Education, Childcare, Recreation, and Camps

For children outside of Philadelphia, call CONNECT at 1-800-692-7288 (7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.) The CONNECT Helpline assists families in locating resources and providing information regarding child development for children ages birth to age five.

FACT: With a family’s permission, professionals can start a referral to Early Intervention on behalf of a child.

GOING TO KINDERGARTEN? No matter where your child will go, or what their abilities are, registration by May the year before, at your local elementary school is required to secure a spot in the kindergarten system.

FACT: A child diagnosed with ASD does not have to be potty trained to attend school within the district!

Kicked Out (“Expulsion”)/Suspended/Asked to leave?
All Pennsylvania early learning programs receiving government funding (like Head Starts or CCISELRC) must have plans and supports for children who may have behavioral challenges or special needs. Please see the following: https://www.pakeys.org/new-process-to-prevent-expulsion-and-or-suspension-from-ece-programs/

For families who find themselves in need of support around this issue, help can also be found through Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) https://philadelphiaelrc18.org/ 1-888-461-KIDS. Early Childhood Programs can call the CONNECT Helpline 1-800-692-7288 (OCDEL) for supports.

Early Intervention

Ages 0-3: Philadelphia Infant Toddler Early Intervention

Infant Toddler Early Intervention services are a free, voluntary program that can help families who reside in Philadelphia with children ages 0-3 (birth to the day before 3rd birthday), who have concerns about a child’s development, learning, and behavior. Anyone who has a concern about a child’s development can make a referral for a multi-disciplinary evaluation to determine eligibility for services.

Intake: 215-685-4646 or birthto3ei@phila.gov

Services: Depending on your zip code, you will either be assigned to Childlink: 215- 731- 2100 or Partnership for Community Supports 267-350-4500

EI Supports and Services Fact Sheet

Map of Childlink or Partnership by Zip Code

Contact Information:
Childlink
Partnership for Community Supports
View Website

Ages 3-5, Preschool Early Intervention (EI), Philadelphia, Elwyn Early Learning Services (ELS)

Intake & Multi-Disciplinary Evaluations: 215-222-8054, Option #1

Family Resource Center: 215-222-8054, Option #2

ELS Referral Email: 3to5ELReferral_@elwyn.org

For families of children already in-service, please contact your child’s LEA Representative (previously referred to as Service Coordinator) or the regional leadership email addresses below, with any questions regarding your child’s program.

ELS-North-Northeast ELS-North-Northeast@elwyn.org

ELS-Northwest-Central ELS-Northwest-Central@elwyn.org

ELS-South-West ELS-South-West@elwyn.org

Elwyn ELS Family Resource Center (FRC) Flyer

Elwyn ELS Family Resource Center (FRC) Flyer_CMN

Elwyn ELS Family Resource Center (FRC) Flyer_SPANISH

Preschool EI – What to Expect – English

Preschool EI – What to Expect – Mandarin

Preschool EI – What to Expect – Spanish

GOING TO KINDERGARTEN? No matter where your child will go, or what their abilities are, registration by May the year before, at your local elementary school is required to secure a spot in the kindergarten system.

Contact Information:
Intake & Multi-Disciplinary Evaluations
Family Resource Center
ELS Referral Email
View Website

Early Intervention Technical Assistance (EITA)

Provides training and technical assistance to local Infant Toddler and Preschool Early Intervention agencies. Has resources for families – including important forms, agencies, etc. Has resources to support early intervention and families during COVID-19, as well as video resources, and information about assistive technology, autism, inclusion and more.

Contact Information:
View Website

Interventions and Supports through Early Intervention

Primary Child-Adult Relationship Enhancement (PriCare)

Child-Adult Relationship Enhancement. This training model assists caregivers to address children who have disruptive behaviors or traumatic experiences and improves their ability to form relationships and follow instructions. This model is offered as an intervention under Early Intervention.

