Hands down, my favorite thing about living in Vermont is how inclusive of a community we live in.
While we are a small state, I am constantly amazed by the number of adaptive sports opportunities that are available for our children with special needs, like my son.
Over the past three years, my son has participated in a variety of adaptive sports programs and he is about to start hockey for the first time this fall. Here five adaptive sports programs that are available within our community:
TOPSoccer is a modified version of soccer specifically designed for children ages 4-21 with special needs. Each athlete is paired with a buddy coach, who is typically a high school soccer player. There are three different TOPSoccer programs within the state, in Essex, Woodstock, and Arlington. The program starts on September 9th. Practices are held on Sundays for an hour and a half. A typical practice starts with a warm-up, then the athletes participate in soccer drills, and the end of the practice is a small, one-sided game. The buddy coaches are absolutely amazing and the focus of the program is to have fun. For more information, contact Amanda Cowan ([email protected]).
New this year, the St. Albans Skating Association is starting an adaptive hockey program. The program is open to children ages 4-19 years old. The program will start off as a Learn to Skate program on October 6, 13, and 20 from 11:40-12:30. The Learn to Skate part of the program will be free to try. If your child enjoys learning to skate, they will then be moved into special youth hockey team for the season. I am so excited the program is available and I can’t wait to see my kid on skates for the first time. For more information contact, John Boomhover (802-309-8197 or [email protected]).
STAR Basketball is a six-week adaptive basketball program for children ages 4-21. The program focuses on learning the game of basketball in a fun, non-competitive environment. Each child is assigned a mentor coach who is a local basketball player. STAR basketball starts in January and is held at the EDGE Sports and Fitness. For more information contact Leslie Capano ( 802-862-9064 or [email protected]).
ONTO studio offers martial arts classes for children with special needs. The studio has had extensive experience working with special needs kids of all different diagnosis and abilities including autism, sensory disorders, and behavioral issues. The studio uses the same core curriculum for all children, which focuses on tumbling, free running, and meditation, but introduces and builds skills at your child’s pace. Bonus, your first class is free! For more information contact Lauren Ballard (802-683-8539).
This six-week program is organized through the Vermont City Marathon and is offered in the spring for children with special needs ages 6-14. This program typically starts in the middle of cabin fever season and it is the perfect program to get out any extra energy. The focus of the Mini-Miler program is to engage in games, run, and most importantly have fun. For more information contact Sara Kruk ([email protected]).
There you go, five different adaptive sports programs that are available in this awesome state. Hopefully, I’ll see some of you guys on the field, in the rink, or on the track. Please stop by and say hi!