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Sports for People With Autism

American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO)
Game location: Dan Ryan Woods
West 87th Street and Western Avenue
(773) 871-7761
Cook County
Program provides a quality soccer experience for children whose physical or mental disabilities make it difficult to participate successfully on mainstream teams. Coaches and youth volunteers needed.
When: Depending on the division your child is playing in, games are either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday. Practices are at 6:30 p.m. and games immediately following at 7 p.m. Summer season runs June through August.
Ages: 4-18 years.
Cost: $25 for VIP program.
Financial aid is available. Pre-register online at Make sure you specify Region 423 on your form (VIP program for player with exceptional needs (this may be physical or mental)). Children and adults are welcome.
No wait list.

Asperger Teen and Young Adult Social Group Bowling Outing
Contact: Bev Mills at (815) 735-1208.
Where:  Lemont Lanes, Inc.
1015 State St.
Lemont, IL 60439
(630) 257-5426
Cook County
Cost: $3.50 per game; $3 shoe rental. After bowling, group will have dinner at a local restuarant.
Cost for lunch/dinner: $10-$15 or so per person.
RSVP online or contact Bev Mills.

Autism Speaks - Chicago Chapter
2700 S. River Road, Suite 203
Des Plaines, IL 60018
(224) 567-8573
Serving: all counties
Special movie screenings in theaters.
When: call or email for upcoming movie dates.
Cost: $10 (includes movie, popcorn and drink).

A Big Blast, Gymnastics for Special Kids
(847) 650-8161
One to one ratio and small group gymnastic sessions and cheerleading, dance and Bocce Ball classes with a licensed therapist in a gymnastics school. Therapists combine physical, occupational and language strategies together in the gym. 
Five locations: Northbrook, Elk Grove Village, Highland Park, Lake Forest, and Mundelein.
Ages: 2-21 years.
Cost: insurance eligible.

Other programs at A Big Blast, Gymnastics for Special Kids:
One-on-One Gymnastics Therapy

Licensed pediatric therapist works one-on-one with your child taking traditional therapy out of the office and into the gym. They use gymnastics as a tool to develop muscle tone, core strength, spatial awareness and confidence. Classes are 60 minutes in length, with 45 minutes of therapy and 15 minutes of personal consultation with the therapist. Sessions take place at the following locations:
Where: Gym Spot
915 Tower Road
Mundelein, IL 60060
Where: Flips Gymnastics
27825 Irma Lee Circle
Lake Forest, IL 60045
Where: Naperville Gymnastics
1743 Quincy Ave., #111
Naperville, IL 60540
For more information or to register, email or call (847) 987-3940.
Cost: therapy is insurance eligible; BCBS provider. Otherwise, a super bill will be provided; discount available if you pay upfront.

Sunday Buddy Sports
Sports include Soccer, t-ball and kickball at the Glenbrook Sports Academy in Glenview.
Ages: 4-9 years; 10 years and up.
Cost: $200 (8 weeks).

Buddy Cheerleading/Poms-Saturdays
We'll be cheering at the Buddy Baseball games on Saturdays at Twin Creeks Park or practicing at Buffalo Grove Gymnastics!
Cost: $200 (8 weeks); includes t-shirt and bow.

Buddy Martial Arts
Come empower your body and mind by learning a brand of self-defense that includes respect, self-esteem and compassion at Chicago Martial Arts in Deerfield!
Cost: $200 (8 weeks); includes belt. Opportunity to gain stripes and advance.

Brickology - Legos
Beth Weis
Deerfield Park District
836 Jewett Park Drive
Deerfield, IL 60015
(847) 494-5346
Cook County
Monthly team-building projects with Legos for children with autism spectrum disorder and siblings. Provides social, emotional, cognitive and motor enrichment skills to children.
When: meets the first Saturday of the month from 4 to 6 p.m.
Ages: 5 years and up.
Cost: no fee.
No wait list.

