Sunday Funday

With high staff to child ratios and added supports, Sunday Funday provides opportunities for children ages 5-16 with Autism Spectrum Disorders to enhance socialization skills and to participate in activities that they would otherwise not be able to experience. Children are divided into two groups; Programming for older children will include life skills training and field trips, as well. Classes are taught by specialists and trained teachers, who are assisted by counselors and Social Work interns with extensive special needs and behavioral training provided by Ramapo for Children.This program is for children who are not eligible, or who are awaiting approval, for services funded by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and/or other state agencies.

Ages: 5-16 years old, children are grouped by age
Costs: This program is generously sponsored by the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and is FREE for qualified participants.
Activities: sports and gym, rockwall, yoga, fitness and movement, music, arts and crafts, cooking & baking, Lego Club, social skills & life skills, and other activities that enhance interpersonal communication and peer relations, as well as gross and fine motor skills.
Times: We meet on Sunday mornings from 9 am - 1 pm throughout the academic year. A healthy snack is provided.
Calendar 2018-2019:
September 16, 23, 30
October 7, 14, 21, 28
November 4, 11, 18
December 2, 9, 16
January 6, 13, 20, 27
February 3, 10, 24
March 3, 10, 17, 24*, 31
April 7, 14
May 5, 12, 19

*On March 24, family members will be invited to take part in special Purim-themed programming in honor of the holiday.

To ensure that each child's needs are properly met, an intake meeting will be conducted.
For more information and to begin the intake process, please contact Deena Spindler at or 212-569-6200 Ext. 265. Forms can be found on our Registration Forms page.

Sunday Funday Testimonials

Thank you for all your hard work and commitment to creating fun and enriching experiences for our children. Ralph particularly loved the rock climbing wall, the Lego robotics specials, and creative art projects. Sunday Funday provides an excellent opportunity for him to socialize, learn, and grow. We appreciate your dedication, knowledge, and oversight as well as your advocacy efforts to ensure the Sunday Funday program operates at a high-quality and affordable level for families. –L.C.

Thank you again for all you did for Garret during Sunday Funday ath the Y. It’s an amazing program for children on the autistic spectrum. In our case, it allowed our 14-year old son, who had just moved to New York from Chicago, to socialize and recreate – enjoying a wide range of activities like cooking, crafts, yoga, and sports – in a supported environment. Our son thrived and was always excited to get going on a Sunday morning to be with pals and with counselors: he never failed to have a good time and emerge with a smile on his face. The fact that Sunday Funday is free is unbelievable for what you deliver in return! –T.U.

My son Jonah has been attending Sunday Funday at the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood since 2015. He is now 10 years old and has improved tremendously since starting there. He has improved in school as well since starting at Sunday Funday. Deena and all her staff are amazing, so patient and great with the children. It is great to have somewhere he can go to improve his social skills with other children. I receive weekly updates on everything they’re doing with the children, and I can see Jonah’s behavior improving and using the social skills he’s learning more often, such as apologizing, listening better, and acknowledging others’ personal space as that can be a bit of an issue for him sometimes. He’s also been better at reading others’ emotions, e.g., if he sees another child sad and upset, he will go over to them and try to make them feel better. Jonah also loves music class and baking and the rock wall. One of his favorite things is going outside with the other children when the weather is nice. We’re looking forward to the new season starting so he can attend again. We’re so thankful to have found this program for Jonah as he has benefited so much from attending. –J.C.

My husband and I have both been so grateful that the Sunday Funday program exists. Although our daughter Shayla craves social interaction with other kids, she does not always know how best to handle herself in social situations. Your program really helps that, creating a safe structure so the kids can learn how to be in the world with others. These skills are so important. Just like other children with ASD, Shayla is very bright, but reading and responding to social cues is a big challenge. It cannot be overstated that the social skills you help the children develop are invaluable. They will help them not only in childhood, but throughout life. And that they get to learn these skills with people who treat them with kindness, compassion, and respect means more than we could ever say. –B.J.

Our son has had a wonderful and enriching experience at Sunday Funday. We have seen major changes in his ability to engage in playground play with other children  instead of playing alone he has learned how to approach kids, ask them to play his game, and even ask to join theirs and participate in any activity that might not have been his preferred one. At Sunday Funday he’s learned to listen to instructions, wait his turn, and work with a partner, all critical skills for school and beyond. We attribute much of that success to the way that Sunday Funday combined social skills teaching with the types of children’s interactions that are common during less structure times and during everyday interactions that most children are able to navigate easily. Our family as a whole has also benefited. While our son is at Sunday Funday we are able to focus on our daughter without the challenges and interruptions her brother with autism often brings. Even at age four she has told us how much she enjoys her quiet parent time on Sunday mornings. We hope that Sunday Fundays funders will not only continue the existing program but seek to replicate its success in other parts of the city. Children with autism need to have access the enriching activities like other children. –S.W.

My son has participated in Sunday Funday for almost 2 years. I did a lot of research looking for recreational programs that would meet my son’s needs and unfortunately didn’t find many until Sunday Funday at the Nagle Y. The program has been a lifesaver! It’s difficult to find inclusive programs that have so many different activities (yoga, gym, music/dance, cooking, crafts, etc.) all in one place with staff that are trained to support my son’s needs. My son enjoys attending and looks forward to Sundays. Also, the respite time helps our family run errands and even clean while knowing our son is safe and happy at Sunday Funday. –S.F.

My son Emerson loves attending the Sunday program, and always looks forward to reconnecting with his friends from the Y. The program is very important to us as he's an only child, and the program gives him a chance to connect with other kids in a social setting, besides a school's classroom. I love the way the staff teaches the social skills by reenacting social situations and dialogues in front of kids for them to copy. Emerson also mentions that he loves yoga, and almost every Sunday brings home something tasty they baked or cooked together. Over the year Emerson has learned to take fewer and shorter breaks away from the main group, and that's a huge improvement for him! He's also grown to be more independent, and uses more verbal language to state his needs. We couldn't be happier with the program, please keep doing what you're doing for our kids! The staff at the Y is simply amazing, and full of energy on early Sunday mornings :-)  –E.K.

My son looks forward to the program and has bonded with a number of the counselors. The staff is great at telling when he has reached his limits and needs a break and they always make him feel special and included. Sunday Funday is a great opportunity that I would recommend to any parent! –B.S.