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LifeTown Offers a One-of-Kind Experience for Youth with Special Needs

Jamie Sumner
Special needs mom, author and blogger
06/17/19  8:00 AM PST

Set to open in the spring of 2019, LifeTown aims to “redefine the landscape for individuals with special needs” with its 53,000 square-foot facility in Livingston, New Jersey. With its simulated town center and emphasis on community involvement, it offers a unique experience for children and young adults with special needs to “gain confidence and self-esteem, practice life skills and build friendships through engaging, creative, educational and social programming.” 

This is a place where children can come to play, while also learning how to live independently. It offers much-needed practice for life in a fun and safe environment.

In the Village, the largest area in LifeTown, kids can walk down main street, navigate traffic lights, visit the park and stop by the shopping center populated with stores like Words Bookstore, which will offer accommodations such as lights adjusted for sensitivity and wider aisles. Visitors can also catch a film at the movie theater, buy flowers at the florist or stop by the bank. 

LifeTown also houses an aquatic center with a zero-entry pool and water tables, playgrounds that mirror natural parks and beaches, a gym with sound-absorbent walls so those with sensory issues can participate and a bowling alley with wheelchair ramps. All activities are designed with adaptive equipment in mind. 

A 3,500 square-foot multipurpose room will provide space for classes, lectures and after-school programs including everything from computer-based therapy to yoga and martial arts. While the kids are learning about life, their parents can visit the parents lounge to “enjoy some much-needed respite, secure in the knowledge that their children are in a safe, warm and welcoming environment.” The lounge is also a space for parents to connect with one another and offer support.

While the facilities in LifeTown are impressive and innovative, perhaps the most significant experience for the children is the peer interaction. Each participant is paired with a teen volunteer to play basketball, swim in the pool, explore the musical stairs or see what’s playing at the theater. This serves LifeTown’s mission, which is ultimately to integrate those with unique abilities into the larger community.

LifeTown is set to open its doors this spring. Check their website for the most recent updates and news on the grand opening.

child with special needs

Jamie Sumner is a mom of a child with special needs, author and blogger.

Read her blog, The Mom Gene.

Follow her on Facebook.

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