The doors are open to a new business in Federal Way that is trying to break down the barriers that make it hard for some kids just to be kids.
The We Rock the Spectrum Kid's Gym allows children of all abilities to play side-by-side in a judgment-free zone.
The Federal Way franchise is being opened by Special Education teacher Colin Hirsch, who wanted to create a place for his students and their families.
“I wanted a special place where everyone can learn and grow together and a place where everyone can feel comfortable and families can bring their children and not have to be afraid,” Hirsch explained.
The gym has special equipment for children on the autism spectrum and those dealing with different developmental disabilities. Parents like Jason Reynolds called it “refreshing” and watched as his sons jumped on the trampoline and ran around the gym.
“My older one's 10 and he's having a blast, and my younger one is four. One's diagnosed with autism, one's not and they're both having a blast,” he explained.
Reynolds said it can be exhausting dealing with some of the behavioral challenges for children who are on the spectrum.
“These are our people everyone gets it,” he said.
The franchise was opened by a Federal Way special education teacher who realized there was a need. There is another gym in Bellevue and dozens of others around the country.
Hirsch says they have a mix of activities, camps and classes planned.
“There's an adapted side to it. There's also a quiet space in case there are sensory needs and the child needs a calming area,” he explained.
The specialized equipment makes activities like a zip line or a swing possible for almost anyone. They built it for children with special needs but hope everyone will walk away with a new understanding.
“We're all going to work together and grow together. That's the only way we can make the world a better place,” he said.