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delray florida newspaper local mom scoop

Keeping The Kids Busy Inside This Summer – Delray Newspaper

By: Heather McMechan Contributing Writer

July is here and you know what that means. It’s probably too hot to go outside. I’m sure you’re wondering what to do with the kids and you could use a break from heat or the afternoon rainstorm.

I have the scoop on some indoor places that will keep everyone happy this July.

We Rock The Spectrum Boca

We Rock The Spectrum Boca is an indoor playground that specializes in playtime for children with special needs. They have suspended equipment with swings for balance and vestibular treatment. Crash mats and crash pillows for fun, motor planning, and strength. Tunnels, zip line, and a trampoline for building leg and core strength.

We Rock The Spectrum Boca is located at 19635 State Road 7, Suite 46, in Boca Raton, Fl 33498. Call 561-218-0128 for more details.

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Mother daughter jumping

Mommy and Me moments: Make May a month to remember – Sun Sentinel

There’s nothing more precious than “mommy and me” time, so it’s essential to carve out time for those special moments before your child becomes a tween and reserves weekends and school breaks for friends and activities as far away from their parents as possible.

In fact, a child’s cognitive and social skills have been linked to spending more time with their mother between the ages of 3 and 7, according to study by academics from the University of Essex and University College London that was reported on theguardian.com.

Miami-based Pediatric Occupational Therapist Amy Baez, who created “Playful Jams” to encourage parent/child time, enjoys devoting her class to improving a child’s brain development while offering behavior-boosting exercises for children and their parents. “At my class, the parents do not drop the kids off and leave,” Baez said. “Parents are required to be there and participate.”

Baez’s classes are split into two age groups — 2-4 and 5-9 — so each group of children can thrive among their parents and peers. “Classes with a ‘Mommy and me’ [or parent and me] set-up strengthen trust bonds and enhance developmental and social skills,” she said.

We Rock The Spectrum Kids Gym, 19635 State Road 7, Suite 45, Boca Raton, Zumbini.com

Get in shape while bonding with your little one with Zumbini classes Mondays 11:15 a.m. to noon through May 21 with instructor Andrea Hantman. Classes are also offered Tuesdays 11:15 a.m. to noon through May 22. Created by Zumba and BabyFirst for kids ages zero to four, the Zumbini allows you to sing, dance and play with your child and continue the fun with take home books, music and even a TV show to bring the experience home with you.

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Dancing on the Spectrum

Many parents with children on the autism spectrum will say that one of the biggest challenges they’ve faced while on their autism journey is getting their child to be physically active. Not only does autism affect a child’s ability to function “normally” in typical social settings, but the disorder also affects a child’s fine motor skills and coordination, making exercise and physical activity — especially group activities — all the more difficult. For an autism parent, this means having to find creative and alternative ways to get our kiddos up and moving. That’s exactly what our program, Dancing on the Spectrum, aims to do!

Created by nationally recognized dancer turned instructor, Michele Mirisola, Dancing on the Spectrum is a dance studio here at We Rock the Spectrum where kids of all abilities are invited to learn, play, and grow through the magic of dance. In an interview with Michele, we learn more about our rockin’ instructor and found out what inspired her to start Dancing on the Spectrum and what she hopes the kiddos gain from it.-

Meet Michele Mirisola

Dancing on the Spectrum Instructor, Michele Mirisola

“It was like I could dance before I could walk,” Michele Mirisola says about the earliest days of her dancing career, “so it’s been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember.”

Since then, that passion has taken her far — from New York City to study under renowned dance instructor, Charles Russell of The Joffery Ballet, to performing at events, recitals, and parades all over the country.

Through the years with these experiences under her belt, Michele realized that her next calling was to share her passion with others. Thus, she sought out to be an instructor herself. After studying with Dance Educators of America in New York City, Michele was licensed to be an instructor and the rest was history. She would spend the next 15 years teaching all genres of dance — from jazz to hip hop to ballet — to children of all ages.

