Resources and Programs for Adults with Special Needs

There are several resources in Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Wayne counties for adults with special needs. Find details here.

If you are the parent of an older teen or adult with special needs, finding programs for your son or daughter may not always be easy. However, there are several programs throughout the metro Detroit area that are designed for teens and young adults with special needs.

People with ADD/ADHD, autism, physical impairments or developmental disabilities will find social events and support programs that promote inclusion and education for everyone.

We’ve compiled a list of some local ongoing events, programs and support groups for people in Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

Know of any other offerings in southeast Michigan for adults with special needs? Comment below so that we can add them to the list.

Macomb County

Adaptive Bowling – Sterling Heights Special Recreation

This bowling program is for those with cognitive or physical impairments. Open bowling and competitive league options are available. Contact Sterling Lanes for details.

Adaptive Kickball – Sterling Heights Special Recreation

A non-competitive kickball league for ages 10 and older. Teams are comprised of individuals who have developmental disabilities along with friends and family. 

Adaptive Theater – Sterling Heights Special Recreation

For ages 16 and up. Participants will explore improvisation using theatre games and exercises, teaching skills needed to create strong improvised and performance scenes. The games and exercises assist in strengthening life skills needed for socialization and confidence.

Adaptive Yoga – Sterling Heights Special Recreation

This yoga class is modified for individuals 12 and up who need extra guidance due to sensory stimulation, special awareness, balance and understanding multi step directions. 

AMC Sensory Friendly Films

AMC Forum 30 in Sterling Heights and AMC Star Gratiot 21 participate in the Sensory Friendly Film program. Provides an environment for everyone to watch a current movie. Check listings for times.

Attendant Care Autism Services

Supports those who are navigating an autism spectrum disorder, from the newly diagnosed to adults. Offers events, resources and special programs.

Autism Friendly Movies

Various movies are open to children, teens and adults with special needs that make a regular movie experience challenging. Call or visit the website for more information.

Inclusively Fit 

Offers fitness, recreation and social program for individuals with special needs or all ability levels.

Inclusion Ministry at First Presbyterian Church of Warren

Individuals with disabilities are invited to express their own unique voices, gifts and experiences in this ministry.

Judson Center

Offers various programs for those with autism spectrum disorders, mental illnesses or disabilities.

Life Skills Center

Life Skills teaches adults with physical or development challenges to reach the highest level of independence through activities, education and socialization.

MORC Stars Hockey Team

Hockey program for athletes. Not limited by age, gender or disability. Participants must be willing to learn and support their team. For more information, check their website or email tracy@motorcitystars.org.

Northeast Special Recreation Basketball League

Basketball league for those with developmental and physical impairments, ages 12 through adult. Games are played at various locations.

The Rexford Center for Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Private and group lessons for those with physical and developmental disabilities ages 3-55.

Social Dances – Sterling Heights Special Recreation

A monthly evening of music, dancing and friends for those 16 and older. Check the Sterling Heights Special Recreation website for dates, times and themes.

Oakland County 

Adaptive & Wheelchair Tennis for Beginners

Sessions are geared towards beginning players ages 6 and up with cognitive impairments, developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, or players with both physical and cognitive impairments. Wheelchair sessions available. Contact adaptive@troymi.gov for more information.

Autism Friendly Movies

Various movies are open to children, teens and adults with special needs that make a regular movie experience challenging. Call or visit the website for more information.

Belightful Yoga

This mobile yoga program offers group and private yoga sessions for those with special needs. Participants work on motor skills and performance, attention, self-regulation and sensory integration through yoga.

Deaf Community Advocacy Network (DEAF C.A.N.)

Provides services to individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, as well as their families. Also presents educational information to the community.

Diners Club

Those with special needs can meet with friends and enjoy a meal at a different restaurant once a month. Pre-registration is required. For ages 14 and up.

FAR Therapeutic Arts and Recreation

FAR provides music, art and dance therapy to those with physical, intellectual and emotional challenges.

Judson Center

Offers various programs for those with autism spectrum disorders, mental illnesses or disabilities.

