Waterloo Region Community Participation Programs

Art

  • Arts Abound
    Arts Abound offers classes in all forms of the arts for kids of all abilities and all ages. Visual art and crafting classes allow participants to work on individualized projects in a social environment, without the need to “keep up” with their peers. Both inclusive and specialized programs are available.

Camps

Cycling

  • K-W Cycling Vision Program
    The KW Cycling Academy welcomes athletes with visual disabilities to train at the studio and join our para-cycling program. Blind and partially sighted athletes compete in track and road cycling events on tandem bikes. Pilots for racing are provided. 

Dance & Performing Arts

  • Cambridge Cheer Sharks – Sand Sharks Team
    Train with our cheerleading coaches and learn all about the sport of cheerleading including stunting, jumps, dance and tumbling!
  • Dance for EveryBODY – Waterloo
    Specialized programs include classes for children with ASD, developmental disabilities, and physical disabilities. Dancers with disabilities may also choose to participate in integrated classes. 
  • Dance Adventure Rhythm Experience – Kitchener
    Dance Adventure Rhythm Experience offers an exciting weekly class filled with dance, movement, and music. D.A.R.E. is a class that offers active and social engagement for kids, youth, and young adults across developmental and physical abilities. 
  • Dream Seekers Special Needs Colour Guard – Kitchener, Waterloo
    Canada’s first special needs colour guard uses flags, rifles, and ribbons while performing their choreographed movements to upbeat music. For youth ages 12+ with special needs. For more information contact Rob Dunnington at dreamseekers@rogers.com or 519-743-1195

Fencing

  • Excelsior Fencing – KW
    Excelsior Fencing offers integrated fencing programs for participants of all abilities. They are also one of the only clubs in Ontario equipped to teach wheelchair fencing! 

Fitness

  • Active Souls Project – Kitchener
    Kitchener-Waterloo’s first inclusive gym evolving health and fitness services for every body and ability. Focusing on “Functional Fitness,” Active Souls Project provides 1:1, partner, and small group fitness training, nutrition and meal support. 
  • 3/21 Fitness Adapted Classes - Cambridge
    Each class consists of safe, functional exercises that will increase mobility, increase strength, improve posture, improve balance and improved self-regulation all in a safe, fun social group. 
  • Health and Wellness at KW AccessAbility
    The goal of the Health and Wellness program is to provide youth and adults with physical disabilities the opportunity to improve their health, lifestyle and physical fitness. For more information, contact info@kwaccessability.ca or call 519-885-6640.
  • Movin’ & Groovin’ – Waterloo
    Come join our fun, fit, and fab class for adolescents of all abilities ages 7 to 15. This class incorporates many types of groovin’ movements from dance and yoga to cooperative games and fitness exercises. The programming is designed to meet the fitness needs of youth with physical disabilities. For more information: Nicole Luymes - rein3560@mylaurier.ca or 519-884-0710 x4283
  • Trigator – Elmira
    The Trigator is a triathlon designed for children where they swim, bike, and run for age-appropriate distances. No previous experience is necessary, and all abilities are welcome. 
  • Zumba Cambridge
    Zumba fuses hypnotic Latin rhythms and easy to follow moves to create a one of a kind fitness program. This program is designed for adults with disabilities age 17 plus. For more information, contact Arts Centre at 519 740-4681 ext. 4376.

Goalball

  • Goalball – Kitchener-Waterloo
    Goalball is “the” blind sport as it was created specifically for the blind and visually impaired. It is an indoor court game using a bell-embedded ball. All players wear eyeshades to ensure an even playing field of total sightlessness, while trying to score on the opposing team. Contact Glen and Barbra at kitchenergoalball@gmail.com or call 519-574-8420.

Gymnastics

  • Adaptive Gymnastics – KW Gymnastics
    Adaptive gymnastics is a program that allows children of all ages to participate in gymnastics lessons independent of their parents. We offer one to one lessons, small group lessons and support within regular stream classes. 
  • MoveAbility Gymnastics – Cambridge
    A creative and adaptive gymnastics class built around children’s individual needs! Individual coaching on all equipment with small class ratios, closed-off private areas and max class sizes. 
  • Shining Star Athletics – Kitchener
    Shining Star Athletics is a non-competitive gymnastics /acro studio that focuses on learning floor based gymnastics, tumbling and having fun in a small gym environment. Classes focus on the basic fundamentals of gymnastics like rolls, jumps, safe landings, swings, hangs and stretches.

