Author Archives: David TEST! Ephraim

6 Sports for Children With ASD to Try

There are countless benefits to getting involved in sports at a young age. Kids learn invaluable skills like coordination, communication problem-solving, and encourages a healthy lifestyle! However, we understand that these skills may not come as easily to children who are on the spectrum. The core features of ASD effect social, communicative, coordinative and behavioral skills, which are heavily relied on for many team sports.

Sports that require an advanced amount of communication and coordination can cause sensory overload and make it potentially difficult for kids diagnosed with autism to find the enjoyment that their typically developing peers do. This doesn’t mean that they should miss out on the chance to get involved! While there are sports that may not be suitable for children on the spectrum, we’ve compiled a list of six sports that have been proven to be a good fit for children with ASD:  

Swimming

Learning to swim is an extremely valuable skill for all children to know and translates into a great team sport as well. It is considered a very therapeutic activity and teaches kids the repetitive motions of different strokes and how to stay afloat. Becoming part of a swim team may seem like a frightening endeavor at first, but this sport allows children to compete on their own terms and improve at their own pace.

Swimming has been known to improve coordination, social skills, self-esteem, and cognitive skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. Read more about other personal experiences and programs available here!

Track & Field

Similar to being part of a swim team, track & field teams give kids the choice to socialize with teammates if they would like to, but it is not necessary to succeed. Accomplishments are made at an individual level. There is always the option to participate in relay teams where athletes can work together towards a common goal. 

Running is one of the best full body workouts and is especially helpful in combating diabetes and obesity, common concerns for those diagnosed with autism. Some of the most important long-term benefits that track & field will provide for your child are a decrease in self-stimulatory behavior, decrease in aggression, and an outlet to burn off any built up tension and energy.

Biking

For children of all levels and abilities, learning to ride a bike is a great way to learn balance, independence, and stamina. While the stresses of learning to ride can be especially heightened for children on the spectrum, there are plenty of resources that have great tips and ideas on how to make it a little easier. Check out howtolearn.com’s suggestions!

Once your child learns to balance and ride on their own, cycling provides many awesome physical and mental benefits! The necessity for constant motion strengthens leg and core muscles, fine-tune’s motor skills, and teaches balance. Additionally, kids will learn the value of determination and how to succeed on their own.

Bowling

For kids that are not quite ready to commit to a team sport but may eventually want to, bowling is a sport that will ease them into an athletic social setting! It is an easy sport to teach and learn. The repetitive action of rolling the ball down the lane and watching the pins fall is often a very rewarding result and kids enjoy the celebration when they get their first strike! Kids will learn the importance of patience, as they are required to wait for others to go before they can have their turn.

Bowling is known to improve social, coordination, and behavioral skills. Since the bowling alley is normally a loud environment, parents do not have to worry as much about their own child’s noise levels. However, the noise and light levels may be a challenge for some children. 

Martial Arts

Martial Arts is one of the most highly recommended sports for children with ASD. The repetition and movements required to learn it are a great way to keep children healthy in both body and mind. The mental drills that are taught combat stress and anxiety and a calm demeanor is often encouraged during sessions. 

Kids are taught the value of structure and discipline. While this sport does put children in contact with others, it begins with one-on-one training by a professional until they reach an advanced level. By putting them in competition with themselves to remember the right movements and hit the right spots, they are developing invaluable mental and physical skills.

Horseback Riding

Though this sport tends to be on the pricier side, horseback riding is considered to be extremely therapeutic. Even those with high-functioning autism have been known to excel at this activity. Horses and their handlers, who are specifically trained for this type of sport, calm riders, encourage them to focus on every moment and movement, and to accept the training process. Additionally, children learn how to care for the horse and develop connections with the animals.

The We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym is also here to help kids of all levels and all abilities stay active! Our specially designed sensory equipment encourages many valuable life skills, such as motor control, upper and lower body strength, and socialization. There are 10 pieces of specially designed sensory equipment at our gyms: the zip line, zip box and slide, crash pit, trampoline, tunnel, carpet swing, hammock swing, climbing structure, bolster swing, and swivel rotators and carabiners with webbing. In addition to these, many gyms include rock walls and various fun activities to create a healthy and fun environment. You can find our all inclusive spaces at 70+ locations across the U.S. and the world.

Choosing the right sport for your child can be a daunting task,. The most important thing to consider when choosing a sport is how much your child will enjoy and grow from the experience.The sports listed above are all great starts to get your child involved in an active and healthy lifestyle. Remember that ultimately, sports are meant to be a fun activity! 

