When Kelly McAllister says We Rock the Spectrum gym is open to all kids, it’s much more than a slogan. It’s a promise.
The owner of the all-inclusive kid’s gym located in Northeast Philadelphia has made it her mission to create a safe space for all children to learn, play and exercise. The gym is equipped with specially designed sensory items that are perfect for children on the autism spectrum, as well as a Calming Room, where little ones can unwind if they become overstimulated.
“We are open for any child,” says McAllister. “Truly all children enjoy the space.”
There are swings and a play area appropriate for children as young as 10 months old, an extensive toddler area and additional swings and a zipline catered to older kids, up to 12 years old. The gym is open to kids of all ages on the spectrum.
“The Calming Room has been a big hit. It’s such a nice space for kids who may get overwhelmed,” says McAllister. “It’s a nice quiet space where they can tuck away and calm down a bit. There are a lot of sensory based items in the room—a bubble tube lamp that the kids love. Also a noise machine and a projector on the wall. It’s just a cozy nice place for kids to wind down if they are overstimulated.”
The gym is open to the public for “open play” daily and is also available to book for private events, parties and classes. Families can purchase individual sessions, packages or monthly memberships.
There is a strict cleaning regiment in place—with only green products being used. Anyone who is unvaccinated is encouraged to wear a mask, however, it is not required for those with an autism diagnosis.
“We do have our vaccine cards here in the gym to share with the guests,” says McAllister, referring to the staff members’ proof of inoculation. “We do want to be careful and conscious of the fact that a lot of our customers — their immune systems aren’t the best. So we have to be extra careful.”
McAllister added that private rentals for the facility are also available, which is a good option for anyone who is still hesitant or not completely comfortable with a public setting. Either way, the gym is designed to offer opportunities for all children to play, learn and explore in a safe sensory environment.
“This is something that the community needs. There is such a passion for the business and what it does for the children. We have a soft spot for the community here,” says McAllister, whose family has roots in Parkwood. “Having three young children myself, this is a way I could give back and truly be passionate about it.”
For information, visit werockthespectrumnortheastphilly.com