Buddy Baseball of Buffalo Grove
Contact: Mike Katz
Games played at: Twin Creeks Park
401 E. Aptakisic Road
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
(847) 630-4358
Cook County
When: watch for next season dates!
Two age groups: 5-16 years; 17 years and up.
Cost: $100, scholarships are available. Cost includes major league uniforms; baseball mitts not included.
No wait list.

Chicago Park District
Special Recreation at Vittum Park: Fall Session

Xochitl Rodriguez, special recreation coordinator
Where: 5010 W. 50th St.
Chicago, IL 60638
(773) 793-1747
Cook County
Jr. Athletes-Ages: 2-7 years
Introduction to sports and physical activity.
When: some Saturdays 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Cost: $5.
Special Olympic Training-Ages: 8 years and up
Sport specific training (includes bowling and swimming)
When:  every Tuesday and Thursday 5-7 p.m.
Must complete a Special Olympic Medical Application
Cost: $8.
Young Athletes/Kid Fitness
Introduction to physical activity. This class will allow young participants to not only learn the basics of sports but increase fine and gross motor skills, socialization, coordination, and sensory integration (inclusion programming).
When: 2:30-4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Ages: 2-7 years.
Cost: $10.
Creative Arts
Take this opportunity to explore artistic expression. This class will include: drawing, painting, dance, music/multimedia, visual art and much more!
When: 5-7 p.m., Tuesdays.
Ages: all ages.
Cost: $10.
Fun and Games
After school programming that is filled with physical activity, arts and crafts, games and much more. An excellent opportunity for growth in socialization, fine and gross motor and sensory integration.
When: 2-5 p.m. and 12-3p.m. Saturdays; and Wednesday, Friday and some Saturdays 12-3 p.m.
Ages: 7-13 years
Cost: $15.
Sports Camp
Introduction to sports.
Ages: 8 years and up
When: every Wednesday and Friday 5-7 p.m.
Cost: $8.
Social Club
Join us for a great time! An opportunity to promote independence and socialization. This program includes: cooking classes, field trips, parties, holiday events, physical activity and games.
When: 5-7 p.m. and 12-3 p.m. Fridays and some Saturdays 12-3 p.m.
Ages: all ages
Cost: $10
Special Olympic Training
This class includes training and registration to Special Olympic competitions. Sport activity changes throughout the session. The fall session will include: soccer, floor hockey, gymnastics, basketball and snowshoe.
When: 5-7 p.m. and 12-3 p.m. Saturdays; Wednesdays, Thursdays and some Saturdays 12-3 p.m.
Ages: 8 years and up
Cost: $15

Chicago White Sox Kids Club
Chicago White Sox
333 W. 35th St.
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 674-5504
Cook County
All-Star members receive: official membership card, welcome postcard, White Sox gym bag, stopwatch, jump rope, baseball cap, stickers, temporary tattoos, baseball cards (set of six) featuring current players, and four ticket coupons redeemable for upper reserved seats. Slugger membership receive: official membership certificate, welcome postcard, White Sox temporary tattoos, baseball cards, 2009 Poster and two ticket coupons redeemable for upper reserved seats.
Ages: birth to 12 years
Cost: $35 for All-Star membership & free for Slugger membership.

Communication Clubhouse
Karate for Every-Body!
2901 Finley Road, Suite 102
Downers Grove, IL 60515
DuPage County
(630) 495-6800
Exercise, coordination, balance, motor planning, and stength--helps children of all abilities develop focus, attention, and self-control. Participants should be independent in group.
When: meets on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Ages: 4-10 years
Cost: call for rates.
Join at any time.

Elk Grove Gymnastics School (EGGS)
Gymnastics Program for Special Needs

Contact: Glen Marks
775 Bonnie Lane
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
(847) 437-EGGS
Cook County
Offers training from highly skilled safety certified staff for athletes with special needs. Services include: field trips, cheer tumbling, birthday parties, competitive gymnastics teams that will play at Special Olympics functions, circus classes, and beginning/intermediate/advanced gymnastics classes.
Ages: 6 years and up
Cost: depends on beginner/intermediate/advanced level and how many times a child visits facility per week. Call for details.
No wait list.

