Special Needs Events for Kids and Parents in Metro Detroit

Parents of children with special needs in metro Detroit and Ann Arbor can plan ahead for fun activities, sensory-friendly movie showings and more that are tailored to meet their needs.

There are always plenty of fun activities going on around southeast Michigan for kids and families to enjoy. But sometimes it’s nice for children with special needs to have an event that’s designed just for them – from sensory-friendly movie showings to a chance to try something new in a more patient, supportive environment. Parents can also benefit from workshops, support meetings and other events geared toward moms and dads of children with special needs.

That’s why we’ve compiled this list featuring some great upcoming special needs events for kids and their parents. Take a peek at these activities for people with special needs and their families.

Interested in adding an upcoming special needs event in southeast Michigan to this roundup – or to our calendar of upcoming events? Just submit event details there, and we’ll see that it’s added to this list, as well.

A word of advice: Some events may require pre-registration. Click on the calendar listing for the event and get details on pre-registering and how to contact the organizer for more details.


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PAWS for Reading at the Sterling Heights Public Library

Nov. 13 and 27, 2018

  • Address: 40255 Dodge Park Road, Sterling Heights
  • Time: 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays
  • Cost: Free

Trained therapy dogs don’t judge or interrupt. That’s why they visit the library and sit with kids as they practice their reading skills.

Sensory-Friendly Film Showings at AMC Theatres 

Nov. 13, 24 and 27, 2018

  • Address: Locations vary including AMC Forum 30 (44681 Mound Road, Sterling Heights), AMC Livonia 20 (19500 Haggerty Road, Livonia) and AMC Star Gratiot 15 (35705 S. Gratiot Ave., Clintion Township)
  • Time: Times vary. Check with your closest theatre
  • Cost: Contact for details

See an autism-friendly screening of Bohemian Rhapsody (PG-13) on Nov. 13, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (PG) on Nov. 24 and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (PG-13) on Nov. 27.

Hoedown at Novi Parks and Recreation Cultural Services 

Nov. 16, 2018

  • Address: 45175 W. 10 Mile Road, Novi
  • Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Cost: $5/caretaker, $10/participant

Those with developmental disabilities, ages 18-plus, are invited for a night of country dancing, pizza, salad and music. Registration required.

Saturday Sports Special at the Boys & Girls Club of Oakland County in Royal Oak 

Nov. 17, 2018

  • Address: 1545 E. Lincoln, Royal Oak
  • Time: 9:30-11 a.m.
  • Cost: Free

Kids ages 6-18 with disabilities are welcome to try their hand at some adaptive sporting events including parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, basketball and others. Registration required.

Emagine Autism-Friendly Movies & Fun

Nov. 17, 2018

  • Address: Locations vary including Emagine Saline (1335 E. Michigan Ave.), Novi (44425 12 Mile Road), Rochester (200 Barclay Circle), and Woodhaven (21720 Allen Road)
  • Time: 10:30 a.m. Saturday
  • Cost: Contact for details

People with autism can see new flicks in a safe, understanding environment. See Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (PG) on Nov. 17.

Count Me In! Special Needs Storytime at the Canton Public Library

Nov. 17 and Dec. 15, 2018

  • Address: 1200 S. Canton Center Road, Canton
  • Time: 4-4:30 p.m.
  • Cost: free

Enjoy picture books, songs and simple sign language for all ages and levels of ability themed to trains in November and birthdays in December.

Sensory Storytime at the Ann Arbor District Library Westgate Branch 

Nov. 24, 2018

  • Address: 2503 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor
  • Time: 10-11 a.m.
  • Cost: Free

Kids ages 3-7 are welcome to enjoy an hour filled with interactive stories, rhymes and free play.

Jingle Bell Ball at White Lake Oaks Banquet Center 

Dec. 5, 2018

  • Address: 1702 Scott Lake Road, Waterford
  • Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Cost: $10/participant, $5/caregiver

Enjoy a festive night of seasonal dancing.  Registration required.

Adult and Teen Sensory Storytime at the Bloomfield Township Public Library

Dec. 10, 2018

  • Address: 1099 Lone Pine Road, Bloomfield Township
  • Time: 11 a.m.
  • Cost: Free

Adults and teens with special needs are invited for a story full of songs, movement and art. A support person is welcome to come and participate. Registration is not required.

Almost New Year at the Royal Oak Senior Community Center and Waterford Oaks Activity Center

Dec. 27 and 28, 2018

  • Address: 3500 Marais, Royal oak and 2800 Watkins Lake Road, Waterford
  • Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Cost: $12/participant, $6/caregiver

Grown-ups, ages 18-plus, with developmental disabilities are invited to this event for an evening of pizza, music, dancing and New Year’s Eve fun. Get in on it in Royal Oak on Dec. 27 or in Waterford on Dec. 28.

This post is updated regularly.