Chattanooga Summer Camps: Special Needs

The American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry estimates that one in 10 schoolchildren are affected by a learning disorder like dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Asberger’s Syndrome, one of the autism spectrum disorders. Resources for children with special needs are a crucial component of the educational mix both in school settings and as a part of the summer experience.

When a program is tailored to children with special needs, children receive added support, structure, and a higher staff-to-participant ratio. In our programs, we use what we call “failure-free” activities.

There are quality summer programs for children with special needs that include fun physical activity, cognitive programming and which address the issues particular to autism spectrum disorders. Eagles Rest Ranch, a wonderful local opportunity, uses the SpiritHorse curriculum developed by Charles Fletcher, providing services for individuals with mental and physical developmental disabilities, spinal cord and brain injuries, social disorders or youth at risk, as well as support for their families.

“Summer camp programs are a great boost to confidence for children with special needs. When a program is tailored to children with special needs, children receive added support, structure, and a higher staff-to-participant ratio. In our programs, we use what we call “failure-free” activities. These activities are designed to be adaptable to different skill levels so that each child can enjoy success while experiencing a “just-right” challenge that boosts their confidence and self-esteem. When children experience success, they are more willing to take risks, which in turn leads to greater learning opportunities.”

Bachman Academy
Horse Camp at Bachman Academy
BASEcamp at Bachman Academy
414 Brymer Creek Road
McDonald, TN 37353
866-397-2267 (CAMP)


Camp Zooability
City of Chattanooga
Chattanooga Zoo
Elaine Adams –


Chattanooga Therapeutic Riding Center
Riding camp for children with disabilities
8395 Morin Rd.
Chattanooga, TN 37421


Creative Discovery Museum
Friends Discover Camp
Half-day inclusive camp designed for children with autism
321 Chestnut St.
Chattanooga, TN 37402
423-648-6040 or 423-267-9344

All kids love Friends’ Discovery Camp! Designed to address the social and recreational needs of children with autism through a unique partnership with Creative Discovery Museum, UTC, Siskin Children’s Institute and T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital, a child with autism is paired with a child without autism. Kids aged 5–7 and 8–11 get the chance to have wild and wacky camp fun, develop socially and expand their horizons. All of this happens in the company of BIG Buddies, UTC students trained to address the specific needs of all children in this camp. Campers receive a free Museum membership.

Eagles Rest Ranch

ERR has SpiritHorse Certified Equine-Assisted Healthcare Instructors and is a licensed 501(c)3 non-profit SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding facility.


Ginger Brown
SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding
Eagles Rest Ranch


East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Rehabilitation Center
1025 Children’s Way
Knoxville, TN 37922


Epilepsy Foundation of SE Tennessee
One Siskin Plaza
Chattanooga, TN 37403


Fit One of Ooltewah
Camp Awesome
Special needs day camp
6857 Mountain View Rd.
Ooltewah, TN 37363


Little TN Valley Educational Cooperative
Birth to Three
Pam Potocik
422 Ellis Avenue
Maryville, TN 37804


MDA Summer Camp
Muscular Dystrophy Association
Courtney Crawford
6408 Papermill Drive, Suite 230
Knoxville, TN 37919


MDA Chattanooga
Courtney Crawford
2115 Chapman Road, Suite 163
Chattanooga, TN 37421


Mystery Dog Ranch
Hozho Therapeutic Equestrian Services
Mystery Dog Ranch
975 Wooten Road
Ringgold, GA 30736
706-935-5559 (Office)
423-991-4103 (Cell)


Open Doors Tennessee
Steve Johnson
PO Box 58
Powell, TN 37849


Rivers Way Outdoor Adventure Camp
Tom Hanlon
889 Stoney Hollow Road
Bluff City, TN 37618


Scenic Land School
Aleta Kinsey
1200 Mountain Creek Road, Suite 300
Chattanooga, TN 37405


Siskin Early Learning Center
Sarah Briggs
1602 Gunbarrel Road
Chattanooga, TN 37421


The Speech and Hearing Center
Pre-Reading, Sounds to Read Club
600 N. Holtzclaw Ave., Ste. 200
Chattanooga, TN 37404


The Speech-Language Reading Center
Speech/language camps
1200 Mountain Creek Rd., Ste. 380
Chattanooga, TN 37405
Stellar Therapy Services


Specializing in language impairments, sensory integration, fine motor development, early literacy, autism, attention deficit disorder, handwriting, and other developmental issues.

6172 Airways Blvd, Suite 122
Chattanooga, TN 37414
423-622-1551 phone


Tennessee Camp for Diabetic Children
Overnight diabetic camp
2622 Lee Pk.
Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379

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