Sports programs for special needs are plentiful in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, making it easier than ever to get your kid off the sidelines and into shape. Before enrolling your child, be sure to visit a doctor to check that your child is healthy enough to participate in his or her sport of choice. It’s helpful to speak with the coach or instructor about your child’s disabilities and the best way to work with your little one to ensure the best season ever. Game on!
Teams are available for individuals ages 4–15 and age 16 and up with all disabilities. The spring season is now in session. Register online.
Yellowjacket Park, 995 W. Yellowjacket Lane, Rockwall; 972/722-6001
Start your weekends with Buddy League’s Saturday morning baseball games, open to ages 4–18. Teams are divided by age. Register online.
Cost: $10 per year for spring and fall seasons; T-shirt and equipment included
Bradfield Park, 1220 Castle Drive, Garland; 972/414-9280
Miracle League of DFW
All ages and abilities are welcome to play in the local league’s two-inning game—games are always a tie at the end, and everyone wins. Register online for the six-week fall or spring season. Contact Grace Whetstone at email@example.com.
Cost: $25 per season; some scholarships available
Randol Mill Park, 1901 W. Randol Mill Road, Arlington; 817/733-6076
Miracle League of Irving
Batter up! All abilities and needs are welcome in Irving’s free softball and baseball league. To enroll your kiddie,
visit the Irving YMCA or pop by the field on game day. Spring season is now in session. Contact executive director John Munoz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cottonwood Creek Park, 4051 N. Story Road, Irving; 972/986-8898
Miracle League of Southlake
Baseball enthusiasts 5 and up with all abilities and special needs, including high-functioning autism, vision impairment and limited mobility, are welcome. Games last two innings and each player is assigned a typical buddy. For more information email email@example.com.
Bicentennial Park, 450 W. Southlake Blvd., Southlake; 817/300-1094
Dallas Jr. Wheelchair Mavericks
Aspiring Mavs ages 5–18 can don a blue-and-white jersey of their own in this wheelchair league. Kids are divided into three groups: two varsity teams, a prep team and a futures team with more one-on-one instruction. Register online. For more info, contact Jodi Commers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cost: $12 per month, plus a membership to the Bachman Recreation Center ($5 annually for ages 6–17)
2750 Bachman Drive, Dallas, 214/670-6266
Cheer, Dance & Tumbling
Kids ages 3–18 with autism, genetic conditions, neuromuscular disorders, vision or hearing impairment, and general developmental delays can gain strength and skills in ASI’s Gymmie Kids program. Coaches will evaluate whether your child should take customized private lessons or enroll in a class led by a support coach. Private and group lessons are conducted weekly.
Cost: Prices start at $68 per month, plus $30 enrollment fee
Cheerleaders 5 and older learn basic cheer steps as well as tumbling moves as part of the academy’s special needs team. Led by U.S. All Star Federation–certified coaches, the coed squad regularly struts their stuff at competitions held everywhere from Six Flags to AT&T Stadium. Practices are Mondays from 6–7pm. To enroll, contact Patty at email@example.com.
805 Secretary Drive, Suite C, Arlington; 817/823-7522
Dana’s Studio of Dance
Kids 9 and up join instructor Lücke Alexandre for a special needs hip-hop class on Monday from 6:30–7:30pm at the studio’s Keller outpost. The current program ends in June, so visit the studio website to enroll in the upcoming season, which kicks off in August.
Cost: $75 per month; free trial class available
5700 Kroger Drive, Keller; 817/745-3262
Encore School of Dance
No Boundaries is a coed class for dancers with special needs of all ages and abilities. Sign up for the introductory-level class online or at the studio. Parents are invited to stay and observe—or bust a move or two yourselves!
208 W.J. Boaz Road, Saginaw; 817/232-9393
Each cheerleader on the Shining Stars team has a typical cheer helper, plus two coaches who lead the squad to perform routines at local events and competitions. Weekly practices start in June, but athletes can join the team through September. Register online.
Cost: $25 per month, plus $35 annual fee and $100 uniform rental fee
9550 John W. Elliott Drive, Frisco; 972/731-5888
The developmental gymnastics program offers private lessons and group integration classes for tumblers 3 and older. In weekly 50-minute classes, children with all mental disabilities and most physical disabilities (children who use wheelchairs might be limited) will learn to use beams, ropes and trampolines. Register by phone or online.