Exercise Connection Corporation
David S. Geslak, BS, CSCS, founder/president
65 E. Harris Ave., Suite A2
La Grange, IL 60525
(630) 418-4050
Cook County
The Exercise Connection hosts workshops, in-services and seminars to help parents, schools, and professionals develop exercise programs for children and adults with autism. Exercise Connection designs cost-effective programs that utilize the exercise equipment of the home, school or autism center. The Exercise Connection has presented at the Sonya Ansari Center for Autism (South Bend, IN), Autism Symposium (St. Joseph, MI), Clare Woods Academy (Bartlett, IL), and developed a special recreation program for Giant Steps Illinois (Lisle, IL).
Ages: 4 years and up
Insurance not accepted.
Hourly rate: varies on service.
No wait list.

Family Yoga at Campanelli YMCA for individuals with Autism
300 W. Wise Road
Schaumburg, IL 60193
Cook County
Call Leigh Ferstein (847) 891-9622, ext. 110 or

Family Yoga
When: Saturday: 12:30-1:30 p.m., Sunday: 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Group class of 6 to 15 participants to help build rapport and basic understanding of yoga. A family friendly class the whole family can participate in; all participants do not have to be affected by autism.
Cost: $45 (for three sessions per child and/or family member).

Adult Yoga for Asperger's
When: Saturday: 1:45-2:45 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Group class of 6 to 15 participants who will build rapport and learn the basic understanding of yoga.
Cost: $45 (for three sessions per child and/or family member).
When: call for future dates.

Five Keys Yoga, LLC
Erin Haddock
2225 W. Wabansia Ave., Suite 204
Chicago, IL 60647
Cook County

Second location:
1306 Waukegan Road, Suite 205
Glenview, IL 60025
(847) 899-0441
Provides gentle and effective therapy for children with autism. Each session includes singing, breathing exercises, yoga poses, and deep relaxation to teach children to regulate their behavior and emotions. Parents and teachers report that students become more focused, calm, and happy after taking yoga.
Ages: infancy and up.
Cost: $60 (per hour). Most children start off with 30 minutes.

Focus Martial Arts and Fitness
Jim O'Hara
9342 Virginia Road
Lake in the Hills, IL 60156
(847) 458-0938
McHenry County
"Focus on Special Needs" is the basis of the martial arts program. Goal is to identify and highlight the gifts of each student and to make a difference in their lives using karate.
When: meets on Saturdays from 10-10:45 a.m.
Ages: 5-18 years.
Cost: $55 (per month).
No wait list.

Fox Valley Special Recreation Association
Jen Borrowman
2121 W. Indian Trail
Aurora, IL 60506
(630) 907-1114
Kane County
Provides year-round community-based therapeutic recreation services including general programs, Special Olympics sports, leisure education, special events, travel opportunities, individualized programming and social programs.
Ages: 3-18 years.
Eligible districts: North/Aurora, Fox Valley, Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles, Montgomery, Oswegoland and Sugar Grove.
Cost: program fee varies. Sholarships available. Non-residents are welcome but will pay a higher program registration fee.

Free Bowling All Summer - AMF Lanes
This is a nationwide program and all AMF lanes are participating. Sign up at and every Sunday you will be emailed coupons for 2 free games per day.
Ages: 16 years and under.
Cost: 2 free bowling games per day to all kids 16 and under at AMF lanes. For $27.95, adults with kids registered for the program will receive the same coupons all summer for up to four adults ages 17 or older. There is no restriction on who these adults can be.

Funtastic Gymnastic Therapy
Patricia Ostrow, (414) 254-2291
Kelly Donley, (224) 515-9060
Locations include: western and northern Chicago suburbs as well as Milwaukee area.
(414) 254-2291
Provides one-on-one instruction for special needs children using gymnastics as a means to enhance the therapeutic experience. Classes are 30-45 minutes in length depending on the skill of your child. The goal is to graduate each child into the small group sessions. Instruction is provided from licensed therapists including occupational, physical, speech, and the aid of one or more assistants. They use balance beams, trampolines, springboards, tumbling exercises, pummel horse and swings.
Ages: 2-21 years.
Cost: all sessions are insurance eligible; public insurance not accepted.
No wait list.