Link to PriCare One Pager

Link to Providers

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A Running Start – Health

Includes resources/fliers for families sharing information on key interventions to address health risks in a child’s first five years of life.  Fliers in topic areas such as early intervention and early childhood education.

View Website

Education

Philly PreK

Free, quality, pre-K at over 130 centers throughout Philadelphia, no income requirements http://www.phlprek.org/programs/

Call 844-PHL-PREK or 844-745-7735 for more information.

Contact Information:
View Website

Ages 5-21 years: Philadelphia School District

Office of Specialized Services

Early Intervention – Includes Early Intervention transition meeting schedule, next steps for Kindergarten and information about the difference between school-aged services and early intervention services

Special Education Directors and Case Managers – Contact information and a list of schools that each Director and Case Manager is assigned to support.

Special Education Compliance Managers (SPECMs)  – Contact information for the Special Education Compliance Manager (SPECM) and the school they support with special education supports and services.

Parent/Guardian Support & Resources

440 N. Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19130

GOING TO KINDERGARTEN? No matter where your child will go, or what their abilities are, registration by May the year before, at your local elementary school is required to secure a spot in the kindergarten system.

Contact Information:
Office of Specialized Services
Secondary Transition Coordinator: LaQuenta Montanez
Autism Coordinator: Michelle Nutini
Parent Coordinator: JoAnne Eggleston
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The School District of Philadelphia Autistic Support Family Website

This site has been developed to highlight a spectrum of available resources to support families of children with autism within the School District of Philadelphia during the COVID-19 crisis.

Includes links to information about the Philly HopeLine (English and Spanish), food distribution sites, calming resources, chromebook help, SDP family resources, and the FACE website.

View Website

The School District of Philadelphia Multilingual Family Support Office

Many educational documents are available in a variety of languages for families: https://www.philasd.org/face/multilingual/

Translates District-wide documents in the nine languages of greater diffusion (Albanian, Arabic, Cambodian, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese), as well as school-specific documents; support oral interpretation requests from schools and offices, and manage school-based  interpreters who speak more than 40 languages and dialects. School-based staff facilitate workshops and training for families in their language.

440 N. Broad St. Philadelphia PA 19130

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The School District of Philadelphia Office of Family and Community Engagement

Student placement, after school programs, supports for multilingual families, ESL classes, interpreters, translations and information and referrals for mental health supports, and emergency family needs, all services are free.  Family Engagement Liaisons Contact List

440 N. Broad St. 1st Floor, Suite: 114, Philadelphia PA 19130

Contact Information:
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The School District of Philadelphia Summer Program Guide

The School District of Philadelphia Summer Program Guide: arts, multilingual immigrant programs for all ages, special needs, job training, and more!

View Website

Immigration Needs related to Education and Mental Health

All children in the state of PA have the right to a free public education which includes special education supports if needed. Immigrant and refugee children do NOT need a green card, visa, passport, alien registration number, social security number or proof of citizenship or immigration status to register for school.

For more information in English and many other languages please see these sites:

Caring People Alliance

Early learning resource center for Philadelphia – Helps locate preschools, camp and childcare and afterschool programs as well as assisting with obtaining subsidized childcare and navigating systems and helping to address behavioral need for a child in care . Find early childhood resources and programs in your area.

Contact Information:
View Website

PaTTAN – Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network

Provides information about professional development, special education forms and resources, family information, videos and more.

Forms are available for the Infant-Toddler/Early Intervention, Preschool/Early Intervention, and School-age programs. https://www.pattan.net/forms/

PaTTAN – East – 333 Technology Drive, Malvern, PA 19355 – (610) 265-7321; (800) 441-3215; Video Phone (VP): (610) 572-3430

Contact Information:
PaTTAN East
PaTTAN East
Video Phone (VP)
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Childcare/Preschool/After School 

Aveanna Childcare Services

Childcare for medically fragile children (ages 0-7) needing skilled nursing care Monday-Friday, 6:30am-6:30pm.  Transportation provided.

