Looking for an after-school sports program for your child with special needs? Here is an extensive list of great programs that are in the Chicago area, as of October 2023:  

Chicago Challengers 

From their website:

“The Challenger Division is a division of Little League for boys and girls with physical and mental challenges, ages 4 – 18 (or up to age 22 if still enrolled in high school) to enjoy the game of baseball. We start each game with some easy stretches, and then we move into a game.

As some players need assistance to participate, personal coaches called buddies are available to all players. Buddies help the player bat, field, run the bases, stay safe on the field, and learn the fundamentals of the game.

The goal for the Chicago Little League is to ensure that each player has the opportunity to increase their knowledge and skill of the game while having fun and being part of the team.”


From their website:

“GLASA believes that health is a lifelong pursuit and offers programs for individuals ages 3-75+. GLASA supports athletes with primary physical or visual disabilities, such as amputation, cerebral palsy, dwarfism, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury, spina bifida, stroke, visual impairment and more.”


“Empower youth with disabilities and impact volunteer coaches through participation in free, non-competitive, one-on-one programs of physical activity and fun, supporting the overall health and well-being of all participants.”

Chicago Park District

The Chicago Park District has many different adaptive programs depending on your child’s needs. These include:

Sports, Recreation & Leisure Programs

“Designed to provide opportunities that will enhance skill development, encourage socialization, and promote independence for individuals with intellectual disabilities and developmental delays. Also, includes sports training programs with opportunities to compete in Special Olympics competitions.”

Adaptive Sports & Recreation Programs

“Intended for individuals with a primary physical disability or individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Programs include wheelchair sports, adaptive sports, and additional recreation opportunities.”

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Programs

“An opportunity for individuals with all types of hearing loss from early childhood through adulthood to interact with each other while enjoying a variety of year-round specialized recreational activities.”


From their website:

“Dare2tri is an Illinois-based 501(c)3 non-for-profit organization with the mission to enhance the lives of individuals with physical disabilities and visual impairments by building confidence, community, health and wellness through swimming, biking, and running.

Since its 2011 inception, Dare2tri has encouraged recreation, racing, and competition in this trifecta of sports, while also cultivating a sense of community for all athletes, who are not labeled by physical ability, but rather their determination and will to succeed.

Dare2tri empowers athletes of all ability levels from beginner to elite to be physically active, engaged with their community, and set and reach goals. We transform lives by boosting individuals’ self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth.”

Joffrey Ballet Chicago Adaptive Dance

JAM (Joffrey Abilities in Motion)

“JAM helps students with autism find their place in the dance community by providing a positive movement experience, improving upon their mind and body awareness, verbal and nonverbal communications, adaptation to different situations, socialization, and self-confidence.”

Private Instruction

“The Academy is proud to offer private training for students with diverse movement abilities, including but not limited to those with Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, or Down Syndrome. To schedule a private lesson, please contact Academy Reception at reception@joffrey.org or 312-784-4600.”

Special Olympics

From their website:

“With more than six million athletes and Unified Sports partners and one million coaches and volunteers in over 200 accredited Programs, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions every year. “

This link will bring you to the sports offered in Illinois and Chicago areas.

This link will bring you to the athlete interest form.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago – Free Adaptive Classes Online

From their website:

“While all of our classes are inclusive, we recognize that some dancers need additional assistance to reach their full potential. Hubbard Street’s Adaptive Dance Programs support the needs of all students. Using dance-specific visual supports, students explore dance technique and the choreographic process using developmentally appropriate methods.”

Dance Gallery Chicago – Special Needs/Dance Therapy Class

“Dance Gallery is proud to offer special needs & dance therapy classes this year! Our program offers basic music, movement, dance, rhythm, body awareness and structure with emphasis on the child’s needs and interests.

The class is structured in a creative movement style where children will have the opportunity to connect with music and movement. The class begins with a stretch and warm up in order to get into the mindset of being in the dance studio and prepared to move. We will then move across the floor in a “follow the leader” way to start learning dance steps, such as skips, glides, and jumps. As the class progresses, there will be times when movements will be put together to create short dances. At the end of class, there will be time for free dance so kids have a chance to be creative in how they move with the music, either on their own or incorporating steps they learned in class. Throughout the session, there will be times children will incorporate different styles of dance, such as ballet or jazz.

This is the general structure & goals for class, but Miss Abby does adapt the class based on the needs/behaviors of the students.”

Adaptive Climbing Group

From their website:

“The Adaptive Climbing Group fosters an inclusive community for individuals with disabilities to engage in the sport of climbing by leveraging their existing abilities. The idea of this group was inspired by Kareemah Batts’ personal experience after climbing at the USA Climbing event after an amputation. The first “NYC Adaptive Climbing Clinic” was held in Brooklyn, NY on March 15, 2012, where 38 disabled individuals were introduced to climbing over a period of two days. This event was considered the largest climbing experience of its kind at that time.”

The third chapter of Adaptive Climbing Group launched in Chicago with a volunteer training in May 2015. Now, ACG Chicago has a thriving community and facilitates weekly indoor climbing and monthly youth sessions at Brooklyn Boulders.”

Eyas Landing is a therapy clinic with a mission to provide evidence-based and family-centered therapy services for children, adolescents, and their families. The primary goal is to deliver relationship-based interventions within the most natural environments and to empower families to reach their full potential. To achieve this goal, our highly educated, compassionate staff dedicates time and expertise to create experiences that maximize therapeutic outcomes. The strength, determination, and perseverance of our clients are evident as they succeed in therapy, and ultimately in their daily lives.

Eyas Landing offers a wide range of comprehensive services including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, ABA Therapy, Social Work, Family Therapy, and Neuropsych testing. Services are provided throughout the Chicagoland area via Telehealth, In-Home, and in our state of the art clinic.

Want to learn more or you have a specific question? Feel free to connect with us here!

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