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Sensory and ASD-Friendly Activities for Kids in Rhode Island

Sensory/ASD-Friendly • Jun 18, 2023 7:23:10 AM • Written by: Bethany Correia

If you're a parent or caregiver for a kid with autism or sensory challenges, you know how hard it can be to find friendly activities and businesses. As we gear up for summer and school-based resources end, it gets ever harder to give our kiddos enriching experiences without the struggle that comes from pushing them to adapt to a neurotypical class or experience.

That's why we've curated this (hopefully!) ever-growing list of autism-friendly and sensory-friendly businesses in Rhode Island.

If you know of a business we missed, please comment below - we'd love to add it!

Adaptive Groups and Activities Specifically for Autism or Sensory Needs

These are groups, activities, and business with specifically adapted programs for kids with autism and/or sensory challenges. 

"Puzzle Pals": Autism-Specific Gymnastics Class

dream-big-gymnasticsWho: Dream Big Gymnastics 
What: “Puzzle Pals”, an autism-friendly group gymnastics class
When: 6-7 pm on Fridays
Where: 41 Comstock Pkwy, Cranston, RI
Why It’s Great: From teachers wearing shirts with PECS boards, clear visual schedules, and the ability for a grownup to take class with your kiddo, this is an inclusive experience done right. 
Learn More/Contact: https://www.dreambiggym.com/ 

Surf Therapy for Kids & Adults with Mental or Physical Challenges 

gnome-surf-therapy-websiteWho: Gnome Surf Therapy 
: "A Non Profit Surf Therapy Organization focused on creating a culture shift towards happiness, kindness, love, and acceptance for all kids". Gnome surf offers 1-1 lessons, group classes, and caters specifically to kids and adults with mental or physical challenges, including autism. 
When: Summer (outdoors)
Why It’s Great: Just check out this quote from their site: "One in 59 children are diagnosed with autism in the United States. We do not believe that autism is something you can fix, we believe that every child is unique and their differences do not make them less. We are dedicated to spreading the message of acceptance." This is a company that gets it!
Learn More/Contact: https://www.gnomesurf.com/surftherapy.html 

Inclusive Baseball: Little League Challenger Division®

Untitled design (2)Who: Little League 
: The Little League Challenger Division® is Little League’s adaptive baseball program for individuals with physical and intellectual challenges.
When: Typically June - August
Why It’s Great: This league is amazing! Nearly everything is accepted and accommodated for - kids can have a grown-up or sibling on the field with them, take as many breaks as needed, and more. It's such a joy to see these kids have the opportunity to play baseball and make these memories. 
Learn More/Contact:
There is a Challenger division for Cranston Little League (contact and details here), or search for one near you. Just select "challenger division".  Learn more here

Social Groups at the Autism Project

the-autism-project-social-groupsWho: The Autism Project
: Autism-friendly social groups and classes for ages 5 through adults, with a variety of programs from music to cooking.
When: Varies
Why It’s Great: This group knows what they're doing when it comes to adapting classes to autism and sensory needs. The staff is warm, welcoming, and understanding. Classes are designed to meet your kid's needs. They get to build new skills while having a blast and hanging out with "kids like me". 
Learn More/Contact:
Email or call Cathy: 401-785-2666 x76787.  Or, visit the website.  

Autism or Sensory-Friendly Activities

These are groups, activities, and business that we've found to be autism or sensory-friendly and/or open to adapting their approach for an individual in our community. 

School of Rock Seekonk

One of our team members took her son, who is 6 and has autism, to both a group class and a private lesson and the owner and staff were very understanding and welcoming. She brought her own materials and you may have to direct the staff a bit on how to best engage your kiddo but they're open to trying. Visit their website.

Sensory-Friendly Library Programs 

  • Check out this Facebook post from the Sensory-Friendly Inclusive Group for a list of sensory-friendly children's programs at local libraries this summer.
  • Lots of libraries in Rhode Island offer sensory-friendly story times. The Autism Project has a list of libraries that participate.

Roger Williams Zoo: Sensory-Friendly Dinosaurs

Roger Williams Zoo regularly hosts sensory-friendly versions of their seasonal events and showings. Check the site for regular updates. This summer, there are sensory-friendly showings of the Dinosaurs Among Us attraction. Learn more.  

If you know of a business we missed, please comment below - we'd love to add it!

Ready to stop compromising and start thriving?

Get in touch with our team today and learn more about how The Robert Grey Center can help your family.
Bethany Correia

Bethany Correia is the founder and CEO of the Robert Grey Center. Bethany brings over 30 years experience in a wide variety of teaching environments, including working with and advocating for people with disabilities. Over the years, she’s seen too many families forced to make these hard choices and not get the support they need to truly flourish. She started the Robert Grey Center to create a place where kids with autism can thrive and families get the support they need, without the hard choices.