“A gym for all kids” is written on the wall of one Estero family’s business. Inside, one mother helps her daughter and all Southwest Florida children with special needs reach their goals like Michelle Mirpuri, who turned five years old Tuesday.
“I asked her, ‘What do you want to do for your birthday,’ and she said she wanted to come to Spectrum, she calls it Spectrum, and she loved this place,” said Michelle’s mom, Tina Mirpuri.
The place? We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym. Just inside, the birthday princess can’t wait for mom to put her special socks on so she can hit the mat and run to her favorite piece of equipment: the zip line.
She holds on tight as the zip line carries her all the way across the room then lands her on top of a comfy cushion — pink crown still in place.
All around Michelle, children with special needs smile and play on special equipment.
“I really felt that’s what we needed in our community because we didn’t have anything of that sort,” said gym owner and manager, Vee Patel. “Especially just a safe place for kids to play and grow and learn and meet their milestones and meet their goals, to just reach their highest potential.”
Patel created this space to help children like her daughter, Zara, who uses sensory equipment to overcome developmental delays.
“I also had a chance to meet other parents that had kids on the spectrum and other disorders such as Down syndrome and cerebral palsy,” Patel said.
“It’s perfect that no one judges anyone and all the kids can play,” Mirpuri said.
Patel is taking extra steps during the pandemic, like requiring masks, temperature checks at the door and limiting playtime participants to keep her gym safe so she can keep her doors open.
“We’re trying our best and hardest every day to make sure we’re still here to help our community,” she said.