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Special Needs + Special Kids

Special Needs Summer Camps Lakeland Florida

Special Needs Resources in Lakeland + Polk County

If you are raising a child with unique needs or have a special needs adult in your family, we can help you find local resources including special needs parent groups, special needs schools, and more.

Be sure to check out our Guide to Sensory Friendly & Special Needs Activities for a list of organizations in our community providing activities in a sensory-friendly and/or special needs friendly environment.

If you have a child with autism or sensory processing disorder, learn more about how Lakeland Regional Health is making the hospital less stressful for families with an autistic child through the BRAVE program.

Looking for other special needs articles? Visit our Special Needs category.

Use the 3 bars on the top left to filter by subcategory. Use the map below to find Special Needs + Special Kids Near Me.

Featured
Family Fun Center

Family Fun Center of Lakeland is the best place for Family Fun and Entertainment in Lakeland, FL. We have everything! Tons of video and arcade games, Mini-golf, Laser Tag, Funtasia, Parties, and More! Book your next outing today or bring the family in to play!

Funtasia Soft Play
One of the largest soft play areas in the country, Funtasia is active entertainment for all of your little ones ages 12 & under! Your children will explore a 4 story maze of tunnels, tubes, slides, and obstacles. Kids will have a ball interacting with each other and finding their way though all of the fun activities.

Arcade Games
Our arcade features over 100 video and redemption arcade games ranging from the classics like Pac-Man and Galaga, to the newest cutting edge games including Super Bikes 2, Crossy Road, Monster Drop, Spongebob Pinapple Arcade, and Big Buck Hunter. With such a large selection, we are sure to have a game you’ll love! We are adding new games all the time.

Prize Redemption
Our HUGE prize redemption counter has something for everyone.

Mini Golf
Enjoy our 18 hole adventure golf course. Fully lit so you can play day or night! Golfers of ALL ages will enjoy competing on each of the par 2 holes along the way.

Cap’s Pizza Cafe
Pizza, chicken wings, pretzels, snacks, drinks, frozen treats, and more! Click here to see our menu.

Vault Assault & Beam Busters Lazer Maze
The Vault Assault Laser Maze Challenge is one of our newest attractions. It’s a thrill you just can’t experience anywhere else! Just like in the movies, crawl, jump, balance your way carefully through the lasers to get to the mission objectives on the other side of the room.

Lazer Tag
Our Laser Tag arena offers over 2200 square feet of heart thumping space. You can run but you cannot hide! As a member of the S.T.A.R.R. force team, your mission is to eliminate the mutant aliens before they escape the area 51 compound. You can compete one on one, or team up for capture the flag style play. Grab up to 14 of your friends and give it a try!

Birthday Parties & Team Celebrations
Family Fun Center is the perfect location for birthday parties, team parties, and other celebrations. Party Packages start at just $149 and can be customized with any of our attractions based on the age group of your party. All packages include pizza, drinks, and a birthday gift for the guest of honor. For your next birthday party, let Family Fun Center do the set-up, clean-up, and all the entertaining in between. All you need to bring is the cake and candles!

Sensational Sundays – Sensory Friendly Play
Sensational Sundays are an opportunity for families to play in Funtasia with the lights and noise turned down prior to opening to the general public, ideal for children who need a sensory friendly environment. Visit http://thefamilyfuncenter.com to get upcoming dates, held one Sunday a month.

Family_Fun_Center
Family Fun Center Games
Family Fun Center Lakeland
4805 Florida Avenue South, Lakeland, Florida 33813
Arcades + Video Games | Birthday Party Venues | Indoor Play for Ages 5 & Under | Indoor Playgrounds
Featured
Huntington Learning Center of Lakeland

For 40 years, Huntington’s highly trained tutors have worked with students of all ages and abilities to improve their grades and build self-confidence, organizational skills, and good study habits. Whether your child is struggling academically or just wants to get ahead, we can tailor a tutoring program that will achieve results. We can help unlock your child’s potential and send struggles packing with individualized tutoring in a number of academic fundamentals or major subjects. We understand that no two students learn alike. With subjects ranging from reading and writing to math and science, our tutoring programs provide personalized instruction based on each student’s individual needs.

Regardless if they are struggling with poor homework habits or difficulties due to ADHD, at Huntington, we’ve helped thousands of students quickly improve their grades and build their confidence. We are dedicated to building academic success that will last a lifetime. Thousands of students have achieved success in our tutoring programs, improving both grades and confidence. In fact, after only about 3 months of tutoring, our students typically achieve 2+ grade levels of growth.

