Gym for autistic kids set to open in Missouri City

- A new gym geared towards autistic kids is scheduled to open Saturday in Missouri City. The gym is called We Rock the Spectrum. It specializes in "sensory safe play".

It's a gym for all children, but most importantly, it's a safe place for kids with autism or special needs.

"You sometimes feel like...you constantly have to apologize for their behavior, for the way they are, but it's just who they are," said owner Margaret Lee. "And the beauty of our gym is that they can be who they want to be."

Lee was inspired to open the We Rock the Spectrum - Sugarland location in Missouri City after visiting another gym from the same franchise with her eight-year-old daughter who is also autistic.

"I was just amazed at the concept of the gym--that it promoted inclusion, that it catered to children of special needs," said Lee.

The gym is open to children from babies to age 13, but for special needs kids, there is no age limit, said Lee.

Parents in surrounding neighborhoods are already signing up.

"When we heard they were opening one here, we were looking forward to it," said Luke Williams, who is father to an autistic eight-year-old boy. "He can't go to a lot of different facilities. He get's a little overwhelmed with a lot of the other kids, so something like this is very similar to his therapy office that he goes to, but here it would be more for play than just for therapy."

When the gym is finished at the end of the week, it will include a rock wall, a trampoline, swings, a zipline, crash mats and crash pillows, a yoga studio, a calming room, and an arts and crafts area.

"It all looks like just fun play, but what the kids don't realize is they're getting a lot of gross motor play and fine motor play here in the gym," said Lee.

We Rock the Spectrum - Sugar Land opens to the public for the first time at 10 a.m. Saturday. The franchise has locations that are already open in Katy, Cypress, the Woodlands and Houston/Memorial.

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