Regular exercise has countless health benefits for all children – from stronger bodies to sharper minds and improved personal relationships. Children with special needs, comprising about 13 percent of our youth, are no different – even if their abilities are. Yet they tend to get even less exercise than their typically-developing peers. A sensory gym offers a solution for all children.
Too many children overall don’t engage in enough physical activity, according to the World Health Organization. It’s a global problem and one that is especially pronounced for children who are developmentally delayed or disabled. One study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise indicated children with disabilities get very little exercise in school – sometimes as little as 17 minutes a day.
Any physician or therapist can run through the list of all the reasons children should participate in regular physical activity throughout their lives. If they aren’t getting enough at school (which they likely aren’t, a point you may want to inquire about at your child’s next IEP meeting), we need to ensure they’re getting it elsewhere.
Why Our Fort Myers Sensory Gym is a Game-Changer
Unlike a typical fitness gym or even a playground, a sensory gym is designed specifically to support child development for individuals with a wide range of capabilities – physical, intellectual and emotional.
At We Rock The Spectrum, we use bright colors and soft-surface flooring. We have many kinds of play equipment, including covered swings, slides, ball pits, a zip line, tunnels, tents, a trampoline and many other kid-friendly activities. The space can be utilized both in open play and in structured therapy sessions or classes.
To address insufficient exercise among children with disabilities, we first need to understand why it’s happening. One of the most common reasons is that many schools, activity centers, day cares and camps simply aren’t equipped to allow a child with different needs to safely experience it. By having lots of different equipment and activities available, a sensory gym can ensure there is something everyone can enjoy. The fact that our facility is indoors makes it an even better option, especially in the extreme heat of Florida summers.
Another reason kids don’t get as much free time exercise is due to parental anxiety knowing their child is prone to scene-causing, disruptive sensory issues, meltdowns and tantrums. That can keep them from many of the kid-friendly gyms and activity centers their child might otherwise love. They come to our Fort Myers sensory gym because they know they are in a safe place. Our staff understands. Other parents here understand. And perhaps most importantly, many of the other kids here understand too.
It’s our goal to foster a stress-free environment where kids can feel secure, exert their energy and enhance their physical, cognitive and social skills – all at their own pace.
Many parents note a marked difference in their child when they come to play with us regularly. A big part of that has to do with the fact that sensory gyms support the kind of development they’re already working on in speech, occupational, physical and ABA therapies. When they see other kids playing in an environment that’s safe and friendly, they want to join in! We offer not only the opportunity, but the motivation to get moving.
Finally, by supporting an inclusive environment, one where children of all ages and abilities are welcome, we’re raising awareness and increasing acceptance.
Contact us to learn more about our sensory gym for kids in Fort Myers by calling (239) 362-3378 or writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Physical Activity Facts, CDC Healthy Schools
More Blog Entries:
Our ROCKIN’ Equipment – The Swings, Feb. 2, 2020, We Rock The Spectrum Fort Myers Sensory Gym Blog