Posts Tagged ‘special needs teens NYC’

Tween/Teen Social Lounge on Sundays!

October 30, 2011 Leave a comment

I stumbled across a flyer for “Tween/Teen Lounge – a place to hang out and chat with others” last week and didn’t initially give it much thought. It didn’t scream “special needs friendly” and advertised snacks and activities like watching a movie or playing Wii. All things my son James loves, but he still can’t get by on his own in a group of typically developing pre-teens. What I missed is that The Center for Special Needs at JCC is sponsoring the monthly social hangout and that it is in fact geared towards tweens and teens with special needs.

It gets better. The social lounge is a drop-off program every second Sunday of the month, from 2:30-4:30. I know, drop-off is such a teasing word. Such luxury to be able to escape for a little while, yet in the special needs world drop-off (and luxury) can seem impossible. Look, I’m nervous about drop-off too, but don’t let that scare you away. There will be staff members and volunteers present to help facilitate social interaction and monitor things, and parents also fill out a form prior to coming so that staff has a sense of each child and what to look out for.

The social lounge is only $25, which would be a pretty typical amount of money to hand to James were he going off for a bite to eat and a movie with his friends. You can stay at the JCC ( large lobby/cafe) to wait or here’s an idea, go grab a bite with your peers in the neighborhood.

Because of the anticipated popularity, pre-registration is highly encouraged. Space is also limited in order to accommodate for special needs. You can call or email Melissa Lader at 646-505-5729 or – she has always been incredibly responsive and helpful every time (and there have been many) I’ve contacted her with a question.

I plan to bring James to this starting in December. If you’re thinking about sending your son/daughter to the social lounge but are on the fence for one reason or another,  I can at least promise you that they will have a peer to talk to (see Monday Minute series if you don’t believe me). James is one of the friendliest, unassuming, open children I know (and I wouldn’t say that about all of my children) so your child is assured of at least one friend if they come!

Transitions program at the JCC – Ages 16-21

James isn’t old enough for this yet, but I thought this program looked interesting and helpful to those of you with special needs young adults. The excerpt below was taken from the JCC website,
Transitions is a social program for 16-21 year olds with a variety of special needs, including teens and young adults on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum and those with varied communication and learning differences. During the academic year, young people meet at the JCC to participate in activities both on and off the premises. Programming may include sporting events, bowling, yoga, cooking, and community service. Through these fun and social activities, there is an opportunity to build friendships while emphasizing independence and the acquisition of life skills. Participants’ interest helps to shape the program and the activities that are chosen.

Transitions is generously funded by Council Member David I. Weprin, Chair Finance Committee and The New York City Council.

In order to assure that classes are comprised of a group of children who will optimally benefit from the program, a brief intake process has been devised. For more information or to begin the intake conversation, please contact Leslie Epstein Pearson, LCSW, at the Learning Resource Network at 212.632.4499.
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