Smugglers’ Notch & special needs
Family getaways often require months of planning but when you have a child with special needs, making choices and figuring out logistics becomes much more time consuming. The good news is that many resorts are trying to accommodate these families and that includes Smugglers’ Notch Vermont, a long-time favourite of Montrealers for its close proximity (just a 90-minute drive) and huge array of activities.
Smugglers’ Notch Adapted Program (SNAP) helps those with disabilities take advantage of the family resort’s activities. Special adapted equipment is provided when necessary and participants are paired with trained staff to assist them. The program is geared to both kids and adults. A counsellor meets the family to determine goals and interests, and together they design individualized programs.
Depending on a person’s abilities and interests, participants may swim in one of the resort’s eight pools, use the water slide, kayak or do horseback riding or go on a hike. The resort has a giant swing that appeals to adults and kids, as well as an indoor fun centre with bouncy castles and arcade games. There are specialized programs for teens, including a centre located in a yurt (like a large tent), complete with computers and video games. Wintertime activities include skiing and snowboarding, adapted for people with all kinds of physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities.
Smuggs also offers many services to visitors with autism, including quiet rooms away from the crowds and pictogram schedules, basically little drawings of activities like eating, swimming, etc., for non-readers.
Of special interest is their five-day Autism Mountain Camp program for children and adults with developmental disabilities, offered in both summer and winter. Camp groups are limited to six participants who spend from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. doing activities like swimming,. kayaking and. horseback riding in the summer and skiing and snowboarding in the winter. A hot lunch can be provided on days when there are no off-site excursions. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, so families are urged to reserve in advance as the camps tend to fill up quickly.
For more information, call the SNAP program manager, Alisa Anderson at (802) 644-8502 or visit www.smuggs.com.