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Recreation Programs and Services

The Foundation offers recreation programs specifically developed for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder.

The Els for Autism Foundation offers various recreation programs for adults and children with autism and special needs on its campus located in Jupiter, Florida. View details about each of our recreation programs. A complete schedule can be found on our events calendar. Keeping our campus’ participants active and healthy is our number one goal.

New participants must complete the Els for Autism intake process before beginning any program or activity. To register for any of our recreation programs listed below, please contact Kelley Coutts at

>>Summer Recreation Program: Several programs are offered virtually this summer, including Yoga, Summer Camp, Music, and Connections Club. For more information about these virtual offerings, please download the Summer Recreation Program guide.


Sports and Fitness

Physical activities are vitally important for children with and without disabilities. They promote healthy lifestyles, but can also benefit individuals with autism in unique ways. In the U.S., the prevalence of overweight among children with ASD increases by 19% with an additional 36% at risk for being overweight. Being overweight can put children at increased risk for numerous health problems including; diabetes, cardiovascular disease, bone and joint problems, and even depression. (1)

(1) Source: Autism Speaks: Sports, Exercise, and the Benefits of Physical Activity for Individuals with Autism

Ernie Els #GameON Autism™ Programs

Through the Ernie Els #GameON Autism™ Programs, we at Els for Autism strive to spread autism awareness within our communities. By educating professionals in the field of sports and recreation how to teach people with autism, Els for Autism is changing the culture of sports and recreation. People with autism are beginning to feel welcomed and included to participate in a recreation activity, go to public places, even take lessons or group classes with their local sports professionals. We believe recreation, specifically sports, can be an effective supplemental therapy for individuals with autism.

Resources for this program and information for starting up your own program can be found here.


The innovative golf program started in 2013, in collaboration with The First Tee ® and PGA REACH. Infused with evidence-based practices for teaching golf to people with ASD, Ernie Els #GameON Autism Golf is designed to build self-esteem and confidence in a fun, welcoming and supportive environment; encouraging participants to learn golf skills while practicing specific autism learning concepts including communication, emotional regulation, motor, and social skills.

Participants will learn and practice foundational motor skills through fun athletic games and golf activities while practicing social/communication skills in each class.

Instructor: The First Tee of the Palm Beaches is the service provider. Contact Kelley Coutts to register:


A structured tennis learning experience that includes: basic strokes, eye-hand coordination, racket handling; putting strokes together, and components of the game-based process. Games and rally balls included.
Instructor: Herb Artis


Special needs Yoga/Fitness enhances stamina, flexibility, energy, and strength in a fun and motivating social environment. Classes include warm-ups, breathing exercises, cardio routines, developmentally appropriate yoga poses, and relaxation techniques while offering a full-body experience of physical fitness and philosophical traditions of yoga.

Instructor: Yael Lawrence, MS, BC-DMT


Ernie Els #GameON Autism Fitness is an innovative, family-supportive, research-based fitness and wellness program for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It incorporates the use of traditional fitness equipment, as well as music, dance, and video games as a means of motivating student participation in fitness activities including cardiovascular, strength training, flexibility, and common recess games. Individuals with ASD often lack opportunities for physical activity due to high levels of intensive therapy involving stagnant activities throughout each day. In addition, many individuals with ASD have high incident deficits in motor planning and coordination leading to an aversion to organized sports activities.  Although these individuals may shy away from physical activity and organized sports, it is imperative to create programs that use evidence-based practices to get them active, moving and practicing social skills. Individual and group classes are available.

We are thankful for the $6,500 grant received from the Autism Services Grants Council to assist in funding this program as part of the Adult Services SALSA cooking class.

Reach and Teach Through the Arts

Exploration of the arts can facilitate personal growth for people on the spectrum in many areas, including gross and fine motor skills, speech, and language through song, memory and mental agility, social skills, confidence, and self- expression.

Both individual and group sessions are offered. All classes are taught by certified therapists or instructors.

We now accept the Health Plan Network of Wellcare, FL for HCBS for Music Therapy Services. For information on insurance, Contact: Shelly Hedge,  Email:, Phone: 561-320-9526

Inter-Ability Chorus

The Inter-Ability Chorus is a community choir for individuals with special needs ages 16 +. Participants must be dedicated and committed to the chorus, willing & able to participate, and have a desire to learn how to perform in the community. This group is open to verbal and non-verbal individuals with communication devices! The chorus is lead by Erica Lyles, our music therapist.

Participants will learn singing skills and techniques, gain confidence and self-esteem, enhance communication, develop self-expression while engaging with their peers.

The program is a 16-week session culminating in a performance.

To learn more about this program or to register, please contact Erica Lyles at

Bridge The Gap After School Program

The Bridge the Gap program is designed to provide an activity-based respite care program for individuals enrolled in the Els for Autism Foundation recreation and/or Reach and Teach Through The Arts afternoon activities.This program is for individuals who need a place to go between the end of the school day and their scheduled activities, or for adults who have a block of time between activities.

Individuals can only attend the Bridge the Gap program on the day(s) they are scheduled for activities.

Bridge the Gap hours: 2:30 – 5:00 p.m.

A limited number of spaces are available each day.  Once the Bridge the Gap application form has been completed, you will receive an invoice that will need to be paid prior to the start of the program.

Canine Connections

Canine Connection provides participants the opportunity to have a hands-on interactive experience with trained therapy dogs. During the program, participants will learn how to approach and interact with a dog which will provide them with the knowledge to safely interact with individuals and their dogs in the community. Individuals will also learn and practice skills including, walking a dog, grooming, feeding and basic obedience.

Summer Camp 2020

In response to the CDC and government guidelines for COVID-19, Summer Camp 2020 will be offered virtually.
Virtual Summer Camp is a six week session for ages 6-21. Camp is designed to build communication and social skills among its campers with autism or a developmental disability.

View the flyer to learn all about the Movin’ and Groovin’ summer camp program.

For questions and to register, please contact: Kelley Coutts, at