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Special needs kids’ gym comes to Franklin

May 26, 2021 | In:

International play place franchise, We Rock The Spectrum, will bring its newest location to Franklin.

The address has not yet been disclosed, but is slated to be in southern Cool Springs near Murfreesboro Road’s junction with Interstate 65. The area is already replete with more traditional fitness facilities for adults — Franklin Athletic Club, Planet Fitness and two CrossFit locations.

We Rock The Spectrum boasts of 87 indoor sensory gyms for kids across 24 states and seven other countries, more than 90 locations in North America alone. Their sensory gyms focus on providing spaces to entertain and engage autistic children while fascinating non-autistic kids also. Each locale is established by a family with a child on the autism spectrum and a will to serve other families similarly touched by ASD.

Steven and Samantha Komarnitsky have a boy and a girl: Nash (eight years old) and Coco (five years old) respectively. The former was diagnosed with ASD at four years old. They moved to Nashville from Los Angeles in December 2020, and WRTS-Franklin will be their own location modeled after its preexisting sister location in Boca Raton. Franklin’s location will be the first play place catered to autistic children, projected to open in 2021.

“We are extremely mission-minded, and our goal is to become the go-to place for parents of kids with disabilities to find support,” Komarnitsky said of their impetus to provide for autistic kids. “We also have a non-profit foundation called My Brother Rocks The Spectrum. We raise funds and sponsor families in need of our services and amenities.”

An opening date has yet to be announced but is expected to come by the early fall. Komarnitsky plans to announce soon; at which point, he intends to begin accepting applications for part-time positions, internships and volunteers. Staffing will be partial to applicants with experience in special education, child development or other backgrounds pertinent to special needs.

The sensory gym brings specialized equipment and toys for all ages in its fine motor skills area, classroom, party room, reading area, toddler area, calming room and other spaces. The facility will also host a “biweekly parents’ night out,” yoga classes, fundraisers, adaptive fitness and camps for both summer and winter among myriad other events. It also aims to be a venue for birthday parties, even renting out privately with sanitization between events and rentals.

The gym’s sensory equipment is branded as therapeutic, designed to correlate with the sensory processing discrepancies autistic children regularly experience. WRTS also provides food that caters to the sensory diet those diagnosed with ASD need.

Sensory equipment will include a trampoline, a rope bridge, climbing structures, a zip line, a carpet swing, a crash pit and myriad other structures. The classroom will teach various forms of dance including ballet, tap dancing, Jazz steps and Hip Hop dances.

WRTS policy mandates all its owners and employees be masked and gloved on site, and all adult patrons are required to wear masks while their children are highly recommended to be similarly masked. The facility will have a sanitization station near the entrance. Entrants will have their temperature taken at the door, and those who prove symptomatic will be asked to leave.

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