Suburban Boca Raton gym uses trampolines and zip lines for youngsters with autism to learn skills

BOCA RATON, Fla - The emphasis is on fun at the We Rock The Spectrum kids gym in suburban Boca Raton.

But along with the jumping on the trampoline, riding the zip line, the laughing and shouting,  therapy and instructions are going on here for children on the autism spectrum.

"He's holding on, which is good," said Jennifer Guttenberg, an occupational therapist working with one of the children on the zip line.

"I also asked him if he wants more, and he said 'Yes,' so we're also getting the speech interaction and social interaction as well, which is good."

Guttenberg uses this type of gym equipment to help the children with autism she works with develop their senses.

"It helps organize the sensory system, which sometimes these kids have a deficit in. That, in turn, can help them to interact better, knowing where their bodies are in space and their environment and be able to function in a more typical setting on their own."

The gym is open to all youngsters, which can lead those with autism playing with other children and that can help with social interaction.

Susan Dubelier has started bring her two sons here. Six-year-old Ryan and seven-year-old Matthew are both on the autism spectrum.  She can see a difference in the boys on the days they're at the gym.

"I notice changes when they're here; they're happy, they're getting their input. But when we're home they're more relaxed, more calm, more able to focus," she said.

It's a place where the youngsters can be more social, and more vocal.  It's this type of atmosphere the owners hoped for when they opened it.

"I set this up for him, my son," said owner John Field as he bounces on the trampoline with his son, Jayson.
The four-year-old has been diagnosed with autism, and is thriving in this setting.

"It was getting harder and harder to take him to other places because of the sensory overload, the lights, too many big, loud blinking lights to keep him there to play. Now look at him."

The We Rock The Spectrum kids gym is located at 19635 State Road 7 in Boca Raton. The telephone number is: 561-218-0128


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