• Camps and Recreation

    It is important to start planning early for summer programs, as many have limited availability. The Complex Care Center at Cincinnati Children's offers resources to patients and families to help in the planning process.

    When searching for a summer program for your child, it is important to find a program that focuses on your child's interests and can meet your child's developmental and medical needs. Specialty programming that serves children with specific medical conditions or diagnoses and traditional programming with integration are both available.

    • Cincinnati Children's offers camps that provide opportunities for children with chronic healthcare conditions.   
    • Fun and Fit Directory has information about local activities
    • Abilities First, located in Middletown, Ohio, has a summer therapy program.
    • ADHD / LD Camp Directory, provided by ADDitude Magazine, is a comprehensive list of summer camps, programs and helpful articles.  
    • American Camping Association provides information on camps for children with special needs. You can search by disability, age group and location.
    • Arc of Dearborn County, located in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, has a sensory day camp for ages 5 to 14.
    • Camp Courageous, located in Whitehouse, Ohio, offers residential, day and respite weekend camps throughout the summer and fall.
    • Camp Echoing Hills, Warsaw Hills, Ohio, is an overnight camp that encourages campers to reach beyond their limitations in dozens of fun and therapeutic programs. Ages 7 to adulthood.  
    • Camp Joy, located in Clarksville, Ohio partners with organizations to provide camp experiences for children with medical conditions, grieving children, and underserved children and families. Overnight camping programs include partnerships with Cincinnati Children's, Arthritis Foundation, Camp Sunrise, Amputee Coalition of America, American Diabetes Association, Starshine Hospice, St. Joseph Orphanage and Children's Home of Cincinnati. 
    • Center for Possibilities, offers a summer program for students with developmental disabilities, preschool through adult. Camp sessions are held in Hobart, Indiana.
    • Center for Possibilities, offers a summer program for students with developmental disabilities, preschool through adult. Camp sessions are held in Hobart, Indiana.
    • Children's Home of Cincinnati offers Camp I Can for ages 5 to 12 and Ready Set Work! for ages 18 to 25. 
    • Cincinnati Family Magazine publishes an annual guide to local camps and summer programs and an update on recreation programs.
    • Cincinnati Parent Magazine has an online camp directory as well as helpful articles on the camping experience.
    • Cincinnati Occupational Therapy Institute (COTI), Cincinnati, runs Camp Odakota to support children who have sensory processing disorders.  
    • Cincinnati Recreation Commission has summer camp opportunities and year round recreation programs at different locations throughout Cincinnati.
    • CYO Camp Rancho Framasa, Nashville, Indiana, provides opportunities for full inclusion in an overnight setting.
    • Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati has a variety of camps, activities and social gatherings.
    • Dramakinetics offers performing arts classes and activities for all individuals, regardless of ability. Classes are available throughout the year for toddlers through adults in the Cincinnati area. Continuing education opportunities for family members, teachers and therapists on using Dramakinetics methodology are also provided. Find a list of classes on their website.
    • Hattie Larlham Camp Connect, Bath, Ohio, has an inclusive summer camp ages 6 to 12. 
    • Hole in the Wall Camps have worldwide locations that provide year round programming opportunities for children with serious medical conditions.
    • Indiana Summer Camp Directory is available on the Insource website.
    • Kamp Dovetail is a volunteer run summer camp sponsored by Supplementary Assistance to The Handicapped. The camp is for children with disabilities in Highland and surrounding counties of Ohio and is held at the Rocky Fork Lake State Park in Highland County.
    • Kicks for Kids, Covington. Kentucky, has a variety of sports, arts and social activities.  
    • Kids Camps has information on day camps and specialty camps as well as those that provide opportunities for children with special needs.
    • Life Skills Day Camp, Dearborn Hills United Methodist Church, Lawrenceburg, Indiana, has programs for age 14 (entering high school freshmen).
    • Mayerson JCC, Cincinnati, offers an inclusive camping opportunities for Kindergarten through Age 10.
    • Mini University, Inc. Summer Camp, located in Dayton, Ohio, is an all inclusive camp for ages Kindergarten to age 12.
    • MySummerCamps.com is a comprehensive, easy-to-use directory and guide of summer camps, and summer experiences for kids, teens and youth, featuring a special section on special needs camps.
    • National ABILITY Center, located in Utah, offers a wide variety of year-round activities, which include alpine and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, swimming, cycling, waterskiing, horseback riding, rafting and camping trips, challenge course activities and leadership development training.
    • New Perceptions, Bridging the Gap Summer Program, located in Edgewood, Kentucky, provides basic preschool readiness and continuation of therapy for children ages 2½ to 5 who will enter school in the fall.
    • Pleasant Hill Outdoor Camp, Cincinnati, offers inclusive themed day and overnight camps for ages 6 to 18.
    • Recreation Unlimited, located in Ashley, Ohio, provides summer residential and day camps, as well as year-round respite weekend camps for youth and adults ages 5 to adulthood. Accepts Ohio DD waivers.
    • Redwood, located in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky, offers a therapeutic recreation program with different theme each summer that encourages children to explore their diverse interests, personalities, and abilities while overcoming areas of challenge. Some children require onsite nursing care, assistive technology, and intensive supervision of one-to-two or one-on-one staff-to-student ratios. They also offer technology camps for children and teens with special needs.
    • Special Touch Ministry, Perryville, Kentucky, has an overnight camp that supports children with medical needs.
    • Stepping Stones and Camp Allyn offers year-round programs for people of all ages with a wide range of disabilities. Summer day camps are held at two locations near Cincinnati and summer overnight camp for older teens and adults is at Camp Allyn in Batavia, Ohio.
    • Talbert House, Cincinnati, offers a variety of support programs including drug and alcohol treatment services as well as comprehensive wraparound services and mental health counseling and psychiatric services. They operate a Camp Possible, a summer camp for their clients connected to their case management services.
    • Warren County ESC Tech Camp, located in Lebanon, Ohio, is a weeklong camp where students collaborate with peers on technology based projects for students in grades 6 to 8. 
    • YMCA Camp Campbell Gard, Hamilton, Ohio, offers week-long summer camp experiences for children with special needs. The camp provides specially trained counselors, flexible age guidelines, universally accessible facilities and a fully inclusive program for ages 7 to 22.
    • YMCA Camp Ernst, Burlington, Kentucky, offers weekly day camps for ages 6 to 15.
    • YMCA of Greater Cincinnati has summer camp and recreation options in branches around the area.
    • Youth Overcoming Life Obstacles (YOLO) Summer Camp, Center for Independent Living Options, Cincinnati, offers a summer program for local high school students to help build independence.

