Resources for families of children with Down syndrome during the coronavirus pandemic
Home Contact Donate Site Map Log In
  • MDSC Logo
  • MDSC Tagline
New & Expectant Parents Join the MDSC Volunteer Advocate Donate Today

Social/Recreational for Self-Advocates

Important Links and Documents

Transition Resources
 Housing Resources
Employment Resources
In addition to the recreation resources listed below, there are recreation outlets very close to home. Check in with your local parks and recreation office to learn about the inclusive programs they offer. Many YMCA's already have, or are in the process of hiring, inclusion specialists to enhance the accessibility of programs. Boys & Girls Clubs are also located throughout the state and provide programs to enable youth to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.

  • The MDSC's AIM: Teen and Young Adult Program provides fun, inclusive, interactive events during the school year for teens and young adults ages 13 to 22. AIM participants develop leadership and self-advocacy skills, form meaningful relationships with peers, and build their self-confidence in an encouraging environment.
  • The MDSC's Self-Advocate Advisory Council (SAAC) hosts quarterly social events for adults with Down syndrome ages 21 and up.
  • The Arc of Massachusetts has 19 chapters throughout the state that offer recreational programs in addition to other community-based supports and services
  • Best Buddies Massachusetts has one-to-one friendship programs in middle schools, high schools and colleges throughout the state.
  • Boston Centers for Youth & Families (B.C.Y.F.) offers a range of affordable programs in 35 fully accessible locations throughout Boston. BCYF welcomes youth with disabilities to participate in programs and activities and also provides a four-week summer camp, Camp Joy, for Boston residents ages 3-22 with disabilities and their siblings.
  • The DCR Universal Access Program is dedicated to providing outdoor recreation opportunities in Massachusetts State Parks for visitors of all abilities. Their brochure includes information on adaptive/inclusive program opportunities as well as recommended locations to go on your own.
  • Everyone Outdoors - A blog for accessible adventures and adaptive recreation in Massachusetts State Parks and beyond! This site includes the entire Summer 2014 Universal Access Program schedule.
  • The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism has a vibrant website full of fun things to do throughout the state, including a comprehensive list of accessible programs, events and activities.
  • Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) provides year-round sports training and athletic competition as well as continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, prepare for entry into school and community programs, and more!
  • SPED Child & Teen has resources on disability camps, workshops and events in Greater Massachusetts including a variety of recreational opportunities.



Being social and having friends are two different things. The events and activities offered by the organizations above are opportunities to be social, but just showing up at an event doesn't mean you will make friends. By learning to use social skills, you can connect with others, see if you have things in common, and find peers who are a good friend match for you.

  • Friends: Connecting people with disabilities and community members - A manual from the Research & Training Center on Community Living out of the University of Minnesota; full of activities and worksheets to help people with disabilities increase membership and belonging within the community and promote relationships
  • How to Make and Keep Friends- Nadine Briggs and Donna Shea have authored a couple of books to help kids and parents navigate common social challenges
  • Social Thinking - A treatment framework and curriculum developed by Michelle Garcia Winner targets improving individual social thinking abilities for people who have difficulty interacting with others. Website includes resources for parents to help their child develop social thinking skills. Social learning programs are offered locally through Social Thinking Boston.