The Start of Dancing on the Spectrum

Michele’s experience with the special needs community is a deeply personal one — her cousin has Down syndrome. It was when Michele noticed that dance, an activity that brought her so much joy and excitement, wasn’t so easy for her cousin that she knew she wanted to do something to help.

“[My cousin] would see me dance and she’d want to do the same,” Michele says. “It just didn’t come as easily to her and there were so many more hurdles for her to overcome.”

Not only is dancing physically more challenging for an individual with special needs, but being in a room with dozens of other people can be intimidating, uncomfortable, and send many kids with special needs into a meltdown.

“That’s when I had the idea for Dancing on the Spectrum. Dancing is a great emotional release and an excellent way to express yourself, and everyone deserves that.”

What You Can Expect From Dancing on the Spectrum

At Dancing on the Spectrum, personal development is the goal. Being in a room full of other people can be extremely intimidating for our kiddos, but Dancing on the Spectrum aims to instill confidence in each of them by creating an environment where they’re free to express themselves just as they’d like — without fear or judgment.

“The classes are fun and interactive and the kids are encouraged to use their imagination.” Michele says, “Some of my students even call it ‘jumping class’ because they love the part where they count and jump.”

Since Dancing on the Spectrum started, Michele’s noticed so many of her students go from being quiet and reserved to slowly coming out of their shell to being able to perform with amazing confidence. Personal growth in any way is never discounted. For one of Michele’s students, even getting him to wear a hat was an accomplishment, as any autism parent out there will tell you how fussy it can be to get our kids to wear or try something new. Some students start out very shy and nervous and eventually go on to be able to perform in front of others at holiday shows.

Dancing on the Spectrum sessions are held once a week and are one hour long. Dance camps are also available during the summer, winter, and Easter holidays. The children are independent during the session and the general age range is between potty-trained and 15. To learn more about Dancing on the Spectrum, check out Michele’s website, www.dancingonthespectrum.com!

To sign up your kiddos, call We Rock the Spectrum at (561) 218-0128.

 

Brett Preiser: A New Voice for Autism

Brett Preiser is family to us here at We Rock the Spectrum – Boca Raton. Back when we first opened, Brett came into our gym and asked to be a volunteer when he was just a junior in high school. Since then, Brett has grown to be a familiar face in the Special Needs community in South Florida — and it’s all because of his talent and passion for music. In an interview with his mother, Jill, we get to know a little bit more about our rising star.

Brett and his family originally connected with our gym just months after we first opened our doors. Brett’s parents wanted him to get involved in something within the community during the summer. That’s when his mother, Jill, recalled hearing about a gym for special needs kids that had just opened and encouraged Brett to stop in and ask if they needed help.

When Brett came in, the connection between him and our gym owners, Gail and John Field, was instant and they offered him a volunteer job on the spot! Brett would spend that Summer as a volunteer helping with the kids.

A Child In Between

Brett spent his childhood in Connecticut, near Yale University. When Brett was one and a half years old, his mother, Jill, began to notice certain developmental issues with him that differed from his older brother. It wasn’t long before Brett was diagnosed with autism.

In Connecticut, the Preiser family fell in a lonely in-between. Brett was too high-functioning emotionally and socially to go to the special needs schools in the area, but he was low-functioning in math, timing, and other cognitive functions, making it hard for him to keep up with neurotypical students.

While Connecticut had all the professional resources that their family could need — from therapists to counselors — Jill remembers feeling lonely because they didn’t know any families like theirs or any other kids like Brett. So when Brett was eight years old, the Preiser family moved to Boca Raton.

A New World in Boca Raton

It was here in Florida that Brett’s life took to the path towards music. Shortly after the family’s move, Brett picked up one of his father’s guitars and began teaching himself songs and chords by watching YouTube videos. Brett cites The Beatles as one of his first musical inspirations. Brett’s mother says that music came very naturally to him and that he never needed to take formal lessons.

Over the years that followed, Brett never abandoned his passion for music and his talent developed more and more. He started playing at local venues around the community.

