A Very Special Needs Collection

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When your family is impacted by special needs, you need to reach out to find the support you need. We show you where to go.

Vanderbilt Kennedy University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD)
615-322-8240 • vkc.mc.vanderbilt.edu
Provides a variety of services and programs for individuals with disabilities of all ages and their families, for professionals and the community. Many services are integrated with research and training. Some of the services UCEDD provides include:

  • Quarterly art exhibits by children and adults with disabilities or mental health disorders.
  • Autism services for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families.
  • A Down syndrome clinic for families referred by their primary care provider.
  • A Family Outreach Center.
  • A Fragile X Clinic (part of the National Fragile X Foundation).
  • Kindred Stories of Disability in Tennessee: A collection of stories from individuals with disabilities, families and friends.
  • A Learning Assessment Clinic providing academic assessments for students ages 5 – 25 who are experiencing learning challenges.
  • A Reading Clinic serving children through the middle school ages. Provides intense, individualized one-to-one tutoring.
  • A sibling program providing support and networking designed for siblings of people with disabilities.
  • Susan Gray School (affiliated) is a nationally recognized early childhood education and early intervention program that includes typically developing children in educational settings with children with disabilities.

Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center’s Preschool
There’s a preschool program for children ages 18 – 36 months with autism or suspected autism at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center (BWC), with plans to expand to children through age 5. Children with autism focus on establishing and improving functional communication skills, social interactions and play skills with the guidance of occupational therapists, feeding therapists and behavioral analysts. For more information contact Jennifer Pilkington at 615-936-5212 or jennifer.pilkington@vanderbilt.edu.

Tennessee Disability Pathfinder
800-640-4636 • kc.vanderbilt.edu/pathfinder
A content-rich searchable database to connect your family with the resources and support you need.


The Arc of Davidson County
The Arc of Rutherford County
The Arc of Williamson County
615-248-5878 • thearctn.org
Advocacy nonprofit for the rights and full participation of all people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Through a family-based network of members and chapters, The Arc supports and empowers individuals and families; connects and informs individuals and families; improves support and service systems; influences public policy; increases public awareness; and inspires inclusive communities.

Autism Speaks
The world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks Tennessee resources are included at this site.

Autism Foundation of Tennessee
615-376-0034 • autismfoundationoftennessee.org
Offers a full range of occupational, behavioral and speech therapy services as well as support for children and adolescents.

Autism Tennessee
615-385-2077 • autismtn.org
An info hub to help families on their autism journey, it also provides educational workshops for parents, advocacy and support services.

Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee
615-386-9002 • somethingextra.org
Connects hundreds of families to support, programs, education, advocacy and other families.

First Steps
An inclusive child development center, First Steps provides education and therapy to area children, including those who have been turned away due to the severity of their health issues.

High Hopes Inclusive Preschool and Pediatric Therapy Clinic
615-661-5437 • highhopesforkids.org
A non-profit organization serving children and families of Middle Tennessee.

Stewart Beaver’s Institute
615-782-0504 • stewartbeaversinstitute.com
Offers comprehensive assessment and a variety of treatment options, including brain mapping and neurofeedback.

Regional Intervention Program
615-963-1177 • ripnetwork.org
Internationally recognized parent program that helps parents work directly with their own children when there is concern for the child’s behaviors.

Support and Education of Exceptional Parents (STEP)
800-280-STEP • tnstep.org
Organization that guides families through challenges they face accessing education and community programs for special needs.

Sunrise House
888-920-5013 • sunrisehouse.com
A site making resources easily accessible for special needs adults seeking assistance for alcohol or drug addiction. Included are dozens of the latest studies and external resources for the physically disabled.

Tennessee Disability Coalition
383-9442 • tndisability.org
An alliance of organizations and individuals joined to promote the full and equal participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of life. Among the programs offered are Family Voices of Tennessee (works to improve services for special needs children); Tennessee Autism Plan (working toward a system of health care and related services for Tennessee children with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities) and Project Brain (A network and training resource for those supporting students with Traumatic brain injury).

Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS)
931-528-1623 • tn.gov/education/early_learning/TEIS.shtml
Voluntary educational program for families with children birth through age 2 with disabilities or developmental delays.

Therapy in a Bin
800-818-7107 • therapyinabin.com
Online store providing products for children with special needs.

Tucker’s House
310-5224 • tuckershouse.org
Non-profit that works to retrofit home environments for the well-being of special needs children.

United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee
242-4091 • ucpmidtn.org
Provides programs to serve individuals of all ages with a variety of disabilities primarily affecting mobility.

Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Hearing & Speech Center
322-5000 • vanderbilthealth.com/billwilkerson
Specializes in ear, nose and throat diseases and communications disorders such as hearing, speech, language and voice problems.

Unique Programs


Bolton Music Therapy
715-1232 • boltonmusictherapy.com
Serving Murfreesboro and the surrounding area, Bolton Music Therapy’s mission includes using music for special needs individuals looking beyond limitations. Therapy begins with an assessment for your child to develop a treatment plan.

Musical Bridges
(888) MUS-BRDGES • musicalbridges.com
Serving the Brentwood and surrounding areas, Musical Bridges provides music therapy predominantly to children and adults with autism and other developmental disorders.

VSA Tennessee
VSA Tennessee offers a fun, enriching array of arts programming all year and throughout the state for youth with and without disabilities, as well as for teachers looking for resources to guide talented students in the arts. Some of the offerings include:
• Workshops: Offered on various weekends and after school, topic-specific workshops introduce young people with disabilities to an array of arts.
• The Tennessee Dulcimer Choir: A partnership of VSA Tennessee and the Blair School of Music Vanderbilt University, The Tennessee Dulcimer Choir is comprised of adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders who are between the ages of 12 and 18 and who possess language and reading skills.


