We get a lot of questions at SenseAbility Gym – about our open gym, our classes and how we run as a nonprofit. Hopefully these will answer some of those questions. As always, call us at 508-381-1231 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have.
What does open gym mean? Our open gym is for play time in our indoor, sensory friendly gym space. It’s an unstructured time for parents and kids to play and interact together on equipment familiar from school or private occupational therapy sessions. Parents or caregivers must stay with their kids – we are not a drop off facility. The goal is to create a fun and safe environment for special needs families to play together.
What do you mean when you say safe sensory play? All of our equipment was purchased with the idea of recreating private occupational therapy clinic space. Many children with special needs have sensory processing issues – meaning their bodies interpret the world in a different way. Some kids need to “smash and crash” to make their bodies feel better, so we have mats on the walls and a padded ball pit and soft blocks at the end of our slide. Some kids like to be in constant motion, so we have two giant swings with mats underneath. Some kids prefer quieter spaces to calm their bodies down, so we have a quiet sensory room with a Yogibo and a bubble tube and we keep the lights low. By playing and experimenting with the different equipment in our space, parents and kids learn what helps them feel better in a safe accepting environment.
What is the cost per visit? Are siblings welcome? Do I need to call ahead before coming in? Cost per visit is $10/child, additional children are $5/each. There is no charge for adults. Siblings are absolutely welcome – in fact we encourage it. The goal is to create a space where the whole family can play together. Calling ahead is not required although we do recommend it if it’s your first time visiting. We also recommend it during school vacation times as well, as sometimes it gets busy during those weeks.
Why do you split up your gym hours? What if my family has one child in one age group and one child in another? We split up our times to keep the area safe for all age groups. We don’t want to have a two year old come in to play when the room is filled with 12 year olds. If your family has children in both age groups, give us a call and we can help you figure out which time is best for you to all come in together. Please call us with any questions about our age groupings and what would work best for your child.
Does my child need to have an actual diagnosis or be on an IEP to come to your space? No. Our space is designed for any child who has sensory processing difficulties. We don’t ask to see a diagnosis or an IEP at the door. Our facility is open to everyone. Many times, parents know their child needs something different than a regular play space but they don’t know why. If you aren’t sure if our gym is right for your family, we encourage you to come visit ahead of time and chat with us.
Are you therapists? Will you structure the gym time for my child? No. Alysia and Tina (and our volunteers) are there to support you while you play. We can instruct you on how to use all the equipment and talk with you on how the equipment has helped our kids. We do run classes and sensory based clinics that are taught by special education professionals and occupational therapists. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about those classes.
How does your nonprofit work? We are reliant on donations, grants and our visit/membership fees to keep us open. 100% of all the money that comes in goes directly back into the operation and programming for the gym. Alysia and Tina do not take any salary. We are a 501(c)3 recognized charity.
Can we have my child’s birthday party at the gym? Of course! Call us for details on how to book a private party. We also offer private play date times so if you have a group of families that would like to meet at a time that is just for you, we can set that up. We also do school field trips, have special times just for families who homeschool and private time for therapists to meet with clients.