1. How did you first hear about We Rock the Spectrum Kid's Gym?
I first heard about We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym in September of 2016. I was looking through a local Facebook group for special needs parents when I came across several parents in the group planning a trip to We Rock the Spectrum – Fenton with their kids.
2. What inspired you to open up your We Rock the Spectrum gym?
As a parent to a son with autism, I had to accompany my son to his therapy sessions and often brought my older son along to wait with me. So, when I learned about We Rock the Spectrum, I thought back to how great it would have been if my older son could play while his brother was in therapy. Ultimately, this inspired me to open my own We Rock the Spectrum gym, to provide a place where parents and children can have fun and learn while waiting.
3. What is your background with the special needs community?
I have a son, who was diagnosed with autism in 1997. I also have a special education teaching certificate and taught high school special education for 12 years.
4. What has been the most inspiring moment at your gym?
One moment that stands out to me is when I met a recently diagnosed child who was on a field trip to our gym. The entire time, she was very upset and could not stop crying. I could tell she was in sensory overload so I asked the mom if I could try something with her. I put a compression vest on her, and she immediately relaxed and stopped crying. Her mom said it was the first time in her life she hadn’t cried while she was around other people and was so grateful. The little one has now become a regular We Rocker at our gym and the mom has met so many other parents at our gym.
5. What is your favorite piece of equipment in the gym?
My favorite piece of equipment is the bolster swing. When we saw that it was strong enough to hold our big guy, we were immediately sold.
6. How have you seen We Rock the Spectrum benefiting your community?
As a Midwest Regional Training Facility, our gym has become a resource for parents in our area. Not only has it become a safe place for children to play, but also a place for parents to call when they are looking for therapists, IEP assistance, advice, or even hair stylists.
A program I am very proud of is our Grandfriends Music Therapy class, which brings generations together to have fun while teaching patience and caring to our older friends. I have witnessed so many friendships forming, both parents and little ones alike, and forming a tight We Rock community.
7. How has being a part of the We Rock family impacted your life so far?
Through We Rock the Spectrum, I have made friends from all over the country. Even though I haven’t met all of them in person, I consider all the We Rock franchise owners to be my friends and fellow warriors. This past summer, I was actually able to travel to We Rock the Spectrum – Oklahoma City and had a blast meeting the owners. It was great seeing what the owners were doing and learning what was working for them in their business.
8. What advice would you give to yourself when you first started the process of opening your WRTS?
This is tough question, but I think the best advice I could give myself is to be patient. Building a successful business takes time, and it’s natural to face several obstacles along the way. But, if you are persistent and patient, your new franchise will only grow going forwards.