New sensory gym opens in Lake Charles

Updated: Dec. 7, 2017 at 11:11 PM CST
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(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It was something Katy Miller saw in Texas and knew Lake Charles needed---a sensory gym.

The former special needs teacher recently opened the city's first sensory gym.

It's a place for all children to go, have fun and not feel judged.

Karson Dietz parents describe him as a people person who loves joking around and being silly.

But Karson also has autism.

"He enjoys coming here and it helps out tremendously with his therapy," said Karson's father, Tony Dietz.

The place where Karson is having so much fun is a new gym called We Rock the Spectrum.

"A friend of mine in Houston had another friend who opened one of these gyms," said the owner, Katy Miller. "I'd never heard of it so I looked into it actually this past June."

Miller's curiosity led her to open the first sensory gym in Lake Charles. This gym provides resources and activities in an environment that benefits Karson and other children who have autism.

And though the gym's only been open for a few days, Karson's parents can see the impact it's having on him.

"Since he's come to the gym, he has talked about the gym," said Karson's stepmother, Amy Dietz. "It's been appropriate talk. On the way here he was very excited and he was speaking in complete sentences and initiating conversation, whereas we're not having to ask him questions, he was doing it on his own."

This gym has things like a trampoline, a zip line and even swing sets, but it's not just for children like Karson who have autism. It's a gym that's open for everyone.

"The gym's for every child," said Miller. "For kids of all abilities so getting everybody under one roof, interacting together having fun. I think it will get kids and other families to be accepting."

And for Miller, she hopes having a gym like this will allow children like Karson to have fun without feeling judged.

"I mean what is normal," said Miller. "To me, there is no normal so it's really just being accepting of other people who aren't just like you."

And as their logo suggests it's finally a place where you never have to say I'm sorry.

The gym isn't insurance based, but Miller says they do provide discounts and memberships.

Miller says they also partnered with a non-profit to help families who can't afford to come.

The gym is opened Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on the gym and prices, you can visit the gym's website HERE or their Facebook page HERE.

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