Iowa mom builds dream gym for all children, including son with autism

Photo: KCAU

ORANGE CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — From a zipline to a trampoline, hammock swings, and tunnels, We Rock the Spectrum is a fun space to just be a kid.

But this isn’t your ordinary kids’ gym.

Filled with sensory equipment, it was built on the foundation that kids who live with special needs can have a safe and fun place to play, and feel like they are just like everybody else.

“It’s filling a need that was unmet before. Northwest Iowa is highly deficient in equipment and areas and services for kids with special needs and so this is providing that for them,” said owner Rachel Brunsting, whose son has autism.

Employees feel that everyone can get something out of this inclusive gym.

“I love it. I love it. I think it’s going to be a great benefit to the community but also for all kids, not just those who really benefit from the sensory issues,” said employee Katelyn Jansen. “It will be an amazing opportunity. I can’t wait to see what it brings.”

Even the kids who come here are stoked about this new addition to the community.

“I was amazed, really. It’s a really cool place, and there’s a lot of amazing stuff. Like, when I came here and saw the zipline, that is the first thing I did. I can’t really explain it. It’s just one word: awesome,” said gym guest Jaxon Roorda.

Roorda’s nanny came to the gym with him to confirm that this truly is a place for everyone.

“I was on the zipline, the trampoline. I’m a big kid myself so whatever he does, I’m right behind him,” said Daisha Richardson.

She says she takes Roorda to the parks around town, but there really is no other place quite like this.

“This is totally different than like anywhere else we could possibly go, because everything that he could want to do or he wants to do, he can do it here,” Richardson said. “Once more kids start coming in and are like, ‘Oh cool, we are all the same and we can play together,’ I feel like it will be really good.”

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