 1
Benjamin Stauble
(316)943-1191
arc-sedgwickcounty.org
“Our program is one-of-a-kind and is successful due to the community partnerships.”

YESS is an internationally recognized model program. The 9-week summer day camp welcomes youth with developmental disabilities from ages 5-21. YESS includes a half day of education run by USD 259 Special Education Teachers and a half day of recreational and social opportunities organized by the ARC of Sedgwick County. The afternoon activities include horseback riding, field trips or arts & crafts. Outside the box adventures like swimming in a pool of spaghetti or wrestling in mud create life-long memories. Overnight and out-of-state trips are the highlight of the summer. Scheduling is flexible. Campers can attend 1-week, all 9-weeks or a few days each week. The goal of YESS is to increase the child’s independence and socialization while creating fun, rewarding experiences.

SSTAR Scouts
(316)634-8700
heartspring.org

The SSTAR Scouts program is much like other scouting programs in the community. The focus is to provide the individual an opportunity to acquire the social skills needed to increase participation in community programs along-side typical peers if they so choose.

Camp SSTAR
June 3-7 & June 10-14
(316)634-8700
campstar.org

Summer day camp for children with high functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome. For two weeks in June, school-age children come together in a structured environment to participate in a camp that is much like other summer camps - fishing, crafts, sing-a-longs.

The Purple Cow Farm
Karen Frye
thepurplecowfarm.com

Supportive groups for children with social disorders led by professionally trained staff. Lessons and activities focus on social awareness with the goal of developing meaningful relationships and inclusion in the community.

Dance Reflections
Laynna Wiggins
(316)651-7272
dancereflections.org

Dancing is not only physically stimulating but mentally, emotionally and psychologically invigorating. Dance Reflections brings the power of dance to children with special needs. The goal is to assist disabled children with their individual journeys and provide a facility that encourages a healthy lifestyle, positive energy and self-confidence.

Laughing Feet
Performers
(316)351-TOES(8637)
laughingfeet.com

Encore! Encore! The Laughing Feet Performers inspires relationships between individuals with special needs and their typical peers through musical and artistic expression as well as giving performance opportunities to those who would normally not have them.

iCan Bike
July 15-19, 2013
Wichita Ice Center
Twila Starns (316)942-6300 x232
Space is limited to 40 campers, and advance registration is required.

The Independent Living Resource Center will host iCan Bike, a 5-day camp where kids, teens and adults with disabilities learn to ride bicycles—without training wheels! Professionals and trained volunteers use specially adapted bicycles to teach bike riding. Each camp session is 75 minutes long and meets for five consecutive days. More than 80% of participants learn to ride a conventional two-wheeled bicycle by the end of camp. Each camper receives a properly-fitted helmet, thanks to Via Christi’s Safe Kids program, a camp t-shirt and a trophy. Most importantly, they acquire the encouragement and support to help them ride successfully.

DeafKAN
facebook.com/DeafKAN

Deaf Kids’ Art Network is “Opening the doors to deaf culture through performance and art.” DeafKAN creates opportunities for kids to interact with deaf role models.

Dilly’s Place Family Fun
Day at Camp Hyde
June 15, 2013 11:00AM-3:00PM
28201 W. 71st St. S. | Viola, KS

For one very special day families can experience adventures that are rarely available including: horseback riding, a zero entry swimming pool, canoeing, water slides, a climbing tower, laser tag, face painting, fishing and so much more. All are welcome - activities are free to families of disabled kids.

 
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