Special Needs

Develop Life Skills
Stay Healthy
Make Friends

The Rappahannock Area YMCA’s Special Needs program gives individuals with an intellectual and/or developmental disability access to classes and activities that encourage self-sufficiency, socialization and staying active—all qualities that help them learn, grow, and thrive.


Adult Valentine’s Lunch Social – Bring your lunch; enjoy music and crafts.

Adult Egg Hunt – Small group egg hunting, crafts, and light food.

Special Needs Splash – Held at Thurston Water Park for people with special needs of all ages and their families. Food and party favors. Two events: June and July.

Adult Dance – Red carpet entrance, meal, DJ, party favors. Takes place in September.

Sensory Friendly Carnival – The lights are on, less scary, fun game booths and sensory activities.

Adult Holiday Lunch Social – Bring your lunch, enjoy music, crafts, and a visit with Santa.


Classes and Activities

Sensory Friendly Open Swim – Caroline Y on Sundays from 3:00-4:00pm. All ages. Registration required

Finding Friends – June through July at the Thurston Water Park. Ages 2-9. Registration required

Adult Art Class: Massad Y on Tuesdays 11:30am-12:15pm. Create at your own pace. September-May

Special Olympics Tennis Training: See more below.

Fitness Adventure Exercise Class: Massad Y on Wednesdays from 11:30am-12:15pm. Registration required


Virtual Exercise Class on Zoom:
Zumba with Aryona – Teen/Adult Tuesdays 11:00-11:35 AM
Movements can be done in a small space or from a chair. The end of class includes CIRCL Mobility. Despite her physical and Intellectual Disabilities, Aryona shares her passion of music and dance with others as a Zumba Instructor, particularly to those who have Special Needs or limited mobility. Whatever your level of movement may be, please join us for 30 minutes of non-judgmental, at your own pace fun!

Click here to join the Zumba class on Zoom

Learn More about CIRCL Mobility


Volunteer Time – Ongoing classes in the Giving Garden, indoor gardening, event prep, outdoor and indoor clean-up for adults with special needs. Email Anysia Alhanati: aalhanati@family-ymca.org

Vocational Job Skills – Are you an adult with an intellectual or developmental disability who is looking to learn new skills or practice skills that are needed for a job? Apply for a volunteer job position. At your interview we will discuss some of the skills that you are trying to learn or accomplish for a job at the Y or in the community. You will begin working on those skills. Y staff will support you as needed and your attendant may need to support you as well from time to time. Supported, in part, by the Atlantic Builders Giving Fund                                                                 

Daily Living Skills – Are you an adult with intellectual or developmental disability wanting to practice and learn every-day skills for more independence, self-determination and accomplishment? Our program will help you practice kitchen and dining skills with food preparation, setting and clearing the table, manners and etiquette. Prepare and be introduced to a healthy snack that includes fruits and vegetables and helps you work towards independently measuring, cutting, mixing and pouring. Supported, in part, by the Atlantic Builders Giving Fund and the Anne Felder Fund of the Community Foundation.

To sign-up and apply email Anysia Alhanati: aalhanati@family-ymca.org

Special Olympics Tennis Training

Join us for an ongoing tennis training program for all levels of beginner players to advanced players with intellectual disability ages 8 through adult. Learn to hold, swing, and connect the tennis racket with the tennis ball. More advanced players will learn match play. Strength exercises will also be introduced and taught. 

  • WHEN: September-May. Held on the second Monday of the month from 6:30-7:30pm. June and July held once a week on Thursdays from 1:00-2:00pm.
  • This class is FREE, but class registration and Special Olympics forms are required to participate.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Bring your own tennis racket or use one of the Y’s. Dress in workout clothes of shorts, sweatpants, or tennis skirt, t-shirt, and tennis shoes. There are two required registrations. First, register with the Y using the Program Directory below, then fill out and bring a New Athlete Medical Waiver Special Olympics to the first class.

Program Directory

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