Hockey

  • Sledge Hockey – Elmira and Waterloo
    Sledge hockey is a form of seated hockey for individuals with physical disabilities. Players sit in ice sledges, and propel themselves with shortened hockey sticks with ice picks or may receive assistance from a pusher. For more information, contact one of our local teams: 
  • Special Hockey
    Special Hockey teams provide players with developmental disabilities a safe place to play, learn, make friends, and have fun, just like their siblings, friends and neighbours! Players do not need to be able to skate to join and will be grouped according to ability rather than age. 

Horseback Riding

Martial Arts

  • Asahi Judo Club – Kitchener
    Asahi Judo offers integrated classes for youth of all abilities as well as a supportive program to build athletic ability and social skills specifically designed to aid those with ASD in integrating into mainstream Judo. 
  • Kitchener Kicks Dragon Hearts – Kitchener
    Dragon Hearts program at Kitchener Kicks is a martial arts program specifically designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities ages 4 and up. Participants work on their strength, balance, flexibility, and coordination, while also improving focus and self -onfidence. 
  • Elora Karate Dojo - Elora
    Elora Karate Dojo is a traditional school of goju karate, helping students to develop strength, focus and self-confidence in a safe and friendly environment. Karate is a martial art based on principles of self-improvement and personal growth, so students are encouraged to progress at their own pace and work towards achievable goals. 
  • KicksAbility
    A 12-week program helping children (ages 6+), teens and young adults of all abilities learn karate and gain important self-confidence. This recreational activity includes one on one instructor-student learning, with original content based off the Korean karate style of Tung Soo Do. For more information contact Brock at KicksAbilitykw@outlook.com or 519-500-5825
  • Cambridge BJJ
    Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is more than an effective martial art: It is a lifestyle that leads to improved mental and physical fitness and personal growth. 

Multi-Sport

  • Active Start and FUNdamentals – Guelph, Cambridge, Kitchener & Waterloo
    Active Start is designed to teach children 3.5-7 years of age with special needs the fundamental movement skills they need to enjoy an active lifestyle such as running, jumping, catching, throwing, kicking, striking, balancing, and body awareness. Program registration cost is able to be covered by Special Services at Home. It is also eligible to receive subsidy through KidSport and Jumpstart. 

Special Olympics

  • Special Olympics – Cambridge, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph
    Special Olympics offers a variety of sports programs for individuals 8 years and older who have a developmental disability. Local activities include bowling, swimming, basketball, floor hockey, track and field, curling, and more. For more information contact your local chapter:

Music

  • Buddy Choir
    The Buddy Choir is an inclusive company who invites anyone who loves music and community to join. The only requirement is that you love to perform! This group emerged through the Waterloo Region Down Syndrome Society, and has grown and evolved to become a reflection of the diversity of our community and a model for inclusion and belonging.  
  • Music Classes at Arts Abound – St. Jacobs
    “Music for All” class designed specifically for children with special needs.
  • Firefly Music Therapy
    Firefly’s music therapy program is facilitated by a registered music therapist who has extensive experience working with a wide range of needs. All of our music programs are therapy based with the aim of meeting non-musical means. No specific diagnosis is required for a child or teen to participate in Firefly’s music therapy programs. We offer 1:1 music therapy, and group sessions. Please contact firefly-info@KidsAbility.ca for details regarding locations and programming options. 
  • KiJengle – Kitchener-Waterloo
    KiJengle believes that music is important for the well-rounded development of all individuals. For this reason, music can and should be accessible to anyone and everyone who is interested! 

Sensory

  • Sensory Sunbeam Sensory and Snoezelen Rooms - Kitchener
    Sunbeam offers two separate spaces for a sensory experience. The smaller Snoezelen room is designed to promote relaxation and a therapeutic, calming experience. The larger sensory room is designed to be interactive with opportunities for cause and effect play and exploration. Contact Wendy King at 519-893-6200 x211 for more information.
  • Sensory Saturdays at the Waterloo Region Museum
    Sensory Saturdays is a program for families with children on the autism spectrum. This two hour program offers a safe and understanding environment where children can enjoy regular hands-on activities in museum galleries as well as discover new themed activities each week. 

Skating

  • Skating – Cambridge
    The Cambridge Sports Park offers a skating opportunity for persons with physical and developmental disabilities to practice your skating skills or develop a new skill while socializing with peers. Support and accommodation needs must be arranged by the individual attending.
  • SkateABLE – Waterloo and Guelph
    SkateABLE™ is a non-profit organization, associated with Trillium Skating Academy, that exists for the purpose of enriching the lives of individuals with physical and developmental disabilities by offering high-quality adaptive ice skating programs in a safe and nurturing environment. 

