New Play Palace Puts Spotlight on Ability Instead of Disability – KCTV


A mom is on a mission to provide a safe place for all kids to play, especially those living with autism, like her son, Gabriel.

Dina Kimmel founded “We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym” in California in 2010.

“I really opened it up for us, for our family, so we had somewhere to go, so Gabriel and my daughter both had a place where they belong,” Kimmel said.

Since 2010, the gym for all kids has spread to 64 locations in 20 states.

Now, the inclusive play palace is in Kansas City, thanks to another driven mom.

“We knew that there was a need,” said Cassidi Jobe, owner of We Rock the Spectrum Kansas City. “And so to see that come to life and the families here now is very exciting.”

Jobe’s son, Preston, who has autism, showed KCTV5 all the fun things to do at the new playground.

“You can play with some toys in the play room, go on a lot of swings, tunnels and climbing things. There’s a trampoline and some workout place stuff and I guess there’s all kinds of things,” Preston said.

Kimmel founded We Rock the Spectrum keeping in mind that all children with autism are different and have different needs.

“They’re diverse. You meet one child with autism, you’d met one child with autism,” she explained.

Some need stimulation, so they’ll bounce on the trampoline or climb the rope ladder. Kimmel said that’s not always the case for all kids with autism.

“But some children get over-stimulated if there’s too many kids around,” Kimmel said. “So we have what’s called a calming room or a quiet room.”

The biggest thing Kimmel, Jobe and supporters of We Rock the Spectrum advocate for is making sure the gym is for every kids, whether they have a disability or not.

While the gym caters to the needs of kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder, it also caters to the needs of the entire spectrum of all kids.

“It’s about the spectrum of ability. And one thing I’m very passionate about is celebrating these children for what they can do instead of isolating them for what they can’t,” said

The gym brings comfort to families not only by fostering inclusivity, but with its motto.

“Finally a place where you never have to say I’m sorry,” said Kimmel.

Parents and kids finally have a place where instead of apologizing for the disability, they can celebrate the ability.

Copyright 2016 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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