Autism ASK

Autism ASK offers employment-related supports services. For more information, contact Beth Kimmel at 248-760-4267 or beth@autism-ask.com.

Movie Pizza Night

People with disabilities enjoy a movie and snack with friends one Friday a month. For ages 14 and up.

Oakland County Parks

Offers a series of adaptive recreation social events for adults with developmental delays. Call or email adaptive@oakgov.com for details.

Oakland University Center for Autism (OUCARES)

Provides support and services for families and those who provide care to someone with autism. The center also educates the public on autism and strives to promote inclusion. OU Cares offers various resources for adults with special needs, including pre-employment training for adults with autism and developmental disabilities. Sports programs, an adult support group and more are also offered.

OUCARES Autism Spectrum Bowling League

OUCARES teams up with local bowling alleys to form leagues for those ages 16 and up with autism spectrum disorders. No bowling experience is necessary.

Rejoicing Spirits Worship Service

Special service designed for families and those with special needs. It’s a “no-shush” worship service for persons of all abilities. For more information, email cindymerten@everybodyschurch.org.

Soul Studio

Young adults with special needs can express themselves through art, including painting, creating textiles, ceramics, sculpture, weaving and photography.

Thursday Night Social Group

Twice-monthly social group for adults 16 and older with special needs. Events are held at the Jewish Community Center. For more information, or a current schedule, call or email Stephanie Zoltowski at szoltowski@jccdet.org.

TR Bingo Night

Social event for those ages 14 and older with developmental disabilities, with or without physical limitations. Call to register.

Young Adult Social Group

Social and recreational programs are offered once per month for young adults, ages 15-26, with special needs.

Washtenaw County 

ADD/ADHD Support Group

Provides local resources, education and support to teens and adults with ADD/ADHD. Group meets regularly and offers speakers on various topics driven by needs of the attendees.

AMC Sensory Friendly Films

AMC Livonia 20 in Livonia participates in the Sensory Friendly Film program. Provides an environment for everyone to watch a current movie. Check listings for times.

Arts in Motion 

Classes available for those with disabilities. Dance training with an emphasis on self-expression, musicality and artistic integrity. Adult classes offered are ballroom, ballet and modern.

Assistive Media

Offers full-length, narrated books for those with disabilities. Books are offered in a downloadable format from the website.

Autism Friendly Movies

Various movies are open to children, teens and adults with special needs that make a regular movie experience challenging. Call or visit the website for more information.

Camp Zip

Provides a place for young adults to continue focusing on daily living, social skills, recreation and vocational training.

Full Circle Community Center

Provides social, recreational and personal growth programs for adults with mental illness. Also provides resources and a network of support individuals.

Hearing Loss Association of America – Ann Arbor Chapter

Meets the first Thursday of every month except December, July and August at the Turner Resources Center, located at 2401 Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor. Their chapter welcomes anybody who either has a hearing loss or knows somebody who does. Visit the website for the most current information.

Judson Center

Offers various programs for those with autism spectrum disorders, mental illnesses or disabilities. Call for information on social skills groups for children and teens. Resources for children and their families.

Just Us Club

Provides high-quality, affordable, family-friendly programs for children and adults with disabilities. Most of the participants have moderate to severe developmental disabilities.

Therapeutic Riding

Children and adults with disabilities can experience horseback riding through this adaptive program. For more information, check their website or email info@therapeuticridinginc.org.

Wayne County

Autism Friendly Movies

Various movies are open to children, teens and adults with special needs that make a regular movie experience challenging. Call or visit the website for more information.

Downriver Panthers

This downriver team offers sports for those with physical disabilities and special needs, including swimming, baseball and bowling.

Judson Center

Offers various programs for those with autism spectrum disorders, mental illnesses or disabilities. Call for information on social skills groups for children and teens. Resources for children and their families.

The Arc of Western Wayne County

Advocates for the rights and full participation of all children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For more information, check their website or email info@thearcww.org.

Wheelchair Hockey League

Ages 10-65 with a range of disabilities such as muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, spina bifida, arthrogryposis, osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bones) can join in.

This post was originally published in 2016 and is updated regularly.


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