Brett’s music career in the South Florida community really took off when our gym owner, Gail Field, heard Brett sing and play guitar during his volunteer work at the gym. She knew that his voice needed to be heard, especially within the autism community where he would be a great example for children growing up on the spectrum. Gail connected the Preiser family with Autism Speaks and before you knew it, Brett was a headliner, performing at the Autism Speaks event in South Florida. And when he performs, he represents We Rock the Spectrum.

“[Gail] allowed him to spread his wings,” Jills says. “We are so grateful that a place like We Rock the Spectrum exists, not just for Brett but for all the families that need it.”

Brett and his parent, Jill and Scott, with We Rock the Spectrum, – Boca Raton owner, Gail Field (left) and WRTS CEO & Founder Dina Kimmel (right).

Brett still performs at We Rock the Spectrum – Boca parties and anniversaries, but with his newfound recognition, he’s also been booked for birthday parties, fundraisers, and private lessons.

“Music opens up a whole new world for him,” Jill says, “girls, friends, being around people — music gives him confidence.”

Through volunteering at We Rock the Spectrum – Boca, looking after the kids and giving music lessons, Brett discovered that he loved teaching and being a mentor. Today, Brett’s in college studying to be a music instructor, combining his love for teaching with his passion for music.

We are so proud of how far Brett has come and we know he will continue to shine.

ROCKIN AT WE ROCK THE SPECTRUM – Make a Mom Smile

Looking to beat the Heat or those summer rain storms? We have found the perfect indoor play place – We Rock the Spectrum – Boca Raton!

They have everything to Keep the kids busy including Swings, A Trampoline, Zip Line, Arts & Crafts Area, Sensory Toys, Monkey Bars, Climbing Wall and so much more!!

The Best Part is the Story behind We Rock the Spectrum! Gail and John Opened We Rock The Spectrum – Boca Raton in honor of their Son Jayson who is on the Autism Spectrum! After not being able to find a place that not only catered to his needs but to the needs of all children, Gail decided to Open We Rock The Spectrum – Boca Raton. Now All Kids have a Safe and Fun place to play in South Florida!

Read More Here

we rock the spectrum kid's gym monthly medley

WRTS Featured in The Monthly Medley Presented by We Rock for Autism

We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym is a hit in Boca Raton. The only open play sensory gym in Boca Raton hasn’t even been open a full year, and already it is making waves in the community. We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym provides children with a fun and motivational environment to help them in the areas of strength, movement and sensory processing, communication experiences, behavior modifications, social interactions and self-care skills.

Read More Here!

How Siblings of Children with Autism are Affected

How Siblings of Children with Autism are Affected

As parents of children with Autism, we understand they require specialized care and attention. Depending upon which part of the spectrum a child falls under, the extent of the support will vary from helping them accomplish daily tasks to needing assisted care on a continual basis. Regardless of the extent of the therapy solutions, parents try anything and everything to give their children the support they need to reach their full potential.

But what about the siblings of the children with autism?

Just like how parents’ lives change when they discover their child has autism, their other children are also affected but in a much different way. Siblings have to stand by and watch, feeling helpless as their beloved brother or sister is affected by a disorder they will not fully understand until later in life. This has the potential to cause anxiety and difficulty in expressing emotions, which can lead to the siblings lashing out at their parents or brother and sister.

Parents who have children that fall into these categories are often at a loss as to how they should address the problems their children are facing. On one hand, they know their child with autism needs the added attention and Occupational, Behavioral, or Speech therapy required. On the other hand, their neurotypical children are feeling neglected and possibly left out – which is also tough on the parents.

While the sibling who has autism is receiving the care and attention they need from therapy, the neurotypical siblings finds themselves watching, almost in the shadows, while the other child receives a large part of the attention. Even though many siblings of children with autism try to understand the need their brother or sister has for the added attention, feelings of jealousy, depression, anger and resentment often arise.