Huntington Lakeland Test Prep Tutoring
6655 Florida Avenue South, Lakeland, Florida 33813
Special Needs Resources + Organizations | Tutoring, Test Prep + Academic Support
Featured
Family Fundamentals - A Success by 6 Resource Center

Family Fundamentals is a collaboration of organizations committed to strengthening families and our community by increasing access and awareness to resources and services. This Success By 6 parent resource center is a warm, welcoming place where parents and other family members come to access information, support services, and the tools they need to be the best parents they can be. Forty-two agencies offer services on site to provide a one-stop opportunity for parents. Parents come for one service or class and return for others. The center is located at 109 N. Kentucky Ave in Lakeland, in the same building as Explorations V Children’s Museum.

Weekly classes for ages 0-5 are offered for FREE! 2020-21 Schedule coming soon. The schedule follows Polk County Schools calendar. All classes are also listed on our calendar at lakelandmom.com/calendar.

109 North Kentucky Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Infant Massage Classes | Free Activities and Classes for Ages 5 & Under | Mommy + Me | Special Needs Support Groups
Achievement Academy
716 E. Bella Vista Street, Lakeland, Florida 33805
695 East Summerlin Street, Bartow, Florida 33830
2211 28th Street Northwest, Winter Haven, Florida 33881
Charter Schools | Special Needs Schools | Special Needs Schools + Preschools
Autism Support Group
109 North Kentucky Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Special Needs Support Groups
Buddy Break

Buddy Break provides a safe place for VIP Kids and their siblings to have fun and establish meaningful friendships with other kids and adults while their caregivers get a much-needed FREE break from their overwhelming caregiving responsibilities. VIP Kids include kids with any physical, cognitive, medical or hidden disability, chronic or life-threatening illness, or those who are medically fragile.
Nearby Buddy Break Locations are below. Visit the website or contact the coordinators for more details on how to get involved with Buddy Break.

First Presbyterian Church of Lakeland

175 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities
Building Buddies

Building Buddies is the combination of Social Spectrum Club- a social program for tweens and teens with autism and related disabilities – and Bricks 4 Kidz – an experience-based educational program focused on exploring the concepts of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) with children and teens.

Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities
Camp Wego
Special Needs Resources + Organizations
Cerebral Palsy Guidance
Special Needs Resources + Organizations
Crossroads Christian School (K-12)

Crossroads Christian School is a K-12 private school in Lakeland that provides a personalized education focus for each of its students. With low student-teacher ratios and an encouraging, nurturing environment, Lakeland area kids with special education needs are finding success at Crossroads Christian School, and your child can too!

What makes your school unique?
Crossroads Christian School is an inclusive setting that encourages students to find their voice.  Our teacher-student ratio is 1:15 and the small class setting helps foster an environment where students can receive small group and one on one attention.  We are a Bully Free Zone and encourage students to live by the Golden Rule. 

Ages/Grades Served: K-12

Open Houses or Tours: Virtual School Tours and a FREE Virtual consultation are available now, in-person tours will resume soon.

Accreditation:  Children’s Educational Services (Parent company) and accredited through Cognia

School Hours: Before care 7:00-8, School hours 8:30-3:00.  After care 4-6pm.

Registration Dates / Details: Open Enrollment runs throughout the year.

Scholarships: Crossroads Christian School offers scholarships and accepts all of the scholarships/vouchers currently available. The Principal can help guide you through the scholarship application process.

Click here to read our full post about Crossroads Christian School.

Crossroads Christian School Special Needs Lakeland
615 Old Polk City Road, Lakeland, Florida 33809
Private Schools | Special Needs Schools | Special Needs Schools + Preschools
Early Steps Program

Early Steps is Florida’s early intervention system that offers services to eligible infants and toddlers (birth to thirty-six months) with significant delays or a condition likely to result in a developmental delay. Early Intervention is provided to support families and caregivers in developing the competence and confidence to help their child learn and develop.

Early Steps services are based on Early Steps evaluations and your family’s concerns, priorities, and goals. Early Steps uses a Team Based Primary Service Provider approach which aims to empower each eligible family by providing a comprehensive team of professionals from the beginning of services until the age of three. The goal is for the family to receive strong support from one person, provide a comprehensive team of professionals from beginning to end, and for the family to have fewer appointments and more time to be a family. Services are provided to the family and child where they live, learn and play, to enable the family to implement developmentally appropriate learning opportunities during everyday activities and routines.