Multiple locations: including the Pediatric Day Health Care Center – 8101 Washington Lane Wyncote PA 19095

Contact Information:
Education/Childcare
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Bright Beginners Academy

All inclusive, autism friendly childcare options available. Located in Bensalem. Shares a building with MCC Behavioral Health. Located off I 95 at Woodhaven Road.

800 Clarmont Avenue, Suite A, Bensalem, PA 19020

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Bright Futures Program – The School District of Philadelphia

Available to families with 3 and 4 year old children, who meet income requirements. 10-month program includes breakfast, lunch and snack).

Bright Futures Program Handbook

Contact Information:
View Website

Child Guidance Resource Centers – After School Program

CREATE (Creating Relationships and Emotional Adaptability in a Therapeutic Environment) enrollment is available throughout the year as needed.

2901 Island Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19153

Contact Information:
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CHOP Early Head Start

Home and center-based Early Head Start for ages 0-3

Early Head Start services are available to pregnant women and families with children under the age of 3. To qualify, you must have a family income at or below the federal poverty guidelines and a permanent residence in identified areas of West Philadelphia.

For more information or to find out whether you qualify for Early Head Start at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, call 267-425-9900 or e-mail us at ehsinfo@email.chop.edu.

 

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Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC)

Helps locate preschools, camp and childcare and afterschool programs as well as assisting with obtaining subsidized childcare and navigating systems and helping to address behavioral need for a child in care .

Caring People Alliance (early learning resource center for Philadelphia)  215-382-4762– Find early childhood resources and programs in your area.

Contact Information:
View Website

Frankford Community Focus Learning Center

Contact Dierdre Bennett, director, special needs focused day care in the community.

7731 Frankford Ave Philadelphia PA 19136

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Frankie’s World

Child care ages 0-12, pre-k/Headstart for medically fragile children who have skilled nursing needs.

Monday – Friday; 7 am – 5 pm  Transportation provided.

1011 Poplar Street Philadelphia PA 19123

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Gateway Community Action

Home based Early Head Start (0-3 years old)

Contact Information:
View Website

Lauren’s House

Child care for medically fragile children ages 0-21 who have skilled medical/nursing needs whether acute or chronic in nature, open 7am-7pm Monday-Saturday.

1318 West Clearfield St., Philadelphia PA 19132

Contact Information:
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Maternity Care Coalition

Early Head Start (0-3 years old) – Home visiting and center based childcare

Currently offering fully virtual services. Clients are provided with a tablet with free internet access included so that they can have virtual visits with their home visitor and/or teachers. Also provide diapers, wipes and formula to families in need.

Resources: Maternity Care Coalition Flyer

Locations in South Philadelphia, Pottstown and Norristown

  • 2000 Mifflin Street Philadelphia, PA 19145
  • 401 Dekalb St., Norristown, PA 19401
  • 262 King St., Suite 1, Pottstown, PA 19464

Contact Information:
South Philadelphia
Norristown
Pottstown
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NET After School Program

7520 State Road, Philadelphia PA 19136

Contact Information:
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Out of School Time

City-wide resource for mostly FREE after school, summer and weekend enrichment programs for all youth who are Philadelphia residents and are grades K – 12.

Contact Information:
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Pre K Counts

Head Start program for working but low income families with children ages 3-5.

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Prekindergarten Head Start Services

For 3-5 year olds, age 3 by September 1st.  Free for low-income families. Coordinators assist with needs of disabled children, citizenship status is not a requirement for education.

Visit the School District of Philadelphia website for more information: https://www.philasd.org/earlychildhood/programs-and-services/prekindergartenservices/ (search: “Headstart” or “early childhood”)

Contact Information:
View Website

Raise Your Star 

Find early childhood resources and programs in your area.

View Website

So Love Autistic Center for Childcare

An autism-specific licensed early learning center. They provide clinical interventions using the Early Start Denver Model in conjunction with ABA interventions to provide a naturalistic learning environment. Their services include home, community, and accepting commercial insurance, ELRC, and private pay to cover the cost of services

The only Autism-specific daycare!

