The JCC's Department of Special Needs provides a variety of terrific recreational and social programs for children, teens and adults. From preschool and day camp to vocational training and family social events, we have it here!
Kids All Together (KAT)
KAT gives children (ages 2 1/2-14) with special needs the opportunity to participate in typical activities at summer camp. With support from an inclusion counselor, every child has the chance to swim, enjoy arts and crafts, and play sports alongside typically developing peers. The KAT program, which has been recognized by the Autism Society of America-Oakland County as a model for inclusion, began with two campers and now regularly includes more than 30.
Space is limited for KAT so an annual lottery is held for children who are interested in participating.
Special Needs Adventure Program (SNAP)
SNAP is for individuals who do not require 1:1 support and wish to participate in summer camp. SNAP combines typical camp fun with off-campus adventures. It is divided into three groups: Explorers (grades 5-8); Voyagers (grades 9-12); and Adventurers (ages 18-26). Throughout the week, campers go on field trips to destinations such as the Detroit Zoo, DIA, Zap Zone and local parks, as well as participate in on-campus activities.
Young Adults All Together
Young Adults All Together comprises two separate age groups, 15-17 and 18-26, and offers campers the chance to enjoy summer activities while learning life skills. Two days per week are spent volunteering for various local organizations with trained staff serving as job coaches; two days are for exploring the community and enjoying camp fun; and one day is for developing “soft skills” such as budgeting, nutrition, and personal safety.
To support the JCC’s mission of inclusion, the Sarah and Irving Pitt Child Development Center seeks to accommodate preschool age children with special needs. A set number of openings exist for children who would benefit by being accompanied by a dedicated inclusion advocate so that they may participate in our preschool program.
Thursday Night Social Group/Young Adult Social Group
The mission of the adult programs is to provide adults with special needs the opportunity to meet with peers, socialize with one another, and above all the opportunity to be respected and valued. Thursday Night Social Group is a social and recreational program for adults (18+) with special needs. Meetings are held twice per month. Young Adult Social Group is our social and recreational program for young adults with special needs ages 15-26. Meetings are held once per month.
Special Education (Opening the Doors Program)
Opening the Doors, a nationally recognized program, enables 1,100 children with diverse learning differences and unique abilities to participate in a quality, meaningful and inclusive Jewish education. By convening collaborations and working in partnership with schools, educational and mental health organizations, Opening the Doors provides innovative educational and community services which educate, empower, inspire, include and create unimaginable moments for families making dreams of a Jewish education come true, they may not have thought possible. OTD is immeasurably vital to the students with special needs, their families, schools, its leaders and the Jewish community. “No matter what our personal challenges are, we all need to learn. I feel that everyone should have the same opportunity to learn and develop their own spiritual belief as I did, starting as early as possible.” — Max Granitz, college student Together, Opening the Doors increases inclusion and engagement by providing meaningful and rewarding Jewish education for all learners. Together we build community by empowering teachers, teens and families. Together we convene collaborations by working together to providing relevant and supportive services and resources.