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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.

HELPFUL TIP: Use the filter button (3 horizontal lines) to narrow down the list by city and/or category. All city filters are a general geographic area, check each listing address for a specific location. Use the map at the bottom to find Special Needs + Special Kids Near You.

Family Fun Center Games
Family Fun Center Lakeland
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.

Arcade Games + Prize Redemption – 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. 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.

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!

Arcades + Video Games | Indoor Play + Open Gym for Toddlers | Indoor Playground Birthday Parties | Indoor Playgrounds | Laser Tag | Mini Golf | Nerf Gun + Laser Tag Parties | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities | Sports + PE Field Trips | Sports Parties | Unique Birthday Parties | Unique Indoor Activities
4805 Florida Avenue South, Lakeland, Florida 33813
Polk Museum of Art

The Polk Museum of Art is the largest and the only nationally accredited visual arts organization in Polk County and has been a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum since 2010. The museum offers workshops and classes for teens and adults, after school art for children, weekend workshops, spring break camp, summer camp, and the annual Mayfaire by the Lake.

Art Lessons | Art, Music + Theater Field Trips | Gift + Home Stores | Homeschool Enrichment - Arts + Crafts | Museums + Historic Field Trips | Museums + Historical Attractions | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities
800 East Palmetto Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Achievement Academy

Growing up is tough. Growing up a step behind everyone else your age is tougher. Achievement Academy is a non-profit United Way agency and charter school. We serve children birth through age six that have developmental delays or disabilities. The Achievement Academy has 3 locations in Polk County-Lakeland, Bartow and Winter Haven.

Charter Schools | Special Needs Schools | Special Needs Schools + Preschools
716 East Bella Vista Street, Lakeland, Florida 33805
695 East Summerlin Street, Bartow, Florida 33830
2211 28th Street Northwest, Winter Haven, Florida 33881
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. Visit the website or contact the coordinators for more details on how to get involved with Buddy Break. Learn more about Buddy Break at First Presbyterian Church Lakeland.

Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities
175 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Cerebral Palsy Guidance

We provide vital guidance and assistance to parents of a child with cerebral palsy. Visit our website to learn more about cerebral palsy, sources for financial assistance, and many resources.

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!

Private Christian Schools | Private Elementary Schools | Private High Schools | Private Middle Schools | Private Schools in Lakeland | Special Needs Schools | Special Needs Schools + Preschools
615 Old Polk City Road, Lakeland, Florida 33809
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
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. Offering one-on-one tutoring and test prep programs.

Special Needs Resources + Organizations | Tutoring, Test Prep + Academic Support
6655 Florida Avenue South, Lakeland, Florida 33813
Lakeland Christian School (PreK4 - grade 12)

The hallmarks of LCS are strong academics, championship athletics, award-winning fine arts, and a close-knit school-family partnership. Classes are taught from a Biblical perspective, emphasizing God’s truth as it applies to every aspect of a student’s life. The Discovery Program is offered to students age 5-14 with a specific diagnosis of autism and/or related disabilities.

Church Affiliated Daycare / Preschool | Preschool / Daycare for Ages 2 & Up | Private Christian Schools | Private Elementary Schools | Private High Schools | Private Middle Schools | Private Schools in Lakeland | Special Needs Schools | Special Needs Schools + Preschools
1111 Forest Park Street, Lakeland, Florida 33803
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.

Baseball | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities | Toddler Sports
3700 Cleveland Heights Blvd, Lakeland, Florida 33803
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.

Art, Music + Theater Field Trips | Drama + Theatre Classes | Homeschool Enrichment - Theater | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities | Theatres + Performing Arts Venues | Volunteer Opportunities Available
121 South Lake Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Lakeland Institute For Learning

The Lakeland Institute for Learning is a clinical school for ESE and ELL students whose purpose is to deliver services to students within the educational setting in order to facilitate their overall health and well being and maximize their academic growth. These students fall into two areas: special needs and those who are also English Language Learners (ESE) (as defined by law). The school is striving to deliver Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Speech Language, and tutoring services to students during their school day, within a rigorous educational environment to facilitate academic growth into postsecondary opportunities.

Non-Religious Private Schools | Private Elementary Schools | Private High Schools | Private Middle Schools | Private Schools in Lakeland | Special Needs Schools | Special Needs Schools + Preschools
2020 Crystal Grove Drive, Lakeland, Florida 33801
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.

Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities | Sensory Friendly Church Programs
175 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland, Florida 33801
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
Psychological Associates of Central Florida

Psychological Associates of Central Florida is a mental health clinic providing services for children, adolescents, adults, parents, and couples. Psychological Services are offered for: ADHD/ADD, Autism/Developmental Disorders, Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Behavioral Disorders, Relationship difficulties, Work-related stress, Bullying, and more.

