When We Rock the Spectrum Glendale first opened its doors, we had families every day that walked in and found a place they felt happy to have their kids play. They felt safe, and comfortable in our clean, creative, and super fun space. Families with kids of all different ages could find something to do in the gym. Moms of little ones with and without special needs found our gym’s swings, trampoline, monkey bars and especially the zip line more enjoyable than any other indoor play space they had ever been. We heard everyday that our We Rock in Glendale CA was a cool and an awesome place to play.
We love being a gym for ALL kids, but it is especially gratifying when our kids with Sensory Processing Disorder use our equipment in a purposeful way and benefit from it developmentally. Having been open two and half years now, we have seen some significant progress with many of our customers who frequent the gym. One such little boy has had a profound impact on me. His unique and appropriate name is Lyric. The word is defined as “expresses deep personal feelings in a way that is like a song”, and anyone who has been in our gym on a weekday afternoon has experienced all that is Lyric.
His single, working mom found our gym to be the perfect solution for her son after preschool to help him “get out” some of his extra energy. He was diagnosed on the autism spectrum but like the saying goes, if you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism”. Well working in the field of special needs for almost 25 years, I have met a lot of children on the spectrum but none like Lyric.
My heart went out to him immediately. In some ways he reminded me of my own son 10 years ago, but Lyric quickly gained skills that my son still has not. His progress was so significant many have commented that they can’t believe he is the same child as two years ago. His Regional Center service coordinator held his annual IPP, (Individualized Personal Plan) in our gym and she was extremely impressed saying she would definitely be recommending our gym to other families on her case load.
When Lyric first came in to play at We Rock The Spectrum Glendale, he hardly spoke, and when he did, it was usually repeating something he had heard someone else say. He had classic “Echolalia” and he mostly ran around the gym not sure what to do, playing with whatever caught his attention as he whizzed by, but only for a moment before he was on to the next thing. He didn’t listen well or follow directions. He never looked us in the eye and had an extremely hard time sitting still to eat a snack. Last fall he celebrated his 5th birthday with us at the gym.
He had been relentlessly asking his mom everyday she picked him up, to buy him the mermaid role play costume. Sure enough on the day of his party his wish came true! Together we celebrated Lyric in all his glory!
Lyric now loves everything in the gym, and we just adore having him there! He uses all of the equipment, toys, instruments, books, art supplies, as well as plays creativiley with dress up and our puppet theatre. He has made friends and welcomes customers when they enter the gym. He has conversations, back and forth and although he still repeats some, it has turned into quite a comedy routine as he can imitate character voices perfectly. If not looking at him, I would swear he was a child from the UK when I hear him talking as Peppa Pig. He may have quite a career some day in entertainment, but if not, one thing I know for sure about Lyric is his potential is limitless! He not only now sits to eat his snack but also participates in making it; peeling his own oranges, opening packages and cutting up some of his own food. He has learned to share and take turns, both which were extremely hard for this only child with autism and rigidity. He participates in dance, martial arts, music class, and more as he is always up for trying something new.
He will be going off to Kindergarten next week and we are excited for what the year has in store for little Lyric. One thing is for sure. His mom has made certain he has gotten what he needed to be as best prepared as he can be as he enters elementary school. We are proud to know We Rock The Spectrum Glendale has been an important part of Lyric’s success!
Rock on Lyric, keep writing your own inspirational song !!!