Ables Recreation Association
A non-profit organization that offers a modified summer camp for special needs children and young adults where campers participate in fun activities such as Sounds games, museum trips and trips to the Nashville Zoo.

Bill Rice Ranch
800-253-RICE • billriceranch.org
Offers one free week of day camp for the deaf ages 9 – 19 in June or July.

Buddy Break
Hendersonville • 447-1323
Hermitage • 481-2819
Lebanon • 484-9386
Mt. Juliet • 772-3391
A service of Nathaniel’s Hope, Buddy Break is a free, once-a-month respite program where special needs kids can enjoy supervised activities while Mom and Dad take a break.

Camp SummerSign at Brentwood Baptist Deaf Church (BBDC)
324-6103 • brentwooddeaf.org
Offers a summer day camp for eight weeks June – July at BBDC for the deaf and hard of hearing youth.

Camp Will: Therapeutic Summer Day Camp
790-5719, ext. 2021 • wcparksandrec.com/seniors-therapeutics/activities
A specialized therapeutic day camp for children, adolescents and young adults living in Williamson County with physical and/or intellectual disabilities. Takes place in June.

Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee
386-9002 • somethingextra.org
Offers a Creative Arts Camp in June as well as a Friends Camp for Kids and a Dance Camp in July for children ages 5 and older with Down syndrome.

Easter Seals of Tennessee
292-6640 • easterseals.com/tennessee/our-programs/camping-recreation/
Easter Seals provides day and overnight inclusion camps for kids ages 7 – 16 with special needs (children are grouped by age with typically developing peers) at Camp Widjiwagan. Activities include swimming, crafts, horseback riding, adaptive yoga and more.

Empower Me Day Camp
453-0005 • sites.google.com/site/empowermedaycamp/
This summer camp for children with disabilities in Wilson County takes place in June and July with themed weeks like sensory, talent, cowboy, tropical and carnival.

Full Circle at the YMCA
Bellevue • 646-9622
Brentwood • 373-9622
Donelson-Hermitage • 889-2632
Green Hills • 297-6529
Rutherford Co. • 895-5995
A free service to Y members ages 3 – 21 with special needs, this year-round program includes after-school arts, fitness and sports classes, swimming lessons, summer activities and more.

Gigi’s Playhouse
370-1500 • gigisplayhouse.org
Gigi’s Playhouse in Brentwood serves all ages with Down syndrome via 30 different educational and therapeutic programs as well as family night activities.

Harpeth School of Gymnastics
790-7825 • harpethgym.com/kidtastic
The Kidtastic Gymnastics program for children 18 months and older with disabilities teaches basic fundamentals of the sport and is available year round.

Muscular Dystrophy Association
832-5055 • mda.org/summer-camp
The Nashville chapter of MDA offers a summer camp program for ages 6 – 17 with neurological diseases at the Center for Courageous Kids in Scottsville, Ky., in June.

Nashville Children’s Theatre
252-4675 • nashvillect.org
NCT offers one sensory-friendly performance during each show’s run on a given Saturday or Sunday. During these shows, kids with disabilities are free to speak and move in reaction to the play. Audio levels may be lowered, and noise-reducing headphones are available.

Nashville Zoo
833-1534 • nashvillezoo.org/zoo-camps
Created in conjunction with Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD), Zooper Heroes Camp for ages 7 – 12 is a day camp for special needs kids that includes animal encounters, crafts, games and more.

Sky High Sports
366-4252 • nas.jumpskyhigh.com
On the first Tuesday each month, children with special needs ages 3 – 6 can play on the trampolines without the loud music or other distractions.

Special Kids
496-4638 • specialkidstn.com
A Christian, summer day camp for children with special needs ages 6 – 25 that is designed to allow the children to participate in an interactive, social and fun way.


The Papillion Center
590-7213 • papillioncenter.org
Located in Gallatin, equine therapy is available to children suffering from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Paradise Ranch
382-5616 • paradiseranch.org
Offers equine assisted therapy for children and adults in one-hour long sessions that focus on physically and mentally strengthening the rider while teaching how to ride a horse.

Realistic Interventions
265-8584 • realisticinterventions.com
Located in Hendersonville, equine therapy is utilized to help treat children with autism and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Saddle Up!
794-1150 • saddleupnashville.org
A year-round therapeutic riding program that serves children and youth with disabilities in the Middle Tennessee area.

Special Olympics
Largest organization in the nation providing athletic opportunities for children and adults with an intellectual disability, a cognitive delay or a developmental disability. Children ages 2 – 7 with intellectual disabilities can participate in the Young Athletes Program either at home or through a local Special Olympics program. Participation in Special Olympics starts at age 8 with no maximum age limit. People with intellectual disabilities can take part in Unified Sports, teams that mi people with and without intellectual disabilities. Contact your local chapter to get your child started:

Terry Watkins, 333-5070, ext.155

Lou Paschall, 893-5812, ext. 22118

Dave McAndrew, 438-8685

Orson Bell, 337-1789

Southern Starrs (Special Therapeutic And Recreational Riding Students)
453-2592 • southernstarrs.org
Offers therapeutic and recreational horseback riding and animal assisted activities to special needs children and adults.

Take The Reins at Bending Tree Farms
566-7534 • takethereinsridingcenter.com
A year-round non-profit recreational therapeutic riding program that serves children ages 4 – 18 with documented disabilities.

To be added to our list of special needs services, e-mail npinfo@daycommedia.com.

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