This was the case in my family prior to the creation of We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym. My son Gabriel, who has autism, was receiving therapy from professionals as well as utilizing a sensory gym I had set up in my own home. Prior to the in-home gym, Gabriel would receive the lion’s share of attention while my daughter Sophia often stood by and missed out on some of her own activities. Even though Sophia tried hard to understand, she stated on more than one occasion, “I wish I had autism.” This broke my heart as I immediately knew this was her way of letting me know she felt left out and alone.

I want both of my children to feel that they are perfect the way they are, which inspired me to create an in-home gym full of fun, sensory equipment for Gabriel to improve his own skills but to also give Sophia a place where she can play with her brother and friends. It wasn’t quite everything Sophia needed, but it was a step in the right direction and drove me to create and found a gym that changed my family’s lives for the better, We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym.
We Rock the Spectrum not only allows children to play together, but offers a place where play dates can be arranged for a group. We did this early on with Sophia and Gabriel. He would get his necessary therapy in the gym, and she would be able to feel like a kid again and play with her friends.

Because the gym is monitored, safe, and regulated by the dynamic staff, children can make their own play dates with their own friends from school, camp, or other social groups and meet to play and have a great time. With the option to set up play dates for your children and their friends, parents no longer have to worry about telling their typically developing children they cannot have a play date because of a therapy need of their sibling with autism.

By having the ability to play together at We Rock the Spectrum, families with children who fall into both categories now have the ability to say “yes” much more often than ever before, allowing all children to play, have fun, and feel important. Benefiting the entire family, We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym helps to create a more positive dynamic at home and allows children who are typically developing to feel they are receiving similar attention as their sibling with autism.

My Brother Rocks the Spectrum

My Brother Rocks the Spectrum Foundation’s mission is to assist families who need additional financial assistance for the therapy and care of their children with special needs to receive the support they deserve.

My Brother Rocks the Spectrum Foundation was created in honor of Sophia, my daughter who rocks every single day. Sophia has watched as her brother Gabriel has grown and developed from the time he was diagnosed with autism to how capable he is today. Not only have Sophia and Gabriel been the inspiration for my creation of We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym, but Sophia has become a young therapist in her own right. It wasn’t always easy, but her curiosity to learn, determination to assist her brother, and desire to help others has led her to have a positive influence on many of the children at We Rock the Spectrum. Over and over again, we see children who are typically developing assisting their friends and siblings who have special needs, a dynamic that is allowed to foster and grow in our gyms by having an inclusive philosophy and gyms full of amazing parents and staff. Here is what Sophia had to say: “I feel great because I can help my brother and I can help other kids, even kids with Down Syndrome. I am not a Junior Helper any more, I am now a Coach.”

The foundation helps to fund a variety of activities at the gym for families who qualify and need the assistance, including monthly memberships and equipment. The foundation also helps families finance the personal aide some children with special needs require in order to attend a camp or activities at the gym. As the cost for a full-time or part-time aide for a child can become extremely expensive, the foundation is able to help defer some of these costs in order to allow all children to experience the benefits found at the gym through camps and play time.

Through both the We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym and My Brother Rocks the Spectrum Foundation, all children, whether suffering developmental disabilities or not, are able to take full advantage of the fantastic, specially designed equipment, open play area, arts and crafts section and come away with a feeling of peace, happiness and accomplishment!

7 Ways We Rock the Spectrum Helps Children with ADHD

We created the We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym (WRTS) franchise with a unique purpose: to provide children with autism and other special needs an inclusive play environment they could enjoy with their peers. At WRTS, children are able to take advantage of sensory play equipment in order to grow and develop the skills they will need later in life. Our inclusive philosophy allows children of all ability levels to play and grow together.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the many conditions where WRTS can help children overcome challenges. Children with ADHD have trouble focusing and often times act without thinking. ADHD symptoms can range widely. These include:

