A special needs child is defined as a child who requires special education because these children may have learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities or emotional difficulties. Those of us who have special needs children know that we need to find educational and entertainment options that cater to them. Fortunately for Greater Cincinnati residents, our region is rich in these organizations. Here are some noteworthy ones.
CINCINNATI ZOO & BOTANICAL GARDEN
3400 Vine St., Cincinnati
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has an Access for All program to accommodate its guests with special needs. The zoo provides resources for individuals with developmental disabilities including calming rooms, sensory bags, Access passes and sensory-friendly restrooms. The Calming Rooms are private spaces in the zoo that include several items and tools, such as rocking chairs, dimming lights, bubble walls and weighted lap pads. Sensory Bags provide on-the-go tools for guests, such as chewy tubes, noise-reducing headphones, sunglasses, scratch and sniff stickers, bendy fidget toys and pinwheels. Access Passes are available for guests who may have difficulty waiting in standard lines for their attractions. Sensory-friendly restrooms are one-person restrooms that have manual flush toilets and manual paper towel dispensers. The zoo also has free resources like a sensory map and social stories, all of which are available on-site or online.
CINCINNATI THERAPEUTIC RIDING AND HORSEMANSHIP
1342 U.S. Highway 50, Milford
Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship offers programs to teach horseback riding to people with disabilities and unique challenges.
12372 Riggs Road, Independence
Milestones, Inc. offers therapeutic horseback riding to individuals with challenges.
1 Aquarium Way, Newport
Occasional Family Inclusive Sensory Hours (F.I.S.H) events where, sound, lighting or other modifications are made to accommodate guests with special needs.
WINTON WOODS RIDING CENTER
Parky’s Farm 10073 Daly Road, Cincinnati
In addition to mainstream lessons for beginners through advanced riders, they also offer programming for other-abled riders.
ARTS & THEATER
AMC WEST CHESTER
9415 Civic Center Boulevard, West Chester
AMC NEWPORT ON THE LEVEE
One Levee Way, Suite 4100, Newport
AMC DINE-IN ANDERSON TOWNE CENTER
7490 Beechmont Ave., Anderson Twp.
AMC CLASSIC HAMILTON
1453 Main St., Hamilton
AMC Theaters in Cincinnati offers select sensory-friendly screenings.
CINCINNATI ART MUSEUM
953 Eden Park, Cincinnati
Cincinnati Art Museum offers offer monthly sensory mornings, social narratives online and sensory bags.
1801 Gilbert Ave., Cincinnati
The Cincinnati Ballet always offers a sensory-friendly performance.
CINCINNATI MUSEUM CENTER
1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati; 513-287-7000
Cincinnati Museum Center offers accessible amenities, quiet zones and fidgets/ear muffs available on request.
THE CHILDREN’S THEATRE OF CINCINNATI
4015 Red Bank Road, Cincinnati
The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati has sensory-friendly and ASL performances of their shows.
ALL ABILITIES SPORTS NKY
A new non-profit that offers families “try it days” so children have an opportunity to try new sports. Contact Samantha@allabilitiesnky. com or Jon@allabilitiesnky.com for more information.
Special needs athletes can participate in a basketball league, cheer squad, softball league or soccer.
WE ROCK THE SPECTRUM GYM
4060 Galbraith Road, Unit #17, Cincinnati
Caters to children with fine motor and sensory-related disabilities.
CAMP ABILITY – CINCINNATI CENTER FOR AUTISM
100 Office Park Drive, Fairfield
Cincinnati Center for Autism hosts Camp Ability, half and full-day camps for people with special needs.
5650 Given Road, Cincinnati
An organization that offers programs, including summer day camp and its “Step-Up Autism Alternative Education,” for individuals with disabilities.
CHUCK E. CHEESE
• 4394 Eastgate Square Drive, #900, Cincinnati
• 1429 East Kemper Road, Sharonville
• 7635 Mall Road, Florence
Participating locations open two hours early on the first Sunday of the month to offer a sensory-friendly experience.
6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason
Offers various programs to accommodate disabilities.
PEDIATRIC THERAPY ABC PEDIATRIC THERAPY
A pediatric practice that specializes in ADHD, autism, Down Syndrome, Sensory Integration Dysfunction and more.
BIG BLUE CANOPY
11230 Cornell Park Drive, Blue Ash
A multidisciplinary pediatric therapy practice offering physical, occupational and speech therapy services in a play-based setting.
18 North Fort Thomas Ave., #302 Fort Thomas, KY
Offers occupational, physical and speech therapy.
1000 HANDS PLAYGROUND
5915 Ridge Ave., Cincinnati
BEECH ACRES PARK
6910 Salem Road, Cincinnati
340 Crescent Ave., Wyoming
EVERY CHILD’S PLAYGROUND
801 East Pete Rose Way Cincinnati
Caters to physically disabled children and children with cognitive disabilities.
6100 Kopfler Court, Mason
The Common Ground Playground was designed with local parents of children with disabilities.
MT. AIRY FOREST
5083 Colerain Ave., Cincinnati
The park features a wheelchairaccessible public treehouse.