Funtastic Gymnastic Therapy
Patricia Ostrow
P.O. Box 1172
Northbrook, IL 60065
(224) 554-9634
Utilizes fun aquatic and gymnastic environments to encourage and increase body and spatial awareness, tactile discovery, strength and confidence in each and every unique child. Funtastic Gymnastic Therapy uses traditional clinically based therapies and transforms them into fun, dynamic and valuable experiences by using gymnastic and aquatic environments as a mean to deliver those therapies.
Ages: 2-18 years.
Cost: $75-$150 (per session).
Private insurance accepted.
No wait list.

Special Needs Playtime

14511 S. Van Dyke Road
Plainfield, IL 60544
(815) 609-6360
Will County
GymQuest invites every child, no matter what skill level, to benefit from learning the fundamentals of gymnastics and tumbling which can carry over to any number of other sports. Must bring waiver, download here. Gymquest had offered to set-up a special time for their group to come and play each month. Meetup Mothers of Autism (Aspergers, SPD, PDD-NOS) group will do this event every month.
When: contact group for upcoming date.
Ages: 6 months to 17 years.
Cost: $10 (per child) or $20 (family rate).
No wait list.

Have Dreams
Instructional Swimming (Park Ridge Community Center)

Dana La Brose, MMNA
515 Busse Highway, Suite 150
Park Ridge, IL 60068
(847) 685-0250
Cook County
Have Dreams offers three levels of swim instruction, that includes beginner, advanced beginner, and advanced swim instruction. The swimming instructor will assess and determine appropriate individual goals at the on-set of the program.
When: meets on Tuesdays, 4:10-6 p.m.
Insurance not accepted.
Cost: $25 (per class).
No wait list.

Other Programs at Have Dreams:
Special Olympics Aquatics

This program is designed for advanced swimmers geared toward competition. Swimmers must be proficient in deep water and have a working concept of freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke. This program includes: healthy living unit, warm-up, stroke technique, endurance training and working together as a team. Athletes are training to compete at the local meet. Swimmers must be at least 8 years of age.
When: meets on Saturdays from noon to 1:30 p.m.
Ages: 8 years and up.
Insurance not accepted.
Cost: $25 (per class).
No wait list.

Special Olympics Track & Field
Track and field athletes will work on skills within the area of running, throwing, jumping, and participate in a sports station. This program includes: healthy living/sports unit, endurance training, and teamwork. Athletes are training to compete at the local meet.
When: meets on Saturdays from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Ages: 8 years and up.
Insurance not accepted.
Cost: $25 (per class).
No wait list.

Irving Park YMCA
Goldfish Swimming Classes

Cassaundra Dolan, aquatics director
4251 W. Irving Park Road
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 326-2608
Cook County
Goldfish swim class if for those children on the autism spectrum, including neurological, physical, or socially challenged individuals. This program will focus on developing water safety, social interaction, and basic swimming skills. A free 15-minute assessment is required before starting the program. They offer small class size, certified instructors and warm water.
When: Saturdays, 10 a.m., 12 p.m. or 12:30 p.m. Classes runs for eight weeks, 30-minutes long.
Ages: 3-15 years.
Cost: $78 (members); $156 (non-members).
No wait list.

JCC Chicago All- In Swim
All – In Swim is a learn-to-swim program for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The All-In Swim program provides lessons that teach water safety and swim skills with patience, positive reinforcement, clear goals and expectations, and rewards. Students have three class options: 30 minute private lessons, a small group lesson with a 1:2 ratio, or integrated into a Lenny Krayzelberg Swim Academy group lesson with a 1:4 ratio. Upon class placement, our swim instructors create customized monthly goals for swimmers.

