Special Needs

Special Needs Children's Programs currently funded by Manatee County Children's Services.


Children’s Therapy Center

Program provides occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech/language pathology, psychological, and developmental delay (cognitive, fine motor, social, emotional, communication) services to children and their families.

All therapy services are provided in the child's natural daytime environment in the classroom and/or in a setting geared toward the child's therapeutic needs and interventions. Services are provided by licensed clinicians.


  • Manatee County resident
  • Children ages birth-17 years

Phone: (941) 355-7637

Provider: Easter Seals Southwest Florida, Inc.

Location: 350 Braden Avenue, Sarasota, FL

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Website: www.easterseals-swfl.org

Dream Oaks Camp Program

Program provides day camps, residential camps, and weekend camps designed to serve children who are chronically ill, terminally, or mentally or physically challenged.


  • Manatee County resident
  • Disabled/delayed child
  • Ages 7-17 years

Phone: (941) 746-5659 or (941) 748-8809

Provider: Foundation for Dreams

Location: 16110 Dream Oaks Place, Bradenton, FL

Hours: Contact agency for camp dates and schedule

Website: foundationfordreams.org

Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center

For children ages 5 to 13 years old who are visually impaired, Lighthouse offers a multitude of services, including daily living skills, assistive technology, mobility training and social skills, that parents can depend on to ensure that developmental milestones are met to help them succeed in life, foster independence and decision making. Build on social and technical skills learned in school Develop communication skills in children who are diagnosed with vision loss Prepare students with independent living and social skills to be more successful in all aspects of their lives.

Eligibility: Children ages 5-18 who have experienced vision disability

Phone: 941-359-1404, ext. 104

Provider: Lighthouse Education Center

Location:7318 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota 34243

Hours: Contact agency for hours

Website:  Lighthouse Vision Loss Center - Children

Parent Mentoring and Support Program

Program provides education, information, resources, mentoring, and support services to parents, guardians, or foster parents of children who have an identified disability to navigate the Exceptional Student Education System in Manatee County School District.

Program is a 12-week course that includes instruction on the basics of Special Education, problem solving, resources, education on IEP's, planning for the future, communication, and how to build a support network.


  • Manatee County resident
  • Ages 5-17 with an identified disability, and their families

Phone: (941) 928-0682

Provider: Family Network on Disabilities

Location: Various locations in the community as scheduled


  • Daytime sessions: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., Mon-Sat, as scheduled
  • Evening sessions: 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., Mon-Sat, as scheduled

Website: www.fndmanasota.org

Project Rainbow Respite Program

Program provides respite care, family support services, and case management for chronically ill, medically fragile and developmentally delayed children and their families. Trained respite workers go into the family home or designated area to care for the disabled child so the caregivers have a four hour break to do anything they desire such as shopping, going out to eat, movies, etc.

Provides case management or a link between counseling, respite and other Project Rainbow services and the information and referrals to other agencies that provide assistance for financial, medical, legal, educational, crisis management, and recreational needs.


  • Manatee County resident
  • Chronically ill child
  • Ages birth-17 years and their families

Phone: (941) 355-7637

Provider: Easter Seals Southwest Florida

Location: Services are provided in the home or other specified locations

Hours: By appointment only. Mon-Sat, as needed by client

Website: www.easterseals-swfl.org

Sarasota Manatee Respite Services

Program provides respite care services, family support and case management for children identified with a disability and their families. Trained respite workers go to the family home or designated area so that families may have a four hour break.


  • Manatee County resident
  • Disabled children ages 0-17 years and their families

Phone: (941) 928-0682

Provider: Family Network on Disabilities

Location: Child's home

Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 6 a.m. - midnight

Website: www.fndmanasota.org

Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program

Program provides therapeutic services through horseback riding for Manatee County children who are mentally, physically, and/or emotionally challenged.


  • Manatee County resident
  • Ages 5-17 years with disabilities as identified above

Phone: (941) 322-2000

Provider: Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy

Location: 4800 County Road 675, Bradenton, FL

Hours: Varies - call for hours of program

Website: www.smartriders.org