433 Burmont Rd, Drexel Hill, PA 19026

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Temple University Intergenerational Center Grandma’s Kids After School Program

Virtual after-school program for children living in kinship care offering online homework tutoring, group learning sessions, and caregiver support.   Please contact Courtney Poprik, Program Coordinator, 215-204-3105  courtney.poprik@temple.edu

Contact Information:
View Website

The Health Federation of Philadelphia

Home based Early Head Start for 0 -3 year olds.

Additional information and referral form:

Contact Information:
Lisbel Madera
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The Variety Club – After School Program

For children ages 8-21 from 3-6 p.m.

Located at two sites: Overbrook School for the Blind (6333 Malvern Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19151), Widener Memorial H.S. (1450 W Olney Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19141)

Contact Information:
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Recreation

ACCESS SPORTS Experiences  

Provides both participatory and spectating experiences related to sports in the Philadelphia area for at-risk and special needs populations.

4700 Wissahickon Ave., Suite 126, Philadelphia, PA 19144

Contact Information:
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Art-Reach Museum Partners

ACCESS to museums and facilities (Please Touch, Franklin Institute, Morris Arboretum, Academy of Natural Sciences, …etc) for families with an ACCESS card. One ACCESS card admits up to four family members at a rate of $2 per person. (sadly the Zoo is not participating in this). Check website for all participating facilities!

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Fox Chases Champions

FREE Special needs sports organization including indoor/outdoor soccer, bowling and baseball in the Northeast.

Contact Information:
View Website

Franklin Institute

Sensory Friendly Sundays – Exhibits modified to provide a comfortable experience for people on the autism spectrum.  Discounted rates for guests arriving between 8-930am.  Due to COVID-19 restrictions – special events and Sensory Friendly Sundays have been suspended. Advanced tickets/reservations and masks are required for admission.  Currently offering virtual resources for families: https://www.fi.edu/franklin-at-home

222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Free Library of Philadelphia

Many FREE adapted programs for kids with special needs throughout the year, including sensory friendly story time, Lego groups, therapy dog time and Minecraft, virtual programming call 215-685-5322 or check the website for location/hours.

Contact Information:
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Garden State Discovery Museum

Free!  Open to families with children with ASD.  Opportunity to socialize in a safe and interactive environment.

2040 Springdale Road, Suite 100, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003

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Holy Terror Stars

All seasons – no age limit. FREE.  NEW: teen basketball! Weekly sports, including bowling for children with significant special needs. Meet every Friday night at New Foundations Charter School (8001 Torresdale Ave) from 6:00-8:00 pm. Northeast Philadelphia (Rhawn and Torresdale)  and surrounding area.

Contact Information:
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JFCS of Greater Philadelphia – Programs and Services for People Living with Disabilities

Offers cultural and educational bi-monthly and monthly outings for adolescents, young adults, and adults. Outings to shows, museums, sporting events and more create community and assist with socialization and making friends. Also incorporate social justice activities as well as educational workshops to assist with transition, socialization, and life skills. Trips offered at a subsidized rate.

345 Montgomery Ave, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

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Lets Go Outdoors!

Philadelphia’s leader in providing convenient, fun, outdoor themed experiences for families, schools, individuals and organizations, especially in urban communities. They offer FREE monthly therapy-style programs for special needs children and their families. These sessions focus on improving language, sensory and social skills. Connecting City Communities to Outdoor Experiences!

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Parent to Child Therapy Associates

This center offers art therapy to promote growth, development and social skills; parent training and sibling club.  Sliding fee*.

1226 South Broad Street Philadelphia PA 19146

Contact Information:
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PEEA – Project Elijah Empowering Autism

FREE!  Autism information and Community outings for children with Autism and their families to fun events like basketball games, bowling and roller skating.  Operating virtual support meetings – PEEA Pals – check out website. Sensory friendly fun for the whole family.

Contact Information:
Eric Williams, Sr.
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Pegasus Riding Academy Inc.