  • Difficulty paying attention to details and tendency to make careless mistakes in school or other activities which produces work that is often messy and careless
  • Easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli, frequently interrupting ongoing tasks to attend to trivial noises or events that are usually ignored by others
  • Inability to sustain attention on tasks or activities
  • Difficulty finishing schoolwork or paperwork or performing tasks that require concentration
  • Frequent shifts from one uncompleted activity to another
  • Forgetfulness in daily activities (for example, missing appointments, forgetting to bring lunch)
  • Failure to complete tasks such as homework or chores
  • Frequent shifts in conversation, not listening to others, not keeping one’s mind on conversations, and not following details or rules of activities in social situations

“Children with ADHD have a hard time self-stimulating,” says Jess Lofland, owner of We Rock the Spectrum ~ Woodland Hills. “This is why the activities inside We Rock the Spectrum are so beneficial to children with ADHD. The safe, stimulating environment gives them what they cannot give themselves – a real focus. The end result is a feeling of capability that will lead to a healthier development.”

We Rock the Spectrum helps children with ADHD in a variety of ways. We’ve listed seven of these below, with an added bonus because we love you ;-)

 

 

1. Body Regulation Assistance
WRTS assists children with ADHD by helping them with body regulation assistance from the sensory equipment. The sensory equipment at WRTS is specially designed to aid children in their development. Children with all types of issues are able to positively react and grow from the use of this sensory equipment.

2. Break from School
Having a release from work after school gives these children the release their bodies need in order to focus and regulate themselves. Before starting their homework, a trip to the gym helps children with ADHD better focus later on. With the after school programs held at WRTS, children can come to the gym and enjoy some play time before diving back into their studies.

3. Compliments Occupational Therapy
Our sensory equipment is meant to compliment Occupational Therapy, not replace it. The sensory equipment offers challenges that can be left out from other therapy and helps stimulate a child’s brain and assists them in overcoming ADHD, giving parents an option that can be more beneficial in the long run than medication. The equipment offers a highly stimulating environment where focus is required. This causes the child with ADHD to narrow their focus and work to figure out various pieces of equipment on their own.

4. Social Skills Enhancement
The fourth way WRTS helps children with ADHD is to assist them with their social skills. Many times we see children with ADHD have trouble making friends or keeping them. With our inclusive approach and a dynamic staff that carries out our philosophy inside every gym, children are able to learn appropriate behaviors that can aid them in making friends while at the gym. These behaviors frequently extend to the school environment, where an increase in friends is also common.

5. Provides a Community for Children and Parents
WRTS is a community for all kids. Our inclusive approach helps children make friends with their peers and our gym becomes a place where friends can congregate together. The same is true with parents. Parents with children diagnosed with ADHD can often feel aligned or left out (which is the case with many parents whose children have been diagnosed with a disorder) and the team and parents of WRTS make up a fantastic support network of like-minded adults who have the goal of assisting their children.

6. The Comfort of “Fidget Toys”
Many children with ADHD, regardless of the severity, can benefit from having a comfort toy they can hold and maneuver in their hands while at school or at home. This helps them remain calm and focused while feeling secure and allows the skills they learn at WRTS to translate to the school environment. We supply an assortment of these toys in each We Rock the Spectrum for this very reason. The use of “fidget toys” offers the necessary distraction for the body while their minds hone in on what is being asked and instructed.

7. A Focused Approach to Creativity
The Arts and Crafts area of WRTS allows children to have a creative outlet and the ability to decompress while staying focused on the item they are creating. Allowing their hands to work and create while their mind does the guiding aids children with ADHD in their ability to focus, along with giving them a unique and new activity to participate in.

BONUS: The Guidance of the WRTS Staff
When the staff notices a child spending a great deal of time on only one activity they work to persuade them to try other things, which helps their minds continually adapt and experience stimulation from this change in activities. Our staff is always monitoring the activities going on inside the gym and will work with children that need the extra attention to grow. This helps children to be allowed to experience a variety of social interactions and which helps to meet the needs of the children with ADHD.

In conclusion, when children are provided with the stimulation from We Rock the Spectrum that they cannot get themselves, they begin to grow. This positive experience makes them feel able and capable in ways they might not feel in other social situations. A confidence is developed as a routine of success is established, and there is a real improvement in a child’s self-esteem.