Resources:

https://www.verywellhealth.com/best-sports-for-kids-with-autism-260157

https://myasdf.org/site/our-programs/swim-lessons/

https://www.howtolearn.com/2012/07/teaching-a-child-with-autism-how-to-ride-a-bike/

https://bethebestsport.org/why-track-field-can-be-good-for-autistic-children/

https://bethebestsport.org/benefits-of-bike-riding-for-children-with-special-needs/

https://kidmunicate.com/autism-bowling-social-story/

https://www.autismspeaks.org/expert-opinion/horseback-riding-autism-therapy

Why You Should Book We Rock On Wheels for Your Next Event!

We Rock on Wheels is a mobile kid’s gym for ALL kids!

We Rock on Wheels provides children of ALL abilities a place to play and grow together. Each bus features specially-designed sensory-safe equipment that is fun to use while also helping improve areas of strength, movement, sensory processing, communication, and more!

A perfect addition to any celebration you or your organization is planning to hold. In the past the bus has been booked for schools, churches, synagogues, camps, fairs, birthday parties, fundraisers, and other special events!

The bus is decked out with a ROCKIN’ sound system and an air conditioner to make sure all kiddos have a blast no matter how what the weather may be!

Equipment on the bus includes:

  • Zipline
  • Hammocks
  • Rock Climb Wall
  • Monkey Bars
  • Rear Exit Slide
  • Mini Trampoline
  • Rope Bridge
  • Swings
  • Crash Pad
  • Balance Beam

(All equipment is sensory-safe)

We even bring Equipment for Kiddos to Enjoy off the Bus!

  • Scooters
  • Hula Hoops
  • Arts & Crafts Tables
  • Bouncy Animals
  • Sensory Water Bead Tables

We give out a We Rock take home goodie bag to those who book the bus for a birthday party! The bus is geared towards younger kiddos, we recommend the max age for the bus is children in Kindergarten to Fourth grade!

For those of you in the San Fernando Valley in California, stop by We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym in Tarzana on Mondays to let your kiddos experience the bus for themselves! No extra cost, just stop by for Open Play!

We Bring the Sensory Play to You!

National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Introducing Jackie & Shawn!

The next people we’d like to introduce in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, are Jackie & Shawn from We Rock the Spectrum – Jacksonville!

Jackie & Shawn are volunteers through the North Florida School for Special Education. The North Florida School for Special Education has partnered with WRTS – Jacksonville for 3 semesters now servicing a total of 6 students. (2 per semester)

Upon arriving at the gym, both employees begin a Cleaning Task Analysis that encompasses the entire gym. This list will explain what cleaning materials to use, what materials to clean, and the cleaning tools needed. They begin at the top and work all the way to the bottom! Tasks vary from sweeping & mopping floors, sanitizing toys, wiping equipment, etc. The two boys also greet their members as they are working in the gym.

Jackie has been with Jacksonville for 2 semesters now, and they have seen a significant increase in independence around the gym (grabbing supplies, task completion, transitioning between jobs) where his mentor is able to fade prompts and allow him to complete the workday on his own! Jackie always greets everyone  with a smile, is great with the members in the gym as they play, and we hear he is excited to come to work each week and be a part of the team!

“My favorite job I do at the gym is sweep the floor. I like to sweep the foam floor. You can use the dust mop or the broom. I also like the trampoline to jump for a little bit after lunch.” – Jackie

“Jackie and Shawn bring a fun, productive energy in to the gym! They provide an invaluable service, helping us maintain a safe & cleanly environment while they get the opportunity to practice daily living skills such as following a task list, cleaning skills, and social skills with novel adults and children! We are honored the North Florida School for Special Education chose us to be a learning environment for these young adults that will generalize into their daily lives as they grow. They greet us each week with a smile ready to work!” – Marissa Chun, Owner of We Rock the Spectrum – Jacksonville

Keep on Rockin’ Jackie & Shawn!

National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Introducing Kelsey!

The next person we’d like to introduce in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, is Kelsey from We Rock the Spectrum – Northeast Philly!

Kelsey has been volunteering at the gym for one year now through a program from her school!

Kelsey helps children enjoy the gym’s sensory-safe equipment! She supervises the “Make & Take Tuesday” arts and crafts projects; organizes toys and dress up clothes, organizes the rock shop and helped run the recent Summer Camp Program.

