It can be difficult to find ways to stay fit and active during the winter season – doubly so for families who have children with special needs. It may seem that activities specifically designed for children with special needs are limited, but the Ann Arbor YMCA is on a mission to include everyone in their programs.
“We try to include as many people as possible in all of our programs,” said Jan Hack, Director of Communications for the Ann Arbor YMCA. “While we do have some outside groups that bring special needs students to us, really what we try to do is we make existing programming available to kids who might be excluded otherwise.”
The goal of the YMCA then is not to create specialized programs for kids with special needs, but to integrate everyone into the same classes. The YMCA stresses this inclusiveness by providing a zero-depth entry pool with a wheelchair lift, family locker rooms with private cabanas, and employing staff with a variety of training in different forms of special needs.
“I would invite any family whether they’re a member or not to give us a call, and we can get those families connected with the director of our aquatics program, or our youth sports program. We have kids with all kinds of disabilities that have been included in our afterschool programs,” said Hack. “We want to work with everyone. We want to make sure everyone has access to the programs and the facilities that we need in order to stay active and healthy, and we’re happy to accommodate as much as we can to make that happen.”
Families can inquire about programs and access by calling the Ann Arbor YMCA
at 734-996-9622 or by visiting https://annarborymca.org