Sensory gym in Northeast Philly provides safe space for kids with autism

- We Rock the Spectrum, a sensory gym in Northeast Philadelphia, provides a comfortable environment for kids with autism.

With activities like zip lining, dress up, coloring, and swinging, the gym’s motto is “Where all kids can play.”

Some activities, like swinging in a cocoon, provide comfort to these children by wrapping them up.

Two co-owners have a special reason for being involved. Jennifer Dickson and her mother, Barb Dickson, have seen the struggle that children with autism experience when trying to socialize.

Jennifer’s brother, Lenny, is autistic. He often had a hard time enjoying the same activities as his siblings Jen and Matt.

“When they were younger, if I could find a place that Jen and Matt enjoyed and had a good time, Lenny was over stimulated and crying and having meltdowns and we would have to leave,” Barb said. “If I found a place that Lenny enjoyed, Jen and Matt were bored.”

At We Rock the Spectrum, children of all ability levels are able to have fun together. For children with autism, it can even help them to improve their social skills.

“Some kids come in and they are really shy or you see kids that normally wouldn’t play with other kids,” says co-owner Nicole Denicolo. “Just on the trampoline being able to jump with another kid and realize that ‘Hey, we are playing together,’ it’s rewarding.”

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