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Gym for kids helps children, community

Posted: 7:47 PM, Apr 26, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-26 22:07:47-04

A gym in Evans has become hugely successful because of its unique perspective.

We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym is designed to help children with autism and other sensory processing disorders. It has also become a part of the community in other ways.

Children with sensory disorders make up about half of the kids who come to play at the gym.

"The gym is for all children," explains Jessica Sills, the owner. "When we do have children in here with autism and children without -- even the children with autism and their siblings -- it's just a great way for families to be able to bring all of their children to one place together and not have to worry.

Family members say they sensory based play is good for all children.

"Children fear and react to noise, many children react to people -- many children react to how things feel and don't like it," said Nita Yusick, who brings her granddaughter to We Rock the Spectrum. "It's a way for them to get exposed to different things."

Members of the up and coming workforce are also getting training there.

Occupational Therapy students lead sensory classes.

"In OT, they work well within a facility like this that caters to all abilities," said Sara Lind, a student who teaches at the gym.

We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym has also partnered up with Lake Shore High School's work-skills program to help students practice skills they will need after leaving school. The students work on everything from communicating with customers to organizing paperwork to cleaning.

"It's our goal to make them be as helpful in the community as they can with different job and different activities," said Brett Lyford, a Teacher Assistant. "So what they learn here they can expand out, whether it be a volunteer job or working for money."

A second We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym is opening up in western New York within the next few months. It will be located on Transit Road in Williamsville. Construction is well underway.