Cost: $80 per month
4335 N. Beltwood Parkway N., Farmers Branch; 972/620-9922
Sacred Ground Dance
Kids 7–18 can bust a move at hip-hop classes every Wednesday from 5:30–6:15pm. Sacred Ground also offers a buddy program that pairs kids with high school students in the typical dance program to socialize and learn a few new moves.
3301 Long Prairie Road, Suite 135, Flower Mound; 806/241-7226
Spirit Xtreme’s Rejoice team is open to boys and girls 5–18. Cheerleaders with all disabilities can work up a sweat learning traditional cheer steps and boost their self-confidence through dance performances. Practices begin mid-August—contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information or attend the parent information meeting on Monday, June 4.
Cost: Prices start at $35 per month, plus $35 registration fee
2895 Market Loop, Southlake; 817/251-8984
Texas Cheer Allstars
TCA offers both cheer and dance programs for performers with special needs: Dance class is Sunday from 2:45–3:15pm, and cheer practice follows from 3:15–3:45pm. TCA also offers private lessons for anyone who wants individual training. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Cost: $45 per month for one program or $65 for both, plus fees and uniform cost
1214 Metro Park Blvd., Suite 203, Lewisville; 469/233-2882
Dallas Sled Stars
The Dallas Stars Foundation supports this sled hockey league that caters to athletes with limited mobility, amputees and typical athletes with leg and hip injuries. Kids 5 and older can join the youth league, which runs September through March. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information and to inquire about the soon-to-launch Special hockey team for athletes with all disabilities.
Cost: $45 per year; first year free
Dr Pepper StarCenter, 12700 N. Stemmons Freeway, Farmers Branch; 682/556-1277
Buddy Sports at Cross Timbers YMCA
The Y’s Buddy Sports program welcomes kids ages 5–18 interested in basketball, kickball and more. Register in person. For more information, contact DeWayne Norris at email@example.com.
Cost: $25; YMCA membership not needed
2021 Cross Timbers Road, Flower Mound, 972/539-9622
RISE Adaptive Sports
All ages are invited to participate in RISE’s free adaptive programs, from rugby to volleyball to swimming to tubing to handcycling. RISE serves individuals with a wide range of special needs and medical conditions. Enroll online. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Multiple locations; 469/762-5075
Aqua-Fit Swim & Fitness Wellness Center
Six-week sessions are available Monday and Saturday year-round for ages 3 and up. The Froggies program develops each class to fit your child’s needs and abilities. Call to register.
Cost: $119 for six lessons, plus $69 annual enrollment fee
1400 Summit Ave., Suite D2, Plano; 972/578-7946
Aqua-Tots Swim School
Ages 4 months to 12 years are welcome to join the Special Needs Aquatic Program (SNAP). Specific goals are created for every swimmer through an initial evaluation and ongoing parent-instructor meetings. Private lessons are also available. Register online.
Cost: Classes begin at $89 per month for one class per week
Emler Swim School
Kiddos learn stroke styles and distance swimming through a customizable semester-long curriculum. Group lessons, semi-private lessons and private lessons are available at every location. Register online.
Cost: Prices vary by location but begin at $99.23 per month
Boys and girls ages 4–19 with mental and physical disabilities can join this program by the Coppell Youth Soccer Association. Teams are organized according to physical size and ability, with TOPS teams facing off against typical teams in the CYSA in eight noncompetitive
games throughout the season. Enrollment runs April–July, and the season kicks off the weekend after Labor Day.
Cost: $35 per season, plus cost of jersey
509 W. Bethel Road, Coppell; 972/304-0886
Aceing Autism Dallas
Kids with autism spectrum disorder ages 5–18 work on hand-eye coordination, racket skills, volleys and social skills while playing a fun game of tennis. Young adults ages 19–30 are also welcome. Fall, spring and summer sessions are available. For more information, contact Adrienne or Matthew Bransky at email@example.com.
Cost: Varies per age, $65–$120
The University of Texas at Dallas, 2400 Armstrong Drive, Richardson; 214/901-9010