Our Mission is to prepare all students to reach their full potential as life-long learners and socially responsible contributors to our global community.

SpEd Child and Family Events

Connecticut Science Center - Sensory Friendly Day
Tuesday, March 12, 2019

250 Columbus Blvd.
Hartford, CT

We want everyone to be able to enjoy the Science Center. That’s why we are lowering the volume and dimming the lights for our friends with sensory disabilities. All visitors will get the fun of the Connecticut Science Center plus tons of activities, arts & crafts, and LIVE Gallery Science Demonstrations without the usual loud sounds and bright lights. All are welcome! Sensory friendly guide available at: https://ctsciencecenter.org/community/visitors-with-special-needs/.

Tickets purchased in advance are $14, at the door $16.95. 1:1 aides are free.

Our exhibits include elements that attempt to reach as many learning styles, levels of interest, and physical needs as possible through use of audios, visuals, closed captions on videos, tactile components, and personal interactions with Connecticut Science Center team members in the galleries. For those who need it, there is a passenger drop off and pick up area in front of the building at the Columbus Boulevard entrance. There are also a limited number of wheelchairs for use on a first come, first served basis which can be obtained at the Security desk. Seating and benches are located throughout the facility for your comfort and convenience. Licensed guide and service dogs are welcome in the facility. Infrared Assistive Listening Devices for theater presentations (available upon request. Exhibit display panels are positioned for comfortable viewing from a wheel chair. If you need any assistance operating an exhibit, or have any questions while visiting the Science Center, please ask any team member (identifiable by uniform shirt and ID badge) and they’ll be most happy to assist you

The Adaptive Edge Program at GCA of CT
Ages: 4-18
Date/time: Sundays for the current session beginning 1/27/19 through 3/31/19; 12:00pm to 1:00pm - LIMITED SPOTS LEFT FOR THIS SESSION!
Program Cost: $300 for the 10-week session (pro-rated for the number of weeks left in the session)

GCA (Gymnastics Cheer Academy)
Located in the Sportsplex in Fairfield
85 Mill Plain Road, Suite S
Fairfield, CT

The Adaptive Edge Program was developed for children and adolescents with intellectual and physical disabilities to promote self-control, increase self-esteem and physical activity through Gymnastics, Parkour and Dance. We encourage parents and siblings to participate and make your child's experience the best it can be.

Benefits of participating in the Active Edge Program include:
  • Improved social skills by following 1 and 2-step directions and interacting with coaches and peers.
  • Improved motor skills and self-confidence by overcoming physical and mental obstacles one step at a time.
  • Provides recreational therapy - therapy based on participation in recreational programs, especially to enhance the functioning, independence and well-being of individuals with disabilities.
The class is run by Brendan Bogan. Coach Brendan is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. He got his BS in Therapeutic Recreation from Southern Connecticut State University. Prior to enrollment in the Adaptive Edge Program, we ask that you meet with Coach Brendan for an intake meeting to introduce your child to Coach Brendan and tour our 7 programming spaces. During this meeting, we will identify the goals of participation for your child during the session and discuss ways that our staff can make your child's experiences at the Adaptive Edge Program fun and beneficial.

To register for the Adaptive Edge Program, please contact GCA at 203-610-8200.

COMPASS FOR FAMILIES: Social Skills Play groups and Study Skills coaching for kids of all ages, now in Westport!

Social Skills Playgroups

Does your child have a tough time socially? A Social Skills Playgroup can help! A Social Skills Group provides a safe and supportive environment in which children can acquire and practice a variety of strategies to help them feel more comfortable, and become more successful socially. Group work is personalized to address specific needs at home and at school. Some of the skills developed in groups include the following:

  • Developing and maintaining friendships;
  • Flexibility;
  • Reading social cues;
  • Joining and playing games;
  • Initiating and participating in conversations;
  • Self regulation;
  • Bullying and responses to bullies;
  • Anger Management Strategies;
  • Self- advocating at school.
Groups are formed based on age, temperament, language abilities and social functioning.

