Activities for Special Needs Children in Columbia


ACTivities for special needs children in columbia

For parents of children with special needs, it can often be difficult to find activities for their children to participate in. With my son Andrew, who has autism, we tried soccer, t-ball, even dance; but it was incredibly frustrating for us to find a program that was the right fit for him.

Depending on the level your child may function, it may be harder for them to participate in mainstream activities (as we found out with Andrew), but that doesn’t mean they can’t still enjoy sports and other programs. Here in Columbia there are activities geared toward special needs children (as well as their families), with instructors and staff who work diligently with the families to ensure the best experiences possible.


KICK IT! is a free, twelve week white belt karate program designed to prepare individuals with special needs for integration into mainstream programs. Offered as a collaboration with East West Team Martial Arts and the South Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council, this by far has been one of our favorite activities. Participants are a young as 3 and classes are even offered for adults with special needs. Programs are structured so new students can start/rotate in on any Saturday. Registration required.

Location: East West Team Martial Arts | 7579 St. Andrews Road | Irmo, SC | 29063

Dates: Every Saturday

Class Times Based on Age: Ages 3-6  from 9:00-9:30 a.m. | Ages 7-12 from 9:45-10:15 a.m. | Ages 13 to adult from 10:30-11:00 a.m.


Family Connection South Carolina

FCSC has various groups and programs for families who are signed up with them. Playgroups with other parents who have children with specific needs, including a NICU support group and Project Breathe Easy for parents of children with asthma. There is also a Parent Match program, that allows parents to connect on a 1:1 basis. This program is another one of my favorites, as it allows more interactions with families who also have special needs children.

Location, Dates, Times and Ages: Varying times and locations throughout Columbia and based on need (and possibly age). Find out more information here.

Dream Riders

Dream Riders allows children with varying disabilities and special needs recreational therapy through a unique approach — equine assisted activities in a safe environment. We have tried horseback riding through a few programs, and for my son it is another one of his favorite activities.

Location: 156 Sandy Hill Road | Lexington, SC | 29072

Dates, Times and Ages: Vary – call (803) 957-7906 for more information or visit their website for additional details.


Kid Connection

This special workshop is designed to provide siblings of children who have special healthcare needs an opportunity to gain peer support and education in a recreational environment. Through planned activities, trained professionals encourage children to explore their feelings and learn how to handle situations that may arise. (If you have participated in this program, I would love feedback on your experience. We are looking into this one for our oldest as it seems to be a perfect fit for our family’s situation).

Location, Dates and Times: Various locations throughout the state. Email La’Kisha Cross, program coordinator, for additional details, or call her at (803) 252-0914.

Ages: Geared towards siblings between the ages of 8-12

Super Summer Camp

This camp provided by the Irmo/Chapin Recreation Center is geared towards children with special needs, consisting of indoor and outdoor activities such as arts and crafts, water games, field trips (such as Regal Cinemas and bowling) and more! Plan to bring a bag lunch; morning and afternoon snack provided. Participants must be moderately independent in all areas of daily life. A 1:3 staff ratio is provided. If your child needs closer supervision, a personal assistant will need to be provided.

Location: Seven Oaks Park | 200 Leisure Lane | Columbia, SC | 29210

Dates: Camp occurs weekly between June 8 – August 14

Time: 7:45 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Monday – Friday

Ages: 8-21

art-423530_640These are just some of the services that we have participated in (or are looking to) throughout the Midlands. Let us know if you have participated in any of these programs or others! I am always looking for more activities for my son, Andrew, and am especially interested in activities that will help him make new friends.


    • Dr. Matt LeGray, a clinical psychologist and board certified behavior analyst, has spots open for psychological services for children with developmental delay in Chapin! He specializes in children/adolescents with aggression, non-compliance, feeding problems, and anxiety, etc. Contact them now!!

  1. Hi. I also have a high functioning autistic son who loves being active and loves sports. This was very helpful. I am also looking for extra activities my son can do without breaking the bank and that he can enjoy doing besides just sitting in daycare. I am looking for any special needs sports teams mainly baseball basketball 🏀 and football 🏈, or even soccer ⚽️. We have tried soccer before but that was not so successful. I am also thinking of putting him in Cub Scout. Is that good? Idk but any Abbie’s or tips anyone could offer about special needs teams would be great.

  2. I am relocating from Texas to Irmo, SC and I am terrified of the move for my High Functioning Autistic 14 year old son. Any tips on how to get him involved in groups or socializing would be appreciated. We are leaving everything we know and will be homeschooling him.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here