Special Needs Programs

Welcoming. Community. Respect.
Inclusion at the JCC means welcoming all, regardless of age, faith, ethnicity, need or ability. This belief helps make us a strong and supportive community and upholds the Jewish values of welcoming guests, kindness, respect, and communal responsibility. Individual differences are to be celebrated and can only further enrich the JCC community. We are encouraging those with special needs to participate in various programs, whether that is within our traditional classes or in our specialized programs. If you wish to join any class or program please contact Dinushka De Silva at 203.487.0946 or ddesilva@stamfordjcc.org to discuss the details of what the class or program offers and if it is a good fit for you or your child’s needs and abilities. Don’t forget to look on our board for the latest events, programs, lectures, and much more!





Hand in Hand (Yad B’Yad)
An Inclusion-based, therapeutic summer program for grades 3 – 8, half-day or full-day
Who is Hand in Hand for? Children with a variety of needs, including, but not exclusive to, ADD/ADHD, social anxiety, communication and learning differences, and those on the spectrum.
What is Hand in Hand? Hand in Hand is a part of O-la-mi, the Stamford JCC’s Summer Day Program, and includes a daily combination of therapeutic social skills provided by local clinicians and an inclusion program to reinforce what was learned and encourage social connections with their O-la-mi peers.
What happens during a typical day?*
• Morning Flagpole (Sing songs, receive the day’s updates and activities)
• Morning sessions of yoga and therapy (Social Skill Building: initiation of friendships, joining conversations, self-control,
  feelings and empathy, taking turns and sharing)
• Morning Electives (Instructional Swim, Dance, Art, etc.)
• Picnic Lunch under a tent
• Afternoon Electives (Water Polo, Mini-Golf, Ropes, Acting/Improv, etc.)
• Afternoon Flagpole (Sing songs,  Announcements, and other news)
• Pick-Up by tent
*Every Wednesday we go on field trips or welcome entertainers with our O-la-mi peers*
Hand in Hand children participate with their O-la-mi friends in activities and trips throughout the summer. All children are encouraged to participate in activities, but individualized care through assistance with a counselor is part of the Hand in Hand experience. 


Ages 16 – 22
SCORE! is a program that provides high school students and young adults with varying social, learning and developmental challenges the opportunity to learn, play and enjoy soccer or basketball in a small, structured environment. The goal of the program is to enable young athletes to work on sportsmanship, and teamwork, and to have some active physical fun! Chad Barrett, who has had experience coaching special needs children and young adults, will lead the instruction, and volunteers of all ages will assist in providing a safe and fun environment for all.

Sundays, 2 – 3 p.m.
Members $120 / Community $150
(6 sessions)


R&R (Recreate & Relate)
Grades 6 – 8
R&R is an active social program for a variety of needs, including, but not exclusive to, ADD/ADHD, social anxiety, communication and learning differences, and those on the spectrum. During the academic year, R&R will meet at the JCC to participate in activities such as cooking together, seeing theater performances, varied sports events, pool parties, volunteering, and much more, which is not only fun but also promotes team building. The social groups provide youths with a structured and safe environment to develop their social skills and build relationships.

Wednesdays, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.*
Sundays, 1 – 4 p.m.*
Members $120 / Community $150
(6 sessions)

*If you need transportation assistance from public schools, please let us know.
*Admission fees for trips are to be paid separately.


Music, Movement, and Yoga
Ages 4 – 11, Parent and child
This practice is fun and interactive! Through meditation, movement, and chants, Mark Covello provides techniques to work on improving concentration, mindfulness, self-control, and relieving anxiety, as well as improving hand-eye coordination and thoughtful breath. Classes are kept small in order to modify and accommodate any individual needs. Mark has experience working with children of varying needs and abilities. Parent and child will learn to align the mind and body!

Ages 4 – 7
Sundays, 11 – 11:30 a.m.
Members $60 / Community $90
(6 sessions)

Tuesdays, 4 – 4:30 p.m.
Members $60 / Community $90
(6 sessions)

Ages 8 – 11
Sundays 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Members $60 / Community $90
(6 sessions)

Tuesdays, 4:30 – 5 p.m.
Members $60 / Community $90
(6 sessions)


Serving children ages 2  3
Part of our family of early childhood education programs, JumpStart is a therapeutic early childhood classroom experience for 2- and 3-year-olds with special needs. The only program of its kind in the greater Fairfield County area, the JumpStart classroom follows the pattern of a typical nursery school classroom, offering invaluable social and educational experiences in a group setting for children who typically get one-on-one services at home, in a more isolated setting. For more information, please contact JumpStart Director Sue McGraw at 203.487.0980 or jumpstart@stamfordjcc.org.


Other Special Needs Offerings at the JCC


Angelfish Therapy
We help children with a variety of special needs, sensory issues, and motor coordination difficulties reach their full potential through fun and challenging aquatic therapy sessions, swim lessons, and even land-based therapy. For more information, contact Aileen Tisser at 203.969.6431 or Ailene@AngelfishTherapy.com


Adventure Club
The purpose of Adventure Club is to provide meaningful and enjoyable after-school social opportunities for children with special needs, facilitated by experienced therapists. For more information or to register, contact Jill Sherman at jsherman@waverly-group.com.

Who should join?
Children 6-10 years of age with identified needs including social, language and learning delays. (Adventure Club is not appropriate for children with significant behavioral issues such as aggression).

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Calling all JCC women!

Please join our next Open Center Women Board Meeting Come learn what Center Women is all about and how YOU can get involved! Can't make the meeting but still want to learn more? Contact Nancy Schiffman at 203.487.0941 or nschiffman@stamfordjcc.org.