Study Skills Counseling

Does your child struggle with organization? Do they lack the materials they need or even fail to hand in completed work? Study skills counseling can help develop their executive functioning skills including the following:
  • Prioritizing tasks and time;
  • Managing papers and materials;
  • Managing long terms projects;
  • Breaking projects into manageable parts;
  • Use the language of time, sense the sweep of time and identify time robbers;
  • Self talk and self monitor during a task;
  • Become a future thinker: what will it look like when it’s done?
  • How to plan your work so you can then work your plan!

For more information about social skills groups and study skills counseling please contact Lorenza Arnal at compassforfamilies@gmail.com or 415-952-7186.


“Break an Egg – The Social Kitchen”

“Break an Egg – The Social Kitchen” is an innovative program, which builds the communication skills of people with special needs through the motivating element of food. In this fun and exciting cooking class, each participant will prepare a new recipe each week..

The classes are customized 75 minute drop-off classes taught by Shari Goldstein, a 30+ year Licensed Speech and Language Pathologist in private practice and Penney Parkes, a Food Technologist and Fairfield mom of a special needs young adult. Each class will admit a maximum of 4 special needs students. The cost is $75 for a trial class and $425 for a 5-class session.

Targeted goals focus on communication and interaction through cooking activities, including:

o Socialization
• Initiating an interaction and conversation
• Using questions and comments to maintain a conversation
o New vocabulary
o Reasoning skills
• Following directions / Recalling directions
• Cause and Effect
o Success and accomplishments
o Basic cooking skills
o Math skills / measurements

A new class schedule begins again in February but there are trial class slots available now. For more information or to sign up, please contact: Shari@breakaneggsocialkitchen.com OR Penney@breakaneggsocialkitchen.com.


Westport Library - Special Browsing Hour

First Saturday of each month at 8am

Westport Library

20 Jessup Road

Westport, CT

Join us for a special browsing hour for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, or for any families or individuals who will benefit from a more sensory-friendly environment. On the first Saturday of each month, the library will open an hour early and will feature a quieter, calmer space and a "stress free zone" for parents to let their children be themselves. Items checked out during this time will not be due until the following first Saturday. Families can explore the library, play with toys, check out books, and more! This monthly event will also include a Sensory-Friendly Storytime for children ages 2-3 and their families.

We invite you to join us for our very first Sensory-Friendly Browsing Hour this Saturday, January 5th at 8am. To make this a truly calm and quiet experience, we are only advertising this through word-of-mouth and not through our general website. Please spread the word to any families who might be interested!

Email Jaina Shaw at jshaw@westportlibrary.org with any questions.


Challenger Division Baseball

Starts: Saturday, April 27th

Ends: After school is over in June

Days: Saturdays and/or Sundays (attendance flexible)

Times: Vary

Location: In Westport, Meyer softball field at North Compo Road ball complex. May also travel to other nearby towns like Norwalk and Darien.

Westport Little League's Challenger Division is a program that enables developmentally and physically-challenged youth to enjoy the full benefits of Little League participation in an athletic environment structured to their abilities.

The philosophy is to give all children the chance to play baseball in a setting that is fun and supportive. A big part of this, for the players, is to experience the sense of belonging that comes with being part of a team, as well as the spirit of friendly competition through games with other Challenger teams from neighboring towns. In Challenger baseball, scores don't count - everybody is a winner. It's all about acceptance, self-esteem, positive learning experiences and team spirit.

Since some of the Challenger players require support to successfully participate, they are paired up with volunteer "buddies" who become their personal guides. The players need varying degrees of support, but whenever possible, they are encouraged to be independent, with "buddies" close by to lend a hand when necessary.

Questions about registration: please contact Challenger Commissioner Beth Cody at westportball@aol.com.


S.M.A.K. Athletics: A specialized fitness program for those with special needs

Founded by Frankie D'Souza and Jenn Fittipaldi who are speech-language pathologists and fitness fanatics, S.M.A.K. Athletics, L.L.C. is a fitness program designed for individuals with special needs. Our goal is to provide each individual an environment to learn functional body movements among their peers in an environment where they can feel successful. While moving their bodies, S.M.A.K. athletes will engage in a variety of communication skills, build friendships and have fun! Student and adult classes available.

For more information, please visit www.smakathletics.com or email smakathletics@gmail.com.