Skiing

  • Track 3 Skiing – Kitchener-Waterloo
    Ski instruction for children and youth ages 5-18 years old. Participants are fitted with adapted ski equipment (if necessary) and instructed by trained volunteers. Ski programs are offered through Waterloo Region Track 3 Ski School at Chicopee Ski Club in Kitchener and through Ontario Track 3 at various ski hills. 
  • Waterloo Region Nordic Sports Club
    WRNSC offers programs and opportunities for children, youth and adults to learn and enjoy cross country skiing. Para-Nordic opportunities are available for people with physical disabilities. 

Soccer

  • Cambridge Youth Soccer - ACES – Abilities CElebrated Soccer
    All abilities CElebrated Soccer is a program designed for participants between the ages of 5 - 15 & 16 – 24 with intellectual and/or physical disabilities who are interested in learning more about the FUNdamentals of physical literacy and soccer. 
  • Waterloo Stars - Soccer
    The Waterloo Stars is a soccer program designed for children on the Autism Spectrum and their siblings ages 3-18 years. This program runs weekly on Saturday afternoons through the fall and winter at the indoor field at Bechtel Park in Waterloo. 

Social

  • Coffee Club – Kitchener-Waterloo
    Coffee Club is a drop-in social group for people with disabilities, ages 16 and up, that focuses on creating community through planned social activities. Some of these activities include art trying new types of physical activity, playing games, and watching movies. The group will also meet for dinner at restaurants and attend community events and festivals. The program takes place twice a month, on Monday evenings from 7 to 9pm in various locations in the Kitchener-Waterloo community. For more information, please contact Carmen Sutherland at carmen.sutherland@wrfn.info or 519-886-9150 x 3 or visit www.wrfn.info 
  • Just Hangin’ Out – Cambridge
    The Just Hangin' Out program will take place at the Chaplin Family YMCA, Teen Drop in Centre located at 250 Hespeler Road. This program is designed to provide a safe and inclusive place where youth with developmental disabilities can develop character building, health and wellness, and life skills while socializing with peers. For information, contact Heather Melo: meloh@cambridge.ca or call 519 740-4680 ext.4369
  • Our Studio – Kitchener
    Our Studio is a creative, collaborative, inclusive community space where there are a number of programs running related to music, art, drama, and much more. Group activities, 1:1 programs, and summer camp opportunities abound. For more information please email ourspace.141whitneyplace@gmail.com or call Lori at 519.501.6747 
  • Open Space – Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge
    Open Space is a weekly drop-in gathering that promotes inclusion within the community by getting people together at a cafe for food, fun and conversation. In addition to weekly coffee and conversation, with the support of facilitators, attendees plan special events such as Halloween parties, and Open Mic Nights. All are welcome regardless of ability, and you do not need to be supported by Extend-A-Family to attend. 
  • Peeps Friday Night Social – Kitchener
    Come on out meet new people, kick back and have some fun. A fun and comfortable social opportunity for youth and young adults with developmental disabilities.
  • Youth in Transition – Kitchener & Waterloo
    The Youth In Transition program brings teens and young adults (ages 15-24) of various abilities together in a fun and supportive environment to help them prepare for adulthood. During the 12 weeks, participants are given the opportunity to learn new skills and gather information while making friends. In addition to recreational and educational activities, the group plans, prepares and eats dinner together each week. For more information or to register, please contact Holli Norman-Vlach 519-571-6788 X 7662 or holli@ilcwr.org .
  • Playtime Academy – Waterloo
    Playtime Academy is a fun and engaging group for children aged 4 – 7 who require additional support learning how to interact and play appropriately with their peers. Each lesson will be broken down and taught using interactive lessons, modeling, and role playing. Your child will have many opportunities to participate in fun and interactive games. Group activities are designed to promote skill competencies. 
  • Eat, Cook and Mingle Teens
    Come join us for an evening of Cooking, Eating and Mingling! This fun group is targeted for teens aged 13-17 who want to learn cooking skills and make some new friends while they do it.
  • Eat, Cook and Mingle Jr
    Join us for an evening of cooking, eating and mingling! This 10-week group is targeted for young teens who want to learn basic cooking skills and make some new friends while they do it.
  • Friday Night Social
    Youth and young adults are invited to join us for an evening of fun. They can choose to can participate in activities such as: sports, crafts, cooking or just hanging out with some friends. 