    Autism

    • Applied Behavioral Services provides teaching environment for children with Asperger's and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Summer teaching and social skills program offered. Ages 3 to 18.
    • Camp Ability, Cincinnati Center for Autism has social skills and recreational programs, including a 9 week summer camp. Some services begin at age 3.
    • Camp Nuhop, located in Ashland, Ohio, is an overnight camp for children with ADHD, learning disabilities, Asperger's Syndrome and behavioral challenges. For ages 6 to 18. 
    • Clippard Family YMCA, located on Cheviot Rd. in Cincinnati, has an Autism Learning Center  a Preschool Autism Learning Center and is an approved Autism Scholarship provider through the Ohio Department of Education. They also host a monthly Autism Family Night. All monthly Autism Family Nights are open to the autism community; attendees do not need to be members of the Y and there is no age limit. Events range from family movie nights to BBQs to holiday parties.
    • Surfers Healing: Changing the World One Child At A Time offers annual summer surfing camps for individuals with autism.

    Also check out camps for Developmental Disabilities listed above.

    ADHD

    • Cincinnati Children's Summer Treatment Program for Children with ADHD (Ages 8 -12) provides a consistent, daily schedule of recreational and educational activities. The program is designed to develop and improve social skills, conflict resolution, listening skills, improve learning skills and self-esteem. Email ADHDSTP@cchmc.org or call 513-803-7708 for more information about fees and registration process.
    • Camp Nuhop, located in Ashland, Ohio, is an overnight camp for children with ADHD, learning disabilities, Asperger's Syndrome and behavioral challenges. For ages 6 to 18.

    Cancer

    • Camp Courage, offered by Cancer Family Care, organizes a one-day camp experience for children between the ages of 5 to 18 who have been impacted by a cancer diagnosis in the family or by a loss due to cancer. Camp Courage is also open to childhood cancer survivors.

