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Inclusive Fitness Programs for All Kinds of Kids Around the Main Line

An individualized fitness program or group exercise class with adaptive support can help neurodiverse and disabled kids stay active, build confidence, and have fun

A group of kids and young adults in an inclusive fitness class pose for a photo with their CoreAbility trainer.

Getting plenty of physical activity and prioritizing fitness is important for every kid to stay healthy. When it comes to establishing a fitness program for neurodiverse kids or kids with disabilities, the key is tailoring the program to your child’s unique challenges. But don’t worry – you don’t have to figure this out by yourself! More and more inclusive fitness programs are popping up around the Main Line area to support kids and adults with cognitive or physical disabilities. 

If you’re ready to introduce your child or young adult to a fitness program for health, wellness, and fun, consider these inclusive gyms, play spaces, and karate studios. They provide sensory-friendly environments, modified classes, adaptive equipment, and social support for kids (and adults) of all abilities. 

Action Karate Martial Arts with Functional Support for 18+

6 W Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore

Action Karate specially designs karate classes for adults (18+) with physical or cognitive disabilities. These karate classes are taught by friendly and caring instructors with years of experience responding appropriately and with true consideration for that person’s needs, abilities, and potential. In this welcoming, accommodating environment, adult students of varying abilities can enjoy this dynamic physical activity.

All Together Now – Inclusive Gymnastics

Held at Showtime Academy, 284 Lancaster Avenue, Malvern 

Founded by an occupational therapist, All Together Now provides programming and therapy for children of all abilities and neurotypes. Their Inclusive Gymnastics, held at Showtime Academy, blends a modified greeting and circle time, with gross motor fun! The 45-minute session, designed for young children ages 2–5, features foam pits, balance beams, and ziplines. The small group size allows the experienced gymnastics instructor and pediatric occupational therapist to recognize and celebrate each child’s strengths.

CoreAbility at Purenergy Studio

The Depot Shoppes, 21 Plank Avenue, Paoli

CoreAbility offers adapted group physical fitness classes for ages 13–21+ in a safe, social, and motivational environment. The folks at CoreAbility believe everyone — at their core — has what it takes to improve their physical fitness. Their mission is to provide an opportunity for individuals with intellectual disabilities to work out and be challenged. 

Full Spectrum Fitness

238 Bala Avenue, Bala Cynwyd

Full Spectrum Fitness provides supported, individualized exercise programs for neurodiverse teens and adults. Based on their expertise in special education, exercise science, and adaptive physical education, the trainers at Full Spectrum Fitness develop fitness programs tailored to the individual. Meeting each person at their current level of physical fitness, they develop a program that challenges the individual, while providing any necessary support. Offerings include one-to-one training, group exercise, interactive dance, and martial arts. Full Spectrum Fitness also hosts occasional activities outside the gym, such as Jogging Club, which is open class members and non-members alike.

Larry Hughes Basketball Academy Philly

133 Sugartown Road, Suite B, Wayne

This youth basketball training academy comes highly recommended by a Main Line-area parent of a child with ADHD and ASD. Although this program doesn’t focus on the neurodiverse community, Lauren G. found them “particularly welcoming and happy to have them.” The facility offers training programs and events including skills and drills, private and small group training, camps, and clinics.

Sensory Fit 

Inside the Exton Square Mall (near the indoor playground), Exton

Geared for younger kids, ages 1–8, Sensory Fit is an inclusive play space for all children, especially those with support needs. Bright and colorful, the gym invites active play with swings, slides, crash pads, obstacle courses, and more. Founded by an occupational therapist, this sensory gym is designed to help kids build independence, improve motor skills, increase communication, and have fun.  

Twirl – Down Syndrome Dance Program

3544 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square

Twirl’s Down Syndrome Dance program grew out of the studio’s core philosophy: All for dance. Dance for all. In this inclusive class, students with Down Syndrome explore jazz and musical theatre dance styles. Through the joy of dance, students work on improving movement skills, coordination, and memorization. Twirl is proud to be the first studio in our area to offer a class in dance for kids with Down’s. However, the scarcity of such programs means this class fills up quickly when registration opens in September. 

Uniquely Abled Fitness

At CrossFit Rock Solid, 1150 Boot Road, #7 Downingtown

The Uniquely Abled Fitness program creates inclusive “pockets of space in gyms across the US.” These spaces enable people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to participate in an exercise program that is fun, safe, and effective. At CrossFit Rock Solid in Downingtown, coaches Ashley and Lauren provide a “pocket of space” to work out that is inclusive and accessible to all. As an Autistic Support Teacher and Occupational Therapist, respectively, Ashley and Lauren are especially qualified to provide supported fitness programs. They offer a weekly class for students ages 10–18 and another weekly class for ages 19+. 

Yoga at Play

915 Montgomery Avenue, Suite 209, Penn Valley

Yoga at Play offers yoga and fly yoga, a dynamic form of exercise that combines yoga poses with the support of hammocks. Although their classes aren’t specifically designated as inclusive fitness programs, one Main Area parent recommends Yoga at Play for their fly yoga classes, which she says “are incredibly regulating for us neurodivergents!” Their schedule features classes and workshops for kids, from toddlers to teens, as well as family yoga. 

Looking for more resources for neurodiverse kids and kids with disabilities? Check out the Main Line Parent All Kinds of Kids Guide for Families!

Main Line Parent Writer & Calendar Editor. Email beth@familyfocus.org.