1. How did you first learn about We Rock the Spectrum Kid's Gym?
I first heard about We Rock the Spectrum while researching safe spaces for my clients. I wanted to find a place where my clients and their families could go after therapy hours and on the weekend—a place where both my clients and their siblings could all have fun in one place! After sending families to tons of sensory events around town that were not accommodating, I decided to be the one to bring a place for kids of ALL abilities to Dallas.
2. What inspired you to open up your We Rock the Spectrum gym?
As a behavior analyst, I have sat through many meetings with parents who often cried about how they couldn’t take their children to do and enjoy typical things. One of the things mentioned was just taking their kid to a play place, where they could play without looks, questions and fingers pointing. This motivated me to provide a place where not only they could come to, but also where we could spread autism awareness within the community.
3. What is your background with the special needs community?
I am a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst), and I provide ABA therapy services to children and adults with autism and other special abilities.
4. What has been the most inspiring moment at your gym?
The most inspiring moment I’ve had was when a family came in with their newly diagnosed 2-year-old. The parents were concerned since their families did not understand autism, and they didn’t know anyone else in the community. I was able to introduce them to other parents in the gym who had children with autism and have walked the road before them. I also gave them several lists of local resources they could reach out to. The family has since come back many times within the 3 weeks we have been open. They are extremely grateful that we have opened a place where their child could just play and have fun while they could connect and get advice from other parents and staff.
5. What is your favorite piece of equipment in the gym?
My favorite equipment is the zip line because it is perfect for kids of all ages. It’s especially fun to see the kids progress from needing help to going down the long zip line by themselves—and even bringing it back! I have witnessed so many kids get confident within a few hours with the zip line that it’s so amazing to watch.
6. How have you seen We Rock the Spectrum benefiting your community?
I have seen the gym become a major resource in the community, especially in just a few short weeks. Many of the staff members have children with autism, and it is so great to see them interacting and connecting with the families coming in. Watching families walk through the door relieved that they “Never have to say I’m sorry” anymore has been amazing to watch! We hope to continue to become a home away from home for these amazing families.
7. How has being a part of the We Rock family impacted your life so far?
It has greatly impacted both my husband’s and my life, as well as our children’s lives. Although, I have worked within the special needs’ community for years, my children had little interaction with other children with special needs. Watching my 4-year-old play with older kids that are nonverbal, without any questions, and then inviting them to play, has been incredible! One of our biggest goals as parents is to teach our children to love and accept everybody regardless of color, language, or abilities, and our gym provides the perfect place to teach our children compassion and acceptance.
8. What type of return in profit have you seen since opening the franchise?
We have only been open for 3 weeks, but so far, it has been great! The gym has become such a crucial resource in our community that I am confident we’ll only continue to grow bigger.
9. What advice would you give to yourself when you first started the process of opening your WRTS?
It’s hard to say since we recently opened, but one advice I would give to future We Rock the Spectrum gym owners is to take the time to connect with people when they first enter the gym. I’ve been doing this since we opened, and I’ve already made such deep connections with families that we know so many families by name.