Swimming

  • Adapted Aquatics
    Adapted aquatics is for children and youth with a physical and/or developmental disability who need low ratios or 1:1 support to feel comfortable in the water and to progress in their swimming skills. Participants will be taught by an experienced aquatics instructor with support from volunteers as needed at most locations.
  • Fairview Seniors Community Warm Therapy Pool - Cambridge
    Fairview Centre for Community Health and Wellness has a warm therapy pool which has proved to be beneficial to people who need to maintain mobility and flexibility or to exercise after surgery. The pool is available to members of the community with special needs during the Calm Water swims.
  • Firefly Swimming Lessons
    Firefly swimming program provides an opportunity for children to learn basic swimming skills in a safe and supportive environment. Our accessible pool is a welcoming place to practice and grow confident in new abilities. The instructors are patient, knowledgeable, and have experience working with a wide range of needs. This program was designed as an alternative to swimming lessons in a traditional setting. It is intended to be sensory-friendly and individualized. We use a wide range of strategies to develop skills in a positive, fun setting. 
  • KW Synchro – Kitchener, Waterloo
    Synchronized swimming is a great way to develop your swimming skills, build confidence and have fun in the water! Swimmers with physical and developmental disabilities are welcome. 
  • KidsAbility Open Swims
    KidsAbility’s unsupervised therapeutic pool is available to clients and their families, as well as individuals with special needs in our community. The pool is 0.75m in depth so it is very much appropriate for young children or those who would benefit from a warm, relaxing, shallow swimming pool. Our pool and change rooms are accessible and there is a ramp leading down into the water (pool chairs available) as well as options for adapted floatation available on deck. A responsible adult who has completed a pool orientation may supervise up to four individuals (no more than three of whom can be under the age of 13 in each session) during Open Swim. To book an orientation session, contact KidsAbility reception at 519-886-8886 x0. 
  • ROW Swim Club – Kitchener, Waterloo
    Improve your swimming for fitness and competition. Program is inclusive. 
  • Swimming with a Mission (S.W.A.M.) – Kitchener, Waterloo
    Swimming with a Mission Kitchener-Waterloo is a non-profit student initiative founded as a registered chapter of S.W.A.M. Canada. This program provides accessible and affordable one-on-one swimming instruction to children with special needs. For more information, please email kitchenerwaterloo@swamcanada.ca. 
  • Sunbeam Therapy Pool – Kitchener
    Sunbeam’s therapy pool is available to members of the community with special needs for weekly or drop in swims. The 20’ x 40’ accessible pool is kept at therapeutically warm temperature (90° - 93°F) to promote muscle relaxation. Interested participants must call ahead to book a weekly swim time, or to confirm space availability for a drop in swim. A “Snoezelen Spa” is also available. Contact Sunbeam at 519-893-6200 (pool office extension x239) or programbookings@sunbeamcentre.com 
  • Wilmot Aquatic Aces – Baden
    The Wilmot Aquatic Aces Swim Club (WAAC) programs are designed to accommodate all levels of swimmers. Recreational and competitive programs are available. Swimmers who have intellectual or physical disabilities are fully integrated into ACES programs, and the ACES take pride in demonstrating diversity in the water and on the deck. 

Trampoline

Wheelchair Sports

  • Wheelchair Tennis – Waterloo
    Come out to learn the fundamentals of tennis, court coverage, and gameplay strategies. Participants must provide their own wheelchair.
  • Wheelchair Rugby
    A hard-hitting action sport for athletes with limited mobility. Athletes must have impairment in all four limbs to qualify to play, and a classification system is used to ensure that teams are balanced and that players of all abilities are able to play. 
  • Twin City Spinners Wheelchair Basketball – Waterloo Region
    Wheelchair basketball is a great way to play the sport you love! Many players with balance or other mobility challenges enjoy the fast-paced game of wheelchair basketball. Sport chairs are provided for all players. To Register: Contact kwspinners@gmail.com or call coach Bruce Russel at 519-650-3903

Yoga

  • Fearless Heart Yoga – Waterloo
    Fearless Heart Yoga offers integrated programs for participants of all abilities. Please note that the studio is not wheelchair accessible. 
  • Amma Yoga - Kitchener
    This welcoming studio offers a variety of classes with the family in mind. Choose from the option that best fits your family and your practice needs.