Do you have a child with ADHD? What other benefits have you seen We Rock the Spectrum provide?  We’d love to hear from you.  Give us a call at 818-996-6620 or email us at info@wrtsfranchise.com.

We Rock the Spectrum is for All Parents!

The team at We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym offers a long list of activities for special needs children to participate in and enjoy with their typically developing peers. This allows parents of special needs children to have a place to take all their children and know they won’t be separated, but instead offered the opportunity to play, grow and develop together. The We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym has a ton of equipment and activities to do with special needs children including sensory-based gym equipment and strength improving equipment as well.

As a result of playing and participating in activities for special needs children offered by We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym, children will be able to improve their attention span, on task behavior, coordination, poster, motor planning, muscle tone, and motor development. This all takes place while the kids are playing and being fully active inside the gym. With a whole list and range of great play equipment to give the staff and parents plenty of activities to do with special needs children and children that are typically developing.

Some of the biggest differences between traditional indoor play gyms and the gym at We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym are the unique style of equipment to use. Most indoor play gyms don’t have the right equipment in place for special needs children. The We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym offers the first gym of its type for children to take advantage of regardless of skill or development level.

The specialized equipment, sensory based toys, arts and crafts area and programs that are set up for kids of all ability levels are designed and perfected to help all children grow and develop, especially children who have special needs. Take a look at what is offered at We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym and find out how they can help your children grow, develop and most of all have fun.

Birthday Parties at We Rock The Spectrum are For All Kids!

Birthday parties are getting bigger and bigger each year with parents trying to find a great way to celebrate the special day for their children. If you are looking for great ideas for kids birthday parties you should check out the facilities at the We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym. Their facility offers four different birthday party packages to choose from in order to celebrate your child’s special day.

The packages offered at We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym start with a package that does not offer any staff assistance, but simply the use of the facility leaving you responsible for the cleanup and works its way up to a fully staffed party where all the children take home some party favors. So far this sounds like a typical party that can be held at a restaurant, club or party hall, but the biggest difference is the staff and facility.

Any party at We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym offers the full use of the equipment included in the gym except for the zip line. This means the party of children can utilize the swings, climbing structures, crash mats and pillows, tunnels, arts and crafts area and small sensory based toys. Kids are able to let loose and be kids during any party at the gym. A party with the staff of We Rock The Spectrum Gym will be even more fun than one without and offers you the opportunity to really enjoy the party without having to be bothered with cleanup and hosting.
As a gym that specializes in helping kids of all ability levels to develop the gym offers a birthday party option that even caters to children of special needs. Let your children have a great time with a party at We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym regardless of their ability, and watch them and the whole party have a great time and make lasting memories.

Fun Activities for Kids with Autism at WRTS

By partnering with many non-profits and companies that are associated with and fully committed to helping children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the staff at We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym continues to be the leader in the development of children on the Spectrum. Their use of unique and fun equipment, toys, creative activities, and classes has made them a stand out and destination for parents of children on the Spectrum to help children grow and develop beyond the parents’ imagination.

Not only does the We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym team offer programs for children on the Spectrum, but they advertise and fully believe in being an inclusive gym for all kids to enjoy and through this have become a great place for parents to bring their children regardless of their development or ability. By offering programs that begin to work on child development from as early an age as twelve months old, the team helps to begin and keep the growth going and can do so for kids up through age eighteen as well.

The We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym offers a ton of great equipment such as climbing structures, crash mats and pillow, tunnels, swings, sensory toys, and even an arts and crafts area all designed for kids to play and enjoy while they develop. That is truly the key to child development regardless of ability, making it fun while they learn and the children will retain the development better and even want to come back for more and this team really gets and gives that message every single day. With an awesome staff of enthusiastic and caring professionals no parent can ever go wrong by choosing the We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym team. In fact once a family has decided to start attending the gym the only regret they have is not doing so sooner.