Child Behavior + Developmental Evaluations | Mental Health Counseling + Therapists | Special Needs Support Groups
5424 Strickland Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33812
1 North Scenic Highway, Lake Wales, Florida 33853
Social Spectrum Club

Social Spectrum Club is a safe space for children and teens with Autism and related disabilities to socialize, play, learn & grow. Tweens & Teens ages 12-18 with Autism, (or related disabilities) as well as kiddos or peeps who feel like they just don’t fit in, as well as their siblings/friends. Weekly in-person and virtual meetings and activities. Visit the website to learn more and join the club.

Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities | Special Needs Resources + Organizations
Southern Grace Dance Company

Southern Grace Dance Company is a dance studio conveniently located in central Lakeland and welcomes dancers ages 2 through adult. Ballet, ​Pointe, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, ​Jazz, Tap, ​Pre- Dance​​, Special Needs (Joyful Soles), ​Home School Program, Competition Teams (SG Elite).

Dance Lessons | Homeschool Enrichment - Dance | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities | Toddler Dance Classes
2300 East Edgewood Drive, Lakeland, Florida 33803
Sparrow Academy (grades 3 - 8)

Sparrow Academy is a third through twelfth-grade school that approaches learning through the lens of Emotional Regulation. At Sparrow Academy, our staff is trained in trauma-informed approaches to learning. We work to understand the root of problems and develop a plan to correct the underlying cause, not just the symptoms. Our program is especially designed to meet the needs of children who have experiences abandonment, abuse, or neglect. We are also a great place for children with behavior and attention disorders, such as, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.


Non-Religious Private Schools | Private Elementary Schools | Private Middle Schools | Private Schools in Lakeland | Special Needs Schools | Special Needs Schools + Preschools
8595 U.S. 98, Lakeland, Florida 33809
Special Needs Support Group - Polk County, Florida

Welcome everyone! I created this Facebook group after speaking to many families who were looking for a support group locally! This is a safe place Polk parents can get to know each other and become friends with those who just “get it”. Please add your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and everyone in between who has their own special needs someone.

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

Spirit Gymnastics Sports Academy’s mission is to build and encourage true character in all ages as they learn the sport of gymnastics. Offering Recreational/Team Gymnastics, Summer Camps, After School Care, Birthday Parties, Dance Classes, All Star Cheer Team, Tumbling, and more. HUGS Special Needs classes.

After School Programs | Gymnastics + Tumbling Lessons | Gymnastics Parties | Homeschool Enrichment - Gymnastics | Indoor Play + Open Gym for Toddlers | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities | Toddler Gymnastics
2830 Recker Highway, Winter Haven, Florida 33880
The Roberts Academy at Florida Southern College (grades 2-8)

Since 2010, The Roberts Academy has successfully prepared talented students with dyslexia to achieve academic excellence through dynamic educational programs. The Roberts Academy provides a full complement of academic programs, as well as support and training for parents and teachers of students with dyslexia. Students experiencing difficulty in their current schools can attend The Roberts Academy in grades 2-8 until they have mastered the skills to accommodate their learning differences and are fully prepared to succeed in a traditional school setting. Reading tutoring is also available to the community.

Non-Religious Private Schools | Private Elementary Schools | Private Middle Schools | Private Schools in Lakeland | Special Needs Schools | Special Needs Schools + Preschools | Tutoring, Test Prep + Academic Support
1140 Frank Lloyd Wright Way, Lakeland, Florida 33801
The Vanguard School (grades 6-12)

The Vanguard School is an independent, co-educational, boarding and day school for students in grades 6-12 who learn differently. Vanguard strives to ensure each student aspires to higher educational opportunities and independent life. Most commonly, our students experience difficulties with: ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Anxiety, Autism, Tourette’s, Auditory Processing Disorder.

Non-Religious Private Schools | Private High Schools | Private Middle Schools | Special Needs Schools | Special Needs Schools + Preschools
22000 U.S. 27, Lake Wales, Florida 33859
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!

Horseback Riding Lessons | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities
3380 Florida 60, Bartow, Florida 33830
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. We offer opportunities with a variety of styles for ALL ages 2 – Adult and levels of experience that the whole family can enjoy.


After School Programs | Dance Lessons | Group Fitness Classes | Homeschool Enrichment - Dance | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities | Toddler Dance Classes | Yoga + Pilates
2930 Lakeland Highlands Road, Lakeland, Florida 33803
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.

Golf | Sensory Friendly + Special Needs Activities
1740 George Jenkins Boulevard, Lakeland, Florida 33815
Pathways School of Excellence (ages 11-22)
Special Needs Schools | Special Needs Schools + Preschools
1000 Longfellow Boulevard, Lakeland, Florida 33801