      Campers are divided into groups according to age and participate in a variety of therapeutic activities throughout the day. Teens can also participate in a high ropes course experience.

      Cancer Family Care's main office provides transportation to and from Camp Joy.

    • NjoyItAll Camp is held at Camp Joy in Clarksville, Ohio The camp occupies 315 acres of trees, trails, fields and meadows overlooking a river valley. Three handicap-accessible cabins with indoor bathrooms and hot showers will house campers near the air-conditioned dining hall. The staff works closely with the Cincinnati Children’s medical team to create a safe, supportive environment for children, no matter what their abilities.

    Diabetes

    • The American Diabetes Association offers camps for children with diabetes, including Camp Korelitz in Clarksville, Ohio. Camp Korelitz is supported by the Division of Endocrinology at Cincinnati Children’s. For more information contact Erin Crosby, erin.crosby@diabetes.org, 513-759-9300.
    • Camp Hendon is a week long camp for children with diabetes in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
    • Camp Ho Mita Koda, located in Cleveland, Ohio, has summer programs for children ages 4 through 17.
    • Camp Joy, located in Clarksville, Ohio partners with organizations to provide camp experiences for children with medical conditions, grieving children, and underserved children and families. Overnight camping programs include partnerships with Cincinnati Children's, Arthritis Foundation, Camp Sunrise, Amputee Coalition of America, American Diabetes Association, Starshine Hospice, St. Joseph Orphanage and Children's Home of Cincinnati. 

    Epilepsy

    Hearing Impairment

    • Camp ASL, Cincinnati, is a weeklong cay camp for children with hearing impairments, ages 6 to 18..

    Heart

    • Camp Joyful Hearts helps children with heart disease, and is supported by the Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children’s. Read more.

    Juvenile Arthritis

    • Camp Wekandu helps children with juvenile arthritis and is supported by the Division of Rheumatology at Cincinnati Children’s. Read more.
    • Camp Joy, located in Clarksville, Ohio partners with organizations to provide camp experiences for children with medical conditions, grieving children, and underserved children and families. Overnight camping programs include partnerships with Cincinnati Children's, Arthritis Foundation, Camp Sunrise, Amputee Coalition of America, American Diabetes Association, Starshine Hospice, St. Joseph Orphanage and Children's Home of Cincinnati.

    Learning Disabilities

    • Camp Nuhop, located in Ashland, Ohio, is an overnight camp for children with ADHD, learning disabilities, Asperger's Syndrome and behavioral challenges. For ages 6 to 18.

    Mental Health

    • Summer Smart, Lindner Center of HOPE, Mason, Ohio, has summer sessions designed for children with anxiety and attention disorders. 
    • Talbert House, Cincinnati, offers a variety of support programs including drug and alcohol treatment services as well as comprehensive wraparound services and mental health counseling and psychiatric services. They operate a Camp Possible, a summer camp for their clients connected to their case management services.

    Muscular Dystrophy

    Physical and Motor Challenges

    • Amputee Coalition of America Paddy Rossbach Youth Camp offers youth, ages 10 to 17, who have limb loss and limb differences educational outings, team building exercises, sports and opportunities to learn from peers and adult amputee mentors. Summer camp is held at Camp Joy, located in Clarksville, Ohio. 
    • Camp Riley, located in Indianapolis, provides experiences for children with physical disabilities. Ages 8 to 18.
    • Champ Camp, located in Indianapolis, is a camp for children and adolescents, ages six and up, who have tracheostomies and those that require respiratory assistance, including the use of ventilators. Many campers also have unique physical challenges, including quadriplegia.
    • Conductive Learning Center of Greater Cincinnati provides an intensive, multidisciplinary approach to education, training and development for individuals with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other motor challenges. They have a summer camp for children up to 8 years of age.
    • Spina Bifida Coalition of Cincinnati: Weekend for Teens is an overnight camp experience at Camp Joy.  

    See additional activities under Sports.

    Serious Illness

    • Camp Sunshine, located in Casco, Maine, is a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Programs are available for children under active treatment for cancer, kidney disease, lupus and juvenile diabetes. 24-hour, on-site medical and professional support.
    • Center for Courageous Kids, located in Scottsville, Kentucky, is a medical camping facility for seriously ill and disabled children and their families.
    • Flying Horse Farms, located in Mt. Gilead, Ohio, enriches the lives of children with serious illnesses and their families by providing year-round cost-free camping experiences.

