Adaptive Programming in Chester County

The impact of these programs goes far beyond the fun activities planned. The Y believes that in a diverse world we are stronger when we are inclusive, when our doors are open to all and when everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. 

We know that lasting personal and social change comes about when we all work together. That’s why at the Y, our cause is to strengthen the foundations of our community. Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.


 View Adaptive Programs

NEW PROGRAM: Adaptive Dance!

This summer we sent our Upper Main Line YMCA Dance Director  Claire Jones 610-647-9622, ext. 2003  to the Boston Ballet to receive a certification to teach all abilities dance classes. View all adaptive programming.


Adaptive Programs by YMCA Location

We have exciting changes coming up in 2022. We're adding new adaptive programs at multiple locations across Chester County.

Brandywine YMCA

​​​​​​Coming Soon in 2022

  • Diverse Ability Swim (Fall)

Jennersville YMCA

Coming Soon in 2022

  • Progressive Fitness (Fall)



Kennett Area YMCA

Current Running

Coming Soon in 2022

  • Diverse Ability Swim (Fall) 

Lionville Community YMCA

Current Running

  • Open Doors

Upper Main Line YMCA

Current Programs

Coming Soon in 2022

  • Adaptive Racquet Sports (Fall)

What is the YMCA Open Doors Program?

For 40 years, the Open Doors program has been a staple of the Upper Main Line YMCA community. 


“The Open Doors program is truly very special. Adults with special needs can feel very isolated and being able to provide this opportunity for them to meet other people and to feel seen, I think it’s lifechanging,” says Erin Lacotta, behavior analyst for the YMCA of Greater Brandywine and coordinator of special needs programming at the Upper Main Line YMCA.


More Information about Adapative Programs

What adaptive programs does the YMCA of Greater Brandywine offer?

Diverse Ability Gymnastics: Our Adaptive Ability Gymnastics class provides gymnastics instruction for children with developmental and/or orthopedic challenges. The class, taught by a certified special education gymnastics coach, is small in size with a small gymnast-to-coach ratio.

Diverse Ability Swim: A fun, non-competitive aquatics program for children and adults with developmental challenges.  Participants will explore abilities, develop skills and find the confidence to pursue goals. Skills and techniques covered include water safety, swim, float swim for five feet assisted or unassisted, back float, and submerging head underwater.

Kennett Open Doors: An opportunity for adults and youth with physical, cognitive, or developmental challenges to be part of gross motor and fine motor activities that promote pride and success through achievement!

Open Doors: A recreational, social night for adults with diverse abilities.  Each Friday, the group engages in a variety of activities (that change weekly) that can range from a cooking class, group exercise, to local community outings. Activities are subject to change.  

Who do I contact if I have questions about the adaptive programs or adaptive offerings in my area?

For more information on adaptive programs, please contact:

YMCA of Greater Brandywine Behavior Specialist, Erin McDonnell.

Erin McDonnell

Behavior Analyst & Adaptive Coordinator

610-643-9622, ext. 2126

Erin began working with the special needs community as a young teen, helping her parents to coach Special Olympics teams. For the past eight years, she’s run the Open Doors program at the Upper Main Line YMCA. Now, as the behavioral analyst for the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, she helps to provide leadership and support on process and inclusion for the more than 5,000 children who attend summer camp and childcare programming offered at their local YMCAs.  



Can I donate directly to these programs?

For more information on how to support Open Doors programming or for opportunities to support the YMCA through estate planning, please contact  Camille Faust 610-643-9622, ext. 2153 .

What volunteer opportunities are there within the adaptive community?

Help support our YMCA team by providing a hand for our Open Doors programs. Learn more today

What types of accommodations are provided for individuals with special needs?

If you are seeking specific accommodations for a program or event, please reach out to the Executive Director at your YMCA location or our Association Behavioral Specialist,  Erin McDonnell 610-643-9622, ext. 2126 .

What's the different between adaptive programs and inclusive programs?

Adaptive programs are for individuals with physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities who choose to participate in activities alongside others with diverse abilities. We adapt programs as needed and strive to provide a variety of options for participants to choose from. Siblings and peers are encouraged to join.

Inclusive programs are for individuals with and without diverse abilities to participate in activities and classes together. These specific programs and events are created to provide an atmosphere where all can thrive.