2021 Guide to Family Fun for Kiddos with Differences & Disabilities

Find activities for kiddos with differences and disabilities.

Disclaimer :: The information and opinions presented in this article do not represent professional medical advice. Please talk to your child’s doctor or hospital representative before encouraging physical activity of any kind.

If you have a child with differences and disabilities, you can testify to the struggle of finding ways for him or her to connect (and play!) with other children of varying abilities. Fort Worth Moms (FWM) polled mamas across Tarrant County for trusted venues and creative play solutions. Now, FWM is proud to bring you the comprehensive guide to “Family Fun for Kiddos with Differences and Disabilities.” You are sure to find something to entertain or educate your kids of all ages — whether at an accessible playground filled with children of all abilities, or at a sensory-friendly movie screening exclusive to families walking your journey.

Fort Worth Moms hosts 20 Neighbor Groups via Facebook, including the Moms of Kids with Special Needs Tarrant County. These groups are free to join and offer online and offline opportunities to build relationships and gain resources from other moms in the area.

*Please check website for hours and to verify accessibility.*

AMC Sensory Friendly Films — Enjoy select screenings with the lights turned up and the sound turned low. These happen monthly, on the second and fourth Saturdays (family-friendly) and Wednesday evenings (mature audiences).

AquaStars for Special Needs Children (Irving) — Enjoy monthly access to an indoor swimming facility for a discounted rate.

Born to Stand Out Story Time (Arlington) — This story time for children of all ages with special needs takes place at the George W. Hawkes Downtown Library every Thursday morning. It’s just one of the Arlington Public Library’s programs for children with special needs.

Chuck E. Cheese Sensory Sensitive Sundays — Participating locations open two hours early on the first Sunday of each month for children with autism and other special needs and their families.

iFly All Abilities (Fort Worth) — Make the dream of flight a reality for children with physical and cognitive challenges.

Rogue Brick (Fort Worth) — This LEGO® builders’ lounge is more quiet than similar venues (as long as there’s not a birthday party happening). Contact the owners before your visit to arrange accommodations for your child to enjoy some low-maintenance, hands-on fun. 

SeaQuest Aquarium (Fort Worth) — While there are no designated sensory awareness days here, you’re sure to find accessible, quiet, and hands-on fun for the whole family.

Studio Movie Grill Special Needs Screenings — Frequent Saturday-morning screenings with lights up and sound low will delight your child with special needs and any siblings for FREE! Guardians can purchase discounted tickets.

Train Rides — A wheelchair-accessible tour of Tarrant County makes for a cost-effective day of fun. Pro tip: Day parking is free at the Fort Worth T&P Station.

  • Trinity Railway Express offers commuter rail service between Fort Worth and Dallas.
  • Trinity Metro’s TEXRail takes passengers from downtown Fort Worth to northeast Tarrant County, through North Richland Hills and Grapevine, to DFW International Airport, and back. 

Virtual Sensory Explorations: Flower Power—Join The Amon Carter Museum of American Art during the month of April for on-demand, Virtual Sensory Explorations, a free program for families with children on the autism spectrum. Watch a video about four artworks in the Carter’s collection, discover more about flowers, then get creative with a hands-on, art-making experience.

*Please check website for hours and to verify accessibility.*

ASI Gymnastics Gymmie Kids — A strength- and motor-control-growing program tailored to children with special needs . . . with the goal of integration into a recreational gymnastics class.

Challenge Air (Dallas) — Give your child with differing abilities the opportunity to soar — to fly in a small plane, and possibly even help with the controls!

Cheer Academy’s Special Needs Team (Arlington) — Your child will be instructed by certified staff at weekly practice and will perform at regular competitions.

Fort Worth Zoo — All exhibits are accessible by wheelchair. Pro tip: Visit in the afternoon after the field trip groups have gone. The zoo is also offering a new sensory camp this summer for children with sensory sensitivities. 

Fossil Creek Little League Challenger Division — This separate division enables boys and girls (ages four through 18) with physical and mental challenges to participate in baseball. Serves Haltom City, Keller, northeast Fort Worth, Saginaw, and Watauga.

H2OPE (Euless) — This grant-funded water exercise program for children (ages three through 18) with special needs is provided by Off the Deep End Aquatics and Texas Health Resources.

Hippotherapy — Professionals use therapy horses to treat children with autism and other emotional, mental, and physical disabilities.

Keller Soccer Association Miracle League — Children (ages five through 16) with mental and physical challenges can train in weekly sessions for a season-end scrimmage. 

Miracle League — Provide your child with disabilities or special needs to play in an organized youth baseball league.

Special Olympics Texas —  This year-round program holds more than 300 local, regional, and state competitions. Divisions are based on age, gender, and ability level. Every participant receives a medal or ribbon following events. Events include summer, fall, and winter games, equestrian, sailing/kayaking, and flag football.

Spirit Xtreme REJOICE (Southlake) — Check out the coed cheer squad exclusively for children with disabilities. Boys and girls enjoy weekly practices, full uniforms, and competitions.

Urban Air Adventure Park — Check out your local park’s calendar to catch the next sensory-friendly jump specifically designed for children with autism and special needs. Enjoy time at the park without loud music or flashing lights. 

*Please check website for hours and to verify accessibility.*

Alison’s Playground at Jo Kelly School (Fort Worth) — During school hours, the playground is used by the school’s medically fragile students, ages five through 12, for whom the playground was specially designed. Outside school hours, the accessible equipment is free for anyone.

Bicentennial Park (Crowley) — Bring your kids of all abilities to this one; you’ll enjoy peace of mind at the fenced-in playground, where you know your little runner won’t escape while your attention is divided.

Centennial Park (Burleson) — This small park is accessible for your wheelchair-abled child, and fun for all your kiddos.

Cook Children’s Medical Center (Fort Worth) — A small outdoor playground on the front grounds of the main medical center is wheelchair-accessible. Also check out the indoor play space on the first floor of the medical center behind Camelot Court.

Dream Park Fort Worth (Fort Worth) — This inclusive playground located inside Trinity Park has special equipment for children of all abilities.

Patricia LeBlanc Park (Fort Worth) — The playground here has a lot of accessible equipment for kids of all ages and abilities.

Willow Creek Station (Saginaw) — This newly opened area brings an all abilities playground to the northern end of Willow Creek Park.

Access-Life Expo in North Texas (Grapevine) — This annual meet-up for individuals and families living with disabilities provides outdoor fun, food, and fellowship. The next one is scheduled for June 13, 2020.

Connections Project (Dallas/Fort Worth) — The motto here is “The Special Needs Kids’ Directory.” Search for educational, medical, nutritional, recreational, therapeutic, and other parental and family resources in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex.

HopeKids — This organization provides a wide range of free weekly events for families of kids with life-threatening medical conditions.

Respite Nights for Parents — Various churches and specialty services offer respite care for children with special needs (and sometimes their typically developing siblings). This can range from a free parents’ night out to regular day care services. Check out this list provided by Tarrant Cares, or ask your home church.

The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Council of Tarrant County — This non-profit serves Fort Worth and the surrounding areas, providing disability resources for all ages. Check out this great resource of recreational activities in the area.

Victory Flows — This organization puts on lots of fun events for people with disabilities and their families. 

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