Throughout the time Kelsey has been working at the gym she has gained more confidence socially. She was very quiet and hesitant to take action when she first started volunteering at the gym, however, now she talks and interacts with everyone much more naturally! 

Kelsey’s favorite part of working at the gym is helping all the kiddos enjoy the equipment, especially the zip-line! Kelsey is definitely in her element helping with arts and crafts. She is very crafty. When she is working on a project with the kids she is always smiling from ear to ear!

“What I like most is the opportunity to let young adults with special needs know that they are no different than any other teen or young adult, we acknowledge it and really treat them just like everyone else. It’s rewarding to see Kelsey feel so comfortable here!” – Barb Dickson, Owner of We Rock the Spectrum – Northeast Philly.

Keep on Rockin’ Kelsey!

 

National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Introducing Megan!

The next person we’d like to introduce in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, is Megan from We Rock the Spectrum – Severna Park!

Megan has been working at We Rock the Spectrum – Severna Park for about 2 years now! Megan is extremely good at her job! Her customers always appreciate the effort Megan puts in while at the gym.

A typical day of work for Megan consists of her cleaning and organizing the gym. She loves assisting children on the equipment! She also takes care of administrative tasks such as filing, inventory and laminating. Her gym usually has a checklist ready for her which helps Megan know what to expect and work independently on her tasks!

Throughout the time Megan has worked at the gym, she has gained confidence in her ability to work independently in the workplace! Megan loves to interact with customers (especially babies), by far it’s her favorite thing to do while working at the gym. She enjoys catching up with her coworkers.

At the end of Megan’s shift, her checklist is copied, and a note is attached for her to share at home. Megan loves iced coffee, We Rock the Spectrum – Severna Park utilizes a check system. Once Megan earns enough checks, she earns a complimentary iced coffee for her hard work! This is always an exciting moment as it gives Megan a visual on her progress each day! Whether the gym is packed or things are quiet, Megan works hard at getting everything on her list complete. Its clear that she takes her job very seriously.

“Megan receives endless amounts of compliments on her work ethic.  It is so awesome to hear and see it all.  I love watching her becoming more independent!” – Courtney Cahill, Owner of We Rock the Spectrum – Severna Park.

Fun Fact: Megan has won 3-4 medals in the Special Olympics in the time that she has been working at the gym!

 

Keep on Rockin’ Megan!

National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Introducing Sagi!

The next person we’d like to introduce in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, is Sagi from We Rock the Spectrum – Jupiter/Tequesta!

Sagi Brodt originally started as a volunteer at We Rock the Spectrum – Jupiter/Tequesta 18 months ago. Fast forward to today, and Sagi has worked her way up to one of Jupiter’s paid employees!

Sagi’s typical work day looks no different than any of Jupiter’s other employees. She maintains safety in the gym, checks in customers, and cleans toys and equipment as needed. She recently took charge and volunteered to run Jupiter’s “Storytime” on Friday mornings!

Since Sagi started working at the gym, her self-esteem and willingness to try new things has increased tremendously! She takes constructive criticism well, and has become much more flexible in her critical thinking! Sagi loves meeting new people and coming to work at the gym! Her favorite part of her workday is playing with the kids! She loves helping kiddos and getting to know her customers and their families!

“There was a boy who wanted to do the zipline but was scared. She helped him realize that he could do the zip-line on his own and at his own pace. She enjoyed helping someone conquer their fears!” – Jenna Pignato, Co-owner of We Rock the Spectrum – Jupiter Tequesta.

“We enjoy watching Sagi grow and learn new things! She has taught us a lot about young adults living with ASD.” – Sarah Callahan, Co-owner of We Rock the Spectrum – Jupiter Tequesta.

Keep on Rockin’ Sagi!

National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Introducing Zach!

The next person we’d like to introduce in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, is Zach from We Rock the Spectrum – Columbus!

Zach is a volunteer through the Olentangy School District ACT (Academy for Community Transition) Program. He has been helping out at WRTS – Columbus since late August.

Zach volunteers on Monday mornings from 9:00am – 11:00am. During this time, We Rock the Spectrum – Columbus has their “Messy Monday Mornings”. Zach normally helps set up the activity, shows the children how to complete it, and interacts with them as well! He is also on the gym floor where he interacts with parents and children as they enjoy the gym. He monitors children play safely on the zip-line, swings, and other sensory-safe equipment at the gym. Zach also helps re-stock the Rock Shop when the shelves are running low.