    Tuberous Sclerosis

    Visual Impairments

    • Bay Star EquiCenter, located in Shandon, Ohio, provides Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL). This is a special type of therapy that is done with a specially trained horse, professionals, and a licensed therapist. This is not a riding program. It is a research based therapy that is appropriate for individuals with mental health needs.
    • Bridge Riding for the Disabled, located in Lebanon, Ohio, provides therapeutic riding for individuals with physical, psychosocial and cognitive disabilities.
    • Children's TherAplay Foundation, located in Carmel, Indiana, is an outpatient rehabilitation facility that offers Hippotherapy (horse-riding therapy) for children with special health care needs.
    • Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship has a comprehensive horseback riding program for children and adults with disabilities. They also have a Hippotherapy (horse-riding therapy) program that combines speech, physical and occupational therapy.
    • Love Quest Children's Foundation, located in greater Cincinnati, Ohio area, is a non-profit, tax exempt organization offering equine facilitated therapeutic interventions and educational activities for persons with disabilities.
    • Muddy Water Equestrian Park, Cincinnati, offers riding therapy programs and activities.
    • Ohio Therapeutic Horsemanship, Georgetown, Ohio, offers a therapeutic riding program for ages 5 to 18.
    • Potter's Ranch, located in Union, Kentucky, provides equine therapy through their therapeutic riding program.
    • Safe Haven Farms, located in West Chester, Ohio, is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization offering therapeutic riding, residential, day and community services for individuals on the autism spectrum. It provides a variety of living, working, learning and leisure activities in a farm environment.
    • The Farm at Equisports, located in Goshen, provides adaptive riding and interactive farm lessons. Call 513-625-6300 or email anneast@hughes.net for information.
    • Dramakinetics offers performing arts classes and activities for all individuals, regardless of ability. Classes are available throughout the year for toddlers through adults in the Cincinnati area. Continuing education opportunities for family members, teachers and therapists on using Dramakinetics methodology are also provided. Find a list of classes on their web site.
    • Cincinnati Adaptive Music Camp, offered at the College of Mount Saint Joseph, 

      accepts students with physical disabilities who require adaptations to their instrument or manner of playing in order to succeed, as well as students who are deaf or hard of hearing. 

      Email for information.
    • Marjorie Book Continuing Education Society, located in Cincinnati, brings individuals with and without disabilities together, 12 years and older, for continuing education classes, service learning projects and theater productions.
    • Melodic Connections, located in Cincinnati, provides music therapy-based adapted keyboard and guitar lessons to individuals with special needs, ages 7 through adult.
    • Music Resource Center (MRC), located in Cincinnati, is a multifaceted teen program, grades 7 through 12, that uses recording and performing arts, as well as life skills mentoring to create a sense of empowerment and accomplishment in the urban community.
    • Music Therapy Services, located in Cincinnati, provides individual and small group music therapy sessions for children and adults with developmental, physical, emotional, and learning disabilities.
    • Music Therapy Care, located in West Chester, provides music therapy groups and individual sessions to individuals with special needs to develop identified areas of need, ages 2 through adult, adapted music lessons are also available.  Special summer themed classes for percussion experiences, music ensembles and toddler-caregiver classes are available. 