Offer group and private lessons six days a week for participants of all abilities, including a Monday night program for children with autism spectrum disorders.

8297 Bustleton Ave, Philadelphia PA 19152

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Penn Speaks for Autism

FREE! “Healthy HeArt” program (an hour long session that is half a form of exercise and half an art project), and an adult and a child dance class.  All programming is currently virtual.

Contact Information:
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Philadelphia Performances for Autism

FREE interactive classical music experiences for people with Autism and special needs throughout the area, see website for dates and places.

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Philly Autism Lego Club

FREE, contact to find out schedule and sign up for this group. Located at the Torresdale Library (3079 Holme Ave Philadelphia PA 19136).

Contact Information:
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Please Touch Museum

“Play Without Boundaries”  where the PTM is open early or late with free programming specifically for children with special needs and their families. Please check with PTM for dates.

Memorial Hall, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA 19131

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Settlement Music

Provides music, art, and dance/movement therapy through individual sessions, as well as group and individual services at community partnerships in the region.  Currently, offering services virtually with limited in-person services at branches.

Four Regional Sites: Queen Village:  416 Queen Street 19147 Germantown:   6128 Germantown Avenue 19144 West Philadelphia:   4910 Wynnefield Ave 19131:  Willow Grove:  318 Davisville Road 19090

Contact Information:
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Smith Memorial Playground

FREE indoor playhouse located in Fairmount Park for children 5 and under, outdoor playground for children 10 and up with the famous “Giant Slide”.   Free story and craft hours.

3500 Reservoir Drive Philadelphia PA 19121

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Special Olympics PA

Young Athletes Sports program for children 2-7 with special needs at many neighborhood YMCAs.  FREE!

Contact Information:
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SPIN Community & Fitness

Offers year-round recreational activities for children and adults of all abilities by offering physical, recreational, arts and educational activities to shape healthy and meaningful lifestyles.

10980 Norcom Rd Philadelphia PA 19154

*SPIN Community & Fitness is currently temporarily closed to the public. Visit their Facebook page @SPINComFit for updates.

Contact Information:
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The Variety Club – Autism Resource Center

Variety Club Resources and Programming for children with autism and any disability ages 5-21.

Recreational “at play” events for families all year long.  Academic year and summer programming also available.

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Tops Soccer/Topsports

FREE sports and recreations opportunities including bowling for children with special needs.

Contact Information:

We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym

Northeast Philadelphia,     Open 9-7 EVERY DAY….classes, playgroups, social skills groups, trainings,  camp, parties. Find them on Facebook.

12357 Academy Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19154

Contact Information:
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YMCA

The YMCA is now accepting some insurance to cover registration and monthly fee payments!!  Programs are offered at all locations are for children of different ages with special needs.  Programs and ages vary. This includes sports and recreation, swimming, daycare/childcare, after school programs, and summer camps.  Fees do apply.

Multiple locations:

Columbia North: 1400 N. Broad St. 19121, 215-235-6440

Roxborough: 7201 Ridge Ave 19128,  215-482-3900

Christian St: 1724 Christian St. 19146, 215-735-5800

West Philly: 5120 Chestnut St. 19139, 215-476-2700

Northeast Family: 11088 Knights Rd., 19154, 215-632-1484

 

Contact Information:
Columbia North
Roxborough
Christian Street
West Philly
Northeast Family
View Website

Camps

Madeline Moore Summer Camp Grant

Provides up to $400/ year for children 6-17 to attend a participating summer camp.  Child must be receiving services through Community Behavioral Health or The Office of Mental Health at the time of application.

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Camp Courage

Camp Courage ages 7-12 with developmental delays in Quakertown PA Autism Support Center

Contact Information:
View Website

Camp Pegasus

Camp Pegasus located in Bryn Mawr, PA in 2021. For 6-15 year olds.

New preschool program for 4-5 year olds!  Special needs day camp focused on social skill development for campers aged 4-16yo. June 28- August 20, 2021

See website for prices, session dates, and other info.

