From treadmills and cocoon swings to trampolines and ziplines, The Kids Gym in Bellevue opened its doors to a community eager for a special space for special kids.
“They were so full of joy. They loved the zipline. Everything they touched was just designed for kids with autism. [There are] a lot of other kids here as well with the same thing, so it’s nice for them to have peers like that as well.”
Among the many toys and activities are 10 pieces of sensory equipment designed to stimulate kids on the spectrum.
“Getting a couple hours here, it calms her down. At the end of the day, we bring her home, she’s calm. It’s like therapy.”
Swings are filled with different textures, and carpeted wings have a calming effect on children.
“It touched me. I caught myself wanting to cry a few times today.”
For moms like Desirae, watching her son make friends here is something she doesn’t see happen easily.
"Outside playgrounds are very challenging, and they don't understand what your kids are struggling with and they judge you for it."
A non-judgmental place, where parents simply get it.
“We come here and play, and it’s not a matter of me shifting her if she acts a certain way. It’s an understanding among parents…I don’t feel so alone anymore. I felt really, really alone before this place opened.”
A gym that’s about acceptance and fun.
“People are more nicer.”
For kids to be themselves and a community to come together.