Hearing Tests + Speech Therapy | Special Needs Resources + Organizations | Therapy - Occupational + Physical | Youth Services
Hearing Loss Association
175 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Special Needs Resources + Organizations
Lakeland Christian School (PreK4-12)
1111 Forest Park Street, Lakeland, Florida 33803
Preschool / Daycare for Ages 2 & Up | Private Schools | Special Needs Schools | Special Needs Schools + Preschools
Lakeland City Baseball

Recreational youth baseball organization for boys and girls from ages 4 -15 years old. Fall season includes 2 weeknight games, Spring Season includes one weeknight game and one Saturday game. Games are played at Peterson Park (age 4-10) and Lake Bonny/Fletcher Park (age 11-15). Buddy Ball League is for boys and girls with physical and/or intellectual disabilities, ages 5 and up.

3700 Cleveland Heights Blvd, Lakeland, Florida 33803
Activities for Ages 5 & Under (Music, Dance, Sports, etc.) | Baseball | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities
Lakeland Community Theatre

Lakeland Community Theatre boasts a Main Stage season of five high quality productions; The Eunice Fuller Theatre for Youth three show season as well as classes, summer camps, workshops, Master Classes; The Out of the Box Troupe for special needs youth and adults, a Senior Troupe and many special productions and events each year.

121 S Lake Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Drama + Theatre | Homeschool Enrichment - Theater | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities | Theatres + Performing Arts Venues | Volunteer Opportunities Available
Lakeland Institute For Learning
2020 Crystal Grove Drive, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Private Schools | Special Needs Schools | Special Needs Schools + Preschools
Lakeland Public Library

The Lakeland Public Library is a member of the Polk County Library Cooperative, an inter local agreement between 13 municipalities with public libraries and the Board of County Commissioners, enabling all residents of the county, including those in the unincorporated area to have library services. Check out their fantastic programming for adults and children, including storytime, writing club for teens, children’s theatre, technology programs, summer programs, and more! Visit the website to see a full list of upcoming programs. You can also find them all on our calendar at lakelandmom.com/calendar.

100 Lake Morton Dr, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Free Activities and Classes for Ages 5 & Under | Libraries | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities
Lakeland Tropics Futbol Club (formerly Lakeland FC)

Lakeland Tropics Futbol Club offers both recreational and competitive/travel soccer leagues for ages 6-18, along with a Munchkin Program for 3, 4 & 5 year olds. TOPS Soccer program is for young athletes with disabilities. They have a Spring Season (February-May) and Fall Season (Aug. – Dec.). Practices and games are held at Lake Parker Park and Loyce Harpe Park on Carter Road.

910 Granada Street, Lakeland, Florida 33805
Activities for Ages 5 & Under (Music, Dance, Sports, etc.) | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities | Soccer
Loving Handz and Heartz
5337 North Socrum Loop Road, Lakeland, Florida 33809
Special Needs Resources + Organizations
Mini Miracles Sunday School Class

Mini Miracles is a Sunday School Class at First Presbyterian Church in Room 109 offered during the 10:30 worship hour developed for children ages 4-12 who struggle with developmental delays, Autism spectrum disorders, ADD/ADHD, or any other special need. This class allows children with exceptionalities to play freely and have safe social interactions in a secure environment with specially trained adults. Pagers are provided so parents can attend worship without worrying about emergencies. Sunday Mornings at 10:30am.

175 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland, Florida 33801
Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities | Sensory Friendly Church Programs
Nathaniel’s Hope

Nathaniel’s Hope is dedicated to celebrating kids with special needs (VIP kids), as well as educating and equipping the community to provide practical assistance to VIPs and their families. VIP kids include kids with any physical, cognitive, medical or hidden disability, chronic or life threatening illness, and those who are medically fragile. The four main programs include: the VIP Birthday Club, Buddy Break, Make ‘m Smile and Christmas with Nathaniel’s Hope.

Nathaniel’s Hope also hosts special events throughout the year just for VIP kids and their families.

Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities
Pathways School of Excellence (ages 11-22)

Pathways School of Excellence provides a program specifically tailored for middle and high school students with intellectual disabilities. Our program infuses faith-based learning with academics that are customized for each student’s unique abilities.The mission of Pathways School of Excellence is to equip learners for growth and success in academic, personal and spiritual life.

Students are assigned to classes based on data representing age-appropriate level, academic achievement, and individual educational plans. Pathways School of Excellence has classrooms with middle school and high school-aged students ages 11 through 22 that are diagnosed with special needs.

Pathways is located in the heart of Southeastern University’s beautiful campus, so our students enjoy many campus amenities.

What makes your school unique?
We are a secondary school located on a college campus, which makes us a laboratory school. With this opportunity, we are able to provide our students with a plethora of real-life learning experiences, such as on-the-job training, mock interviews, and one-on-one lessons with college students who want to share their expertise, such as music, nursing, and education majors.