In the short time that Zach has been volunteering at the gym, he has become a lot more confident.  He has learned the procedures of the gym as well as the safety rules and is a good enforcer and model for the kids in the gym.

“One of my goals while opening this gym was to be a place that schools could use as a job coach site, as well as hire someone with special abilities to work at the gym!” – Lyndsay Vidra, Owner of We Rock the Spectrum – Columbus.

 

Keep on Rockin’ Zach!

We Rock the Spectrum – Chicago/Palatine Grand Opening

On Saturday, October 6th, 2018, We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym celebrated its newest location in Illinois, We Rock the Spectrum – Chicago/Palatine!

Mary Alice Gilgunn and her husband Hugh Gilgunn are the ROCKIN’ owners of We Rock the Spectrum – Chicago/Palatine. Prior to joining the We Rock Family, Mary worked as a speech-language pathologist in various settings. Hugh is a civil engineer who loved the challenge of building such a wholesome establishment. The Gilgunn’s have two children, Anthony (9) and Grace (6). Both of which are beyond excited to be a part of this “super cool” place! (Their words!)

The grand opening was a huge success with kiddos and their families filling up the gym and having a total blast playing with all the sensory safe equipment. There was tons of food donated by local businesses, and tons of smiles on everyones faces!

We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym would like to congratulate Mary her family on an incredible grand opening! The amazing turnout just goes to show how much her community was in need of a place where ALL kids of ALL abilities could play and be themselves.

We Rock the Spectrum Melawati Mall Grand Opening

We Rock the Spectrum – Melawati Mall Grand Opening

On Saturday, October 6th, 2018, We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym celebrated its second location in Malaysia, and fourth international location, We Rock the Spectrum – Melawati Mall!

Yusliana Samsuri and Nazrishah Nordin are the amazing owners of We Rock the Spectrum – Melawati Mall. They credit their son, Rafa, for introducing them into the special needs community. As loving as Rafa is, Yusliana has also seen the challenges that come with special needs children, as he struggles in social settings when interacting with other kiddos. He was always considered the “odd one” and Yusliana knew she had to do something to help bridge that gap for Rafa. After learning about the grand opening of We Rock the Spectrum – Ara Damansara, Yusliana knew she had to meet Rahmah Mahmood, the owner of the first international location of the We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym franchise! Yusliana took Rafa to the gym and immediately saw how well he did in the sensory gym and its inclusive environment. From there, the rest is history, and today Yusliana has brought the second We Rock the Spectrum gym of Malaysia to Kuala Lumpur!

The grand opening was a huge success with Corporate flying out all the way from California, to speak to the press and provide their assistance throughout the celebration, ensuring everything ran as smoothly as possible. YB Khairy Jamaluddin, who originally came up with the idea to bring this wonderful gym to Malaysia, also came out to the event to give a speech and show his support to Yusliana and Nazrishah. The celebration involved a Drum Circle, Zumba demo class, face painting, and more fun activities for the Ampang community.

We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym would like to congratulate Yusliana and her family on an incredible grand opening this month! We know how huge the need is for this type of place in Malaysia, and we are so humbled knowing not one, but TWO locations are now available for families in the Kuala Lumpur area. We know you’re going to ROCK it, Yusliana!

National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Introducing Victoria!

In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we’ll be introducing you to some of our ROCKIN’ team members with special abilities. We’d like to kick off our series of introductions with Victoria from We Rock the Spectrum – Lake Charles!

Victoria has been working with We Rock the Spectrum – Lake Charles for about 6 months now. Her duties include assisting with opening and closing tasks, organizing areas, wiping down toys and equipment to keep everything as germ free as possible, and greeting We Rockers! Victoria’s favorite part of working at the gym is helping with parties, and working the super fun zip line!

Victoria has shown incredible growth since she began working at the gym. She has come out of her shell tremendously and loves talking with families and friends that frequent the gym. She’s always overjoyed when her regulars come in and they remember her name! She is also very appreciative of the fact that parents trust her with their children. Victoria loves children, while she is typically a quiet person, she is phenomenal working and connecting with others at the gym!

“Victoria is one of the hardest workers with such a positive outlook. She makes others happy when they see everything she is capable of. I love that people see that there are no limitations when it comes to what we can do at the gym.” – Katy Miller, Owner of We Rock the Spectrum – Lake Charles.

 We’re grateful to have such an amazing person on our team. Keep on ROCKIN’ Victoria!