Special Needs

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.

The Rappahannock Area YMCA is excited to offer Sensory Friendly Open Swim time! These open swim times are free and available to the community for people of all ages. Registration is required to attend.


RON ROSNER: Mondays 1:30-2:30 PM
Questions: cmatthews@family-ymca.org

MASSAD: Sundays 11:00-12:00 PM
Questions: tellis@family-ymca.org

CAROLINE: Sundays 3:00-4:00 PM
Questions: amoretz@family-ymca.org

KING GEORGE: Fridays 12:30-1:30 PM
Questions: abentz@family-ymca.org

Register Online

Spectrum Sea Turtles is an aquatic program geared towards people on the autism spectrum. It is designed to improve cognitive processing, socialization, motor function and skills, and desensitization with exercises and activities in the pool for all ages.

To register, fill out the application linked below and email to jared@fusionpta.com

Where: Massad Family YMCA Wellness Pool

When: Fridays from 4:00 – 5:00pm

Spectrum Sea Turtles Flyer

SSTAP Registration Form

Special Needs Exercise Classes – Teen through adult 

Tuesdays 1:00-1:45 PM – Massad Y 

Thursdays 12:00-12:45 PM – Ron Rosner Y 

Volunteer Time – Teen through adults 

Tuesday 10:00-11:00 AM – Massad Y Giving Garden 

Wednesday 1:00-2:00 PM – Massad Y – Studio A 

These exercise and volunteer opportunities are designed specifically for those with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. The program has appropriately designed activities and a focus on physical, mental and health benefits. Goals and benefits include: cardiovascular endurance, increased range of motion, increased strength, appropriate social skills, and improvement in conceptual and practical skills. 

Special Needs Chair Exercise on Zoom – Teen through adult 

Mondays 1:00-1:30 PM.

Chair based movements for people with special needs.  FREE to attend. 

Click here to join the Chair class on Zoom   

Zumba with Aryona on Zoom – Teen through adult

Tuesdays 11:00-11:30 AM.

Movements can be done in a small space or from a chair. Wear comfortable shoes. FREE to attend. 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

JOIN US for an evening of fun at Thurston Water Park! This pool party is FREE and open to people of all ages with special needs and their families. Event includes, use of the water park, one meal, raffle drawings, activities in and out of the pool, vendor tables. Advance registration required for all attendees.

Due to inclement weather, the Special Needs Splash Event will now be held on Monday, August 1st from 5:00-8:00pm.


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: Ongoing on Thursdays from 1:00-2:00PM

First class begins June 30, 2022

This class is FREE, but class registration and Special Olympics forms are required to

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. All participants will need to fill out and bring a Special Olympics Registration Form to their first class.


Finding Friends is a play group for children with special needs ages 1-6 years old. Children will practice skills to interact and play together. Parents will also learn ways to help their child play with others. Siblings are welcome. Parent/guardian must attend. Community resources are available. Co-taught by Paragon Autism Services and the Y.

Wednedays, 11:00am-12:00pm at the Thurston Water Park at the Massad Y.

Runs from July 6th – August 3rd.

Free to the community!

Register Online

Adult Art class designed specifically for adults with intellectual disability. Held at the Massad Y. Have fun creating at your own pace.

Ongoing starting July 1st on Fridays from 1:00-1:45pm at the Massad Y.

Free for Y members, $5 for non-members