Grades/Ages Served: Our student population consists of middle and high school students with varying abilities.

Open Houses / Tours: Tours are available by appointment only. Email pathways@seu.edu to set up a tour.

School Hours / Schedule: 8:30am-3:00pm M-F (closed for various holidays)

Registration Dates / Details: Open Enrollment begins in March. Fill out the application at seu.edu/pathways, pay the application fee of $125, and turn in the additional requirements listed on the website.

Scholarships: We accept McKay, Gardiner, AAA Scholarship, and Step Up for Students Scholarships

Pathways Southeastern
1000 Longfellow Boulevard, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Private Schools | Special Needs Schools | Special Needs Schools + Preschools
Psychological Associates of Central Florida
5424 Strickland Ave., Lakeland, Florida 33812
Child Behavior + Developmental Evaluations | Groups for Kids + Teens | Mental Health Counseling + Therapists | Special Needs Support Groups
Serenity Special Needs Consulting
Special Needs Resources + Organizations
Social Spectrum Club

Social Spectrum Club is a safe space for children and teens with Autism and related disabilities to socialize, play, learn & grow. Kids and teens ages 6-17 with High-functioning Autism and their typically developing siblings/friends. Visit the website to learn more and join the club.

Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities | Special Needs Resources + Organizations
Special Needs Playdates and Support Group - Polk County, Florida
Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities | Special Needs Support Groups
Special Olympics Florida

Special Olympics Florida provides year-round sports training and competition to children and adults 8 years of age and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Currently offering 17 sports in Polk County.

Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities
Spirit Gymnastics Sports Academy

Recreational/Team Gymnastics, Summer Camps, After School Care, Dance Classes, All Star Cheer Team, Tumbling, and more. HUGS Special Needs classes. Our mission is to build and encourage true character in all ages as they learn the sports of gymnastics, cheer and dance.

2830 Recker Highway, Jan Phyl Village, Florida 33880
Activities for Ages 5 & Under (Music, Dance, Sports, etc.) | After School Programs | Gymnastics + Tumbling | Homeschool Enrichment - Gymnastics | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities
Sunshine State Superkids

Providing children with special abilities and underprivileged children with an innovative adaptive sport and STEM program for free. Innovative fun programs for these special children including soap box derby race events.

Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities | Special Needs Resources + Organizations
The Roberts Academy at Florida Southern College (grades 2-8)
1140 Frank Lloyd Wright Way, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Private Schools | Special Needs Schools | Special Needs Schools + Preschools
The Vanguard School (6-12)
22000 U.S. 27, Lake Wales, Florida 33859
Private Schools | Special Needs Schools | Special Needs Schools + Preschools
TiAnViCa Horse Riding Academy

TiAnViCa provides recreational therapeutic horse riding for individuals with disabilities. It combines instruction in traditional horsemanship skills with concepts of physical therapy to improve the strength, balance, and self-esteem for children and adults with physical, mental and emotional disabilities. Most of all, it’s FUN!

3380 Florida 60, Bartow, Florida 33830
Horseback Riding Lessons | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities
Ultimate Dance Center

Ultimate Dance Center (UDC), bringing you the BEST in DANCE since 2016, offers a standard of excellence in dance education that is for EVERYONE, all ages, all levels. UDC offers a diverse array of dance styles under one roof. Our goal is to share & explore the art of dance while bringing people from the community together. We offer opportunities with a variety of styles for ALL ages 2 – Adult and levels of experience that the whole family can enjoy. ULTIMATE DANCE CENTER welcomes ALL!

UDC Offers:

  • Dance classes for ages 2 – Adult
  • After School Care
  • Homeschool Classes
  • Spring Break Camp
  • Summer Camp
  • + more!

 

Ultimate Dance Center Lakeland
2930 Lakeland Highlands Road, Lakeland, Florida 33803
Activities for Ages 5 & Under (Music, Dance, Sports, etc.) | After School Programs | Birthday Party Venues | Dance | Group Fitness Classes | Homeschool Enrichment - Dance | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities | Yoga + Pilates
YMCA Par 3 / First Tee of Lakeland

YMCA Par 3, Home of The First Tee of Lakeland. home to a 9-hole, Par 3 course with a large Driving Range and 3 practice greens. Offering golf instruction for ages 5 & up, including adults. The Adaptive Golf Program (ages 8 and up) is a specifically designed golf instructional program for individuals with physical and mental disabilities.

1740 George Jenkins Boulevard, Lakeland, Florida 33815
Golf | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities