The first sensory gym in Texas opened in Cy-Fair in October offering equipment specially designed for children on the autism spectrum. While We Rock the Spectrum—a franchise that started in California—is not meant to replace therapy, owner Lana Hornak said it serves as a meaningful supplement.
“The equipment is all based on the idea that these kids need sensory input on a daily basis,” she said. “We’re not therapy, but we’re something you do in between that is good for kids and also fun.”
Autism spectrum disorder covers a wide range of social and developmental disorders, but some of the most common include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Asperger’s syndrome. Children who are not on the spectrum are welcome to play at the gym as well, Hornak said.
“We encourage neurotypical children to interact with children on the spectrum,” she said. “It helps them with socializing and it prepares children on both sides to understand each other later in life.”
The gym offers a variety of swings, a trampoline and zip line as well as an arts and crafts area, private party room, play kitchen and a quiet room for overstimulated children to cool down. The owners are also in the process of launching a series of classes at the gym covering yoga, fitness, music and social skills.
Visits cost $12 per hour, but a five-hour package costs $50 and a 12-hour package costs $100. The gym has already attracted a group of regulars who come three to four times per week, Hornak said.
“The number of kids being diagnosed on the spectrum is growing fast,” Hornak said. “We’ve already had parents tell us they’ve seen improvements in their behavior and social skills.”