An estimated 12,000 children in Washington have autism. The condition can be terribly isolating for both children and their parents.
For 6-year-old Hunter Standley, a typical playground can be overwhelming.
The noise. Other children might make fun. Just trying to make friends can spiral into chaos.
"I just feel bad that he doesn't get to make those interactions with other kids," says Hunter's mom, Breanna
Breanna says most people simply don't understand the sensory overload and other issues that come with her son's condition.
"A lot of times it's not just the kids that don't understand, it's other parents who haven't dealt with that situation and I don't blame them."
Now, there is a movement to level the playing field for autistic kids.
Wee Fit in Everett one of the very few play spots in our area to cater exclusively to children on the spectrum. Wee Fit is specifically outfitted to make autistic kids feel safe and accepted.
For one thing, it's quiet. Soft toddler tunes and videos play on the television. Swings that act almost like nests soothe the kids.
If things still get to be a bit too much, there's a special "sensory room" that turns down the lights and provides a place to be alone if need be.
Casey Wren and his wife Melissa founded Wee Fit because their own son Cooper is on the spectrum. Making friends was hard and the isolation for both Cooper and his parents could be suffocating.
"We created this place so everyone would have a place to go where they don't have to answer questions, and they don't have to explain their children's behavior," says Casey. "It's just a safe place for them to come make relationships with each other."
For Breanna and Hunter, Wee Fit is turning isolation into a community.
"They just understand we all really crave that connection and we just want to have our kids be accepted."