All- In Swim is offered at four locations:
Hyde Park JCC
5200 S Hyde Park Blvd
Chicago, IL 60615
Bernard Horwich JCC (West Rogers Park)
3003 W Touhy Ave
Chicago, IL 60645
Mayer Kaplan JCC
5050 Church St
Skokie, IL 60007
Bernard Weinger JCC
300 Revere Drive
Northbrook, IL 60062

Ages: 6 months- 14 years
When: evenings and weekends
Cost: $55-$108 (monthly fee based on one class per week; price varies based on location and class type). Financial aid is available. Please contact: Cassaundra Dolan for more information at (773) 516-5855 or

JoRide Bicycles
Steven Cohen, founder
(630) 258-2543
Pedal-less bicycles for special needs children and adults. JoRide Bicycles were created for individuals with special needs, regardless of age or physical limitation, to create the ability, freedom, independence, comfort, and stability to learn how to ride a bicycle. Their bicycles are offered to: individuals, schools, private therapy day education, care centers, and all other physical assistance locations.

KEEN Chicago at Sky High Sports in Niles
6424 Howard St.
Niles, IL 60714
This is a monthly event and everyone is welcome to attend.
Jump Sky High is a unique indoor trampoline fun center located in Niles (public transportation accessible). For more information about Sky High please visit their website. Use the link above.
Cost: $5 per child.

Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN)
High Ridge YMCA

2424 W. Touhy Ave.
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 876-2535
Cook County
Volunteer led organization that provides free one to one recreational opportunities for children with mental and physical disabilities, such as autism and other developmental delays. Sports, swimming programs, and much more. KEEN opened their wait list. They are now taking applications for athletes.
When: swim and sports program meets on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month, from 3 to 4 p.m. or 4 to 5 p.m.
Cost: no fee.
Wait list for swim program only.

Northside Athletes
Where: St. Matthias
4910 N. Claremont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
Cook County
email: (Sandy Wettig) or (Michelle Wysocki) for registration information.
The Northside Athletes is a new sports program for children with developmental disabilities. Have some fun and join the Northside Athletes as they practice track and field skills needed to participate in the Special Olympics. Each athlete will be assigned a buddy during practice to help provide direction and encouragement.
When: Sundays, 3-4 p.m.
Ages: 8-15 years.

Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA)
Location varies for each program. See below for details.
(847) 392-2848
Provides a full array of recreation services to children and adolescents with autism and other disabilities within 17 park districts in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

Bowling (3:30-5 p.m.).
Ages: 16 years and up.
Bowling programs are developed for a fun, social experience, while instructors give bowling points and tips. If a structured lesson is desired, please consult with the instructor. Participants will be assigned to lanes according to their age, skill and ability level. Includes two games of bowling.
Cost: varies, door-to door transportation available for an extra fee.

Track and Field
Ages: 8-15 years; and 16 years and up
Program offers an opportunity to train for peak performance. An increase in strength, coordination and flexibility are all benefits of this program.
Cost: $22.50.

Busy Bodies
Ages: 13 years and up.
Socialize with friends, play games, swim and create crafts. The group will have a structured day of activities with an hour of swim time each day. A schedule of field trips will be distributed the first week.
Cost: $35

Evening Workout
Ages: 21 years and up.
Workout class with low and high impact exercises, stretching and a cool down. The class will help tone and strengthen muscles while working on cardiovascular fitness. Ratio is 1 staff to 7 participants.
Cost: $22.50.

Fitness and Swim
Ages: 18 years and up.
Includes 45 minutes of activities promoting fitness and 45- minutes of water exercise. Ratio is one staff to seven participants.
Cost: $26.25.

Pediatric Developmental Center
Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center

Margo Chavez
3040 N. Wilton Ave., 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 296-7682 (Sara Baillie)
Cook County
Ongoing exercise and recreational activities group.
Private and public insurance accepted.
No wait list.

Premier Gymnastics
2066 Mitchell Drive
Oswego, IL 60543
(630) 554-7480
Kendall County
Open gym time for children with autism. Jump, swing, climb and tumble.
Ages: 5-12 years.
Cost: $10 (per child with one adult).
No pre-registration needed.