    • Visionaries & Voices is a studio / gallery created specifically for artists with disabilities to grow both personally and professionally 
    • Butler County Challenger Baseball serves Butler and surrounding counties.
    • Cincinnati Soccer Academy has a special needs camp in partnership with the U.S. Amputee Association.  You can find more information on their website.
    • Cincinnati Ice Breakers Sled Hockey program for children and adults with physical disabilities, ages 6 and up.
    • Cincinnati TOP Soccer is part of a national soccer program created to train young people (ages 5 through high school) with disabilities in a caring coaching environment. TOP Soccer allows a child to participate in the same type of community sports programs as their non-disabled peers, including uniforms, awards banquets, and when appropriate the opportunity to play on a non-disabled team. They have indoor and outdoor soccer, depending on the season. They also welcome wheelchairs.
    • Cincy Swish Spirit Basketball offers basketball instruction to children and young adults with disabilities. In addition to instruction, Swish Spirit provides children of all abilities the opportunity to be part of a team within a basketball league.
    • Fishing Has No Boundaries is a non-profit organization dedicated to opening the world of fishing to physically and mentally challenged individuals of all ages. Their central event is traditionally held on the third weekend of May each year.
    • Kids First Sports Center, Cincinnati, has a variety of enrichment programs, sports activities and gymnastics year round.
    • Milestone's Equestrian Achievement Program, located in Independence, Kentucky, is a therapeutic horseback riding program.
    • Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Baseball Fields are designed for children with special needs, ages 5 to 16. You do not have to be a member of the YMCA, the leagues are open to all.
    • Mason Challenger League, a division of Mason Youth Organization, is a nonprofit that provides baseball and softball programs in the Mason area. The Mason Challenger league is a unique opportunity for children with special needs to participate in organized baseball. They welcome players from surrounding communities. It is open to players ages 5-18 (or up to 22 if still in high school). There is a fee to cover uniform and insurance costs, however, scholarships are available to players who may need assistance.
    • Miracle League Baseball, sponsored by the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, offers athletes with or without disabilities an opportunity to have fun and participate in an organized and competitive league.
    • Special Olympics: Hamilton County Ohio provides year-round training and competition in various sports areas for children ages 5 years and older who are identified to have mental or developmental disabilities.
    • Taekwondo for Children with Autism is offered by Tri-state Martial Arts Academy in Florence, Kentucky.
    • Team IMPACT is a non-profit organization that pairs children facing life-threatening illnesses with college athletic teams. General eligibility requirements for participating children include diagnosis of a life-threatening disease and have recently (the last 2-3 years) been undergoing a range of medical treatments that:
      • Involve lots of time and extended stays in the hospital.
      • Have had an adverse impact on the child's ability to participate in certain athletic, social and academic activities.
      • Have had an adverse impact on the child's development (physically, academically, socially or psychologically).
      • The child is at least 5 years old and either a resident of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic or Midwest or being treated at a medical facility in that region.
    • Cincinnati Recreation Commission offers Adapted Aquatics Programs in their year round warm water swimming pool located at the Mt. Auburn Community Center. Several water entries and exits are available, including a pool chair lift and “easy ladder” with hand railings. The programs are designed to include all ability levels, including the “Dolan Method” for individuals with autism.
    • Stepping Stones offers adapted swim classes. Certified instructors provide activities that promote water adjustment, swimming skills, and development of gross and fine motor skills.
    • YMCA of Greater Cincinnati offers adaptive swimming lessons for ages 3 and up and also provides training sessions for Special Olympics athletes.

    To find other fun activities for your special-needs child, the Complex Care Center offers these resources:

    • Autism Speaks has an online directory of recreation and community activities in Ohio or you can select the state you are interested in.
    • Charleston Club, located in West Chester, Ohio, offers social and recreational activities for adults.
    • Freedom Concepts, Inc. has mobility devices and bicycles for children and adults with disabilities.
    • Island Dolphin Care, located in Florida, is a non-profit organization offering "dolphin therapy" to critically ill, disabled, and children with special needs.
    • Morgan's Wonderland, located in San Antonio, Texas, is a fully accessible family fun park designed for children with special needs. It is free for children with special needs and only $5.00 for parents or caregivers. 
    • Starfire Council of Greater Cincinnati has recreational and community service outings for teens through adults.
    • US Paralympics, a division of the US Olympic Committee, provides opportunities for people with physical disabilities. 

    The Complex Care Center at Cincinnati Children's provides the following resources for helping plan and create a safe, accessible, integrated playground:

    • Beech Acres Park, Anderson Township, has the All-Children's Inclusive Playground.
    • Mt. Airy Forest, Cincinnati, has a universally accessible tree house and playground.
    • Parky's Farm, Winton Woods, is an indoor, farm-themed, accessible playground.
    • Sawyer Point, Cincinnati Riverfront, has the Every Child's Playground designed to be accessible for all children. 
    • Sharon Woods Adventure Station is an accessible indoor play facility designed to explore 19th century life. 
    • Thomas P. Quinn Park, Mason, Ohio has an accessible playground.