New Gym Reaches Out to Children with Sensory Processing Disorders – The Kansas City Star
Swings, hammocks, an indoor zip-line, yoga classes and music therapy are all offered at a children’s gym in the Northland near Zona Rosa.
We Rock the Spectrum is an indoor sensory gym designed to provide inclusive play opportunities for children with and without disabilities.
All of the equipment is sensory-based. Owner Cassidi Jobe explains children with disabilities like autism or sensory-processing disorder need different types of input when they play.
“Normal playground equipment or bounce houses can be overstimulating,” Jobe said.
As a mother of two children on the autism spectrum, ages 10 and 11, Jobe says it is hard for parents to find places to take their children to play.
“You don’t have places you can take your children, either because the environment is overstimulating or people don’t understand your children’s behaviors,” Jobe said.
Jobe and her husband created a sensory room in their home to help meet the needs of their children. The room was great, but did not provide for socialization. She was looking for play groups when she found the We Rock the Spectrum concept.
“My husband and I didn’t really skip a beat. We knew we had to have this in our area,” Jobe said.
The gym is inclusive. It is not just for kids on the autism spectrum. It is about celebrating what kids can do rather than isolating them by what they can’t do.
“I am very passionate about children with disabilities playing alongside children without disabilities and giving children those experiences at a young age. If they can see that at a young age, when they get older then the stigma is gone.”
Jobe explains the gym is as much for parents as children. The franchise slogan, “Finally a place where you never have to say I’m sorry,” speaks to parents who get tired of constantly having to explain their child’s disability.
“A lot of parents get exhausted and go into an isolation state. This not only gives parents a place to take their kids, but also an opportunity to talk to other parents,” Jobe said.
The gym has open play days, punch card options and monthly memberships for play. We Rock the Spectrum is a national franchise. The location at 7601 NW Roanridge Road is the first in the Kansas City Area.
By Karen Ridder