Contact Information:
View Website

Carousel House Special Needs Day Camp

A 2-week camp for kids w/ disabilities ages 6-25. $125 for both weeks w/ lunch included!

Located at Belmont Ave & N. Concourse in Fairmount Park.

Visit https://www.phila.gov/media/20171220153949/Carousel-House-summer-camp-flyer.pdf for more information.

4300 Avenue of the Republic, West Fairmount Park, Philadelphia PA 19131

Contact Information:
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Destination Diversified Summer Camp

Age 5 to age 12, take CCIS funding. 2 sites in South Philly.

Contact Information:
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Dragonfly Forest Summer Camp

Overnight camp for ages 7-15 that services children with Autism, 22q Deficit Disorder, Sickle Cell Disease, Hemophilia, and Persistent Asthma. Provides life skill programming for campers ages 16-24 with various neurodiversity needs.

Cost: $700-750 per session. Financial Aid and payment plans are available.

143 Nichecronk Rd, Dingmans Ferry, PA 18328

Contact Information:
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St. Joseph’s University Kinney Center for Autism

Reverse inclusion Summer camp for kids and teens with Autism. Fills quickly-Get on their email list!  Cost: $20 deposit, $1271-$2317, (ESY accepted) 2week-5week options.

Contact Information:
View Website

NET – Summer Therapeutic Activities Programs (STAP)

Summer Therapeutic Activities Programs (STAP) –  is a group-based intervention for children ages 6-21 years who are diagnosed with Autism. It is based on the Social Thinking Model and uses a series of structured activities to promote age-appropriate social skills, self-regulation, and improvement of self-esteem. Each child referred must currently be receiving some form of behavioral health service and be able to tolerate a group size of 1 staff to 3 children in order to be appropriate for STAP.

NET Centers– 215-238-1426 ext 3980/3986. Located at 7520 State Road, 19136.

Contact Information:
NET (Northeast Treatment Center)
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The City of Philadelphia Summer Program Guide – Neighborhood Day Camps

Each summer, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation holds more than 130 neighborhood day camps and a dozen theme camps throughout the city. Generally, camps are for children ages 6-12 (ages vary per camp).

Contact Information:
View Website

The Variety Club Camp

Day Camp:  Youth with disabilities ages 5-21, siblings may attend too! Transportation available, location TBD. FEE.

Overnight Camp: For youth w/ disabilities ages 7-21.  Stay over from Sunday to the next Saturday.

(610) 584-4366 ext 220.  Contact: Jessica Smith (610) 584-4366 Ext. 135 or Jessica.smith@varietyphila.org

Vocational Program: For youth w/ disabilities ages 14 & up.  Summer program to learn job skills in work-related activities including landscaping, cooking, office duties, camp store, etc. Contact: Tyler Kammerle 610-613-3256 or tyler.kammerle@varietyphila.org.

Contact Nicholas Larcinese 610-507-1821 Nicholas.larcinese@varietyphila.org for all Philadelphia based programming.

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West Phila. Parents of Autistic Children

Cost: $125/w, includes t-shirt.  6050 Market St. and 6500 Haverford Ave. (Granahan Recreation Center and Playground).  (Accepts Madeline Moore grant and FDSS funds).  Contact Roberta Bellamy 267-231-4120 or 215-472-2764 or westphilapacs@gmail.com

Contact Information:

Information, Resources, Advocacy

Community Autism Network

Provides information, trainings, and activities. Many are free grassroots Philadelphia-based supports including respite.

Free community trainings about Autism for families and agencies.

Community and recreation activities: Free family events promoting inclusion and accommodations for individuals with ASD and their families.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CommunityAutismNetwork/

Contact Information:
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PEAL Center (Parent Education Advocacy Leadership)

Information, parent support and technical assistance for people with disAbilities and special healthcare needs.

520 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd. Suite 602 Philadelphia, PA 19123

Contact Information:
Philadelphia Office
Ask for bilingual parent advisor
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