Right Fit
Eric Stone
7101 S. Adams St., Unit 7
Willowbrook, IL 60527
(630) 850-4050
DuPage County
Ages: 3-18 years.
Inclusive fitness facility that provides comprehensive wellness programs that teach and promote the benefits of proper posture, daily exercise, efficient movement patterns and balanced nutrition.
Fee varies; private training packages available for individual and group exercise programs.
No wait list.

Sky High Sports
6424 Howard St.
Niles, IL 60714
(847) 801-5867
Cook County
Sky High Sports welcomes jumpers with special needs, along with their siblings, family, and friends the first Tuesday of every month from 3-6 p.m. They turn off the music and dial down the distractions for the extra special jumpers.

Special Needs Baseball Team
Alex Cruz, founder/president
Rose McDonough, league secretary
Jose Rivera
Where: Humbolt Park
1400 N. Sacramento Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
Cook County
(773) 653-0215 - Alex
(773) 318-3565 - Jose
(773) 777-4292 - Rose
Special needs baseball for children and adolescents starting in May. Siblings are encouraged to attend and participate.
When: games will be held on Sundays.
Ages: 5-18 years.
Cost: no cost to join and uniforms are supplied.

Special Recreation at Vittum Park
Contact: Xochitl
5010 W. 50th St.
Chicago, IL 60638
(773) 284-6022
Cook County
Chicago Park District programs for individuals with special needs. For questions and registration, contact Xochitl.
Ages: 2 years and up (until high school).

Western DuPage Special Recreation Association
Miracle Field Baseball League

Where: Miracle Field
304 E. Pine St.
Roselle, IL 60172
(630) 681-0962 (WDSRA)
DuPage County
The Miracle League Baseball program provides fun for children with autism, physical and developmental disabilities. This program exposes children to the total baseball experience making plays in the outfield and running the bases with a volunteer buddy cheering them on. Children with special needs are not the only people who benefit from the program. The buddy program partners youth players and community volunteers with the players providing necessary assistance and encouragement. The game is played with five principals including each player bats once per inning, all base runners are safe, every player scores before the inning is over (last one up gets a home run), each team and players wins every game and the game is limited to one hour or three innings.
When: watch for next season dates.
Cost: $46. Scholarships are available.
No wait list.

Western DuPage Special Recreation Association
Inclusion Services

(630) 681-0962
If someone with special needs would prefer to participate in their hometown's park district class rather than WDSRA, we can assist the park district staff with either training on the individual's needs for the class, or provide an additional staff or interpreter when needed. There is no additional charge for participants to receive this assistance. WDSRA's goal is to build towards an individual's independence in their local park district, recreation department or community program. For more information, please contact Tammy Kerrins, Amanda Miller or Angie Kooima at (630) 681-0962.

Western DuPage Special Recreation Association
Tumbling and Movement

Where:  Naperville Gymnastics Club
1743 Quincy Ave., Suite 111
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 416-7114 (Naperville Gymnastics Club) or (630) 681-0962 (WDSRA)
DuPage County
Program for children who have an autism spectrum disorder; participants will exercise and burn some energy in a fun and safe environment. Walk on the balance beam, climb through the foam pit, or jump on the trampoline. Wear clothes that are easy to move around in. A Boardmaker picture schedule will be used to promote structure and communication.
When: Saturdays
Ages: 7-15 years.
Cost: $50. Scholarships are available.
No wait list.

Western DuPage Special Recreation Association
Boardmaker Communication

(630) 681-0962
Boardmaker Communication picture schedules are available for the use in WDSRA’s autism spectrum disorder programs. Boardmaker can help individuals who cannot speak and is used as a tool for designing and printing augmentative communication tables. The software supplies a complete dictionary of picture communication symbols (PCS) from Mayer-Johnson, with verbal labels in various languages. Please contact the WDSRA office and they will be happy to set up the communication tool to meet your child’s individual needs.

If you are interested in adding your organization or would like to make changes to a current listing on our website, please contact Natalie Forburger at (312) 563-2272 or