New sensory-friendly gym in Simpsonville aims to serve kids with autism, special needs

SIMPSONVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – There’s a new gym opening in Simpsonville, but it’s not filled with barbells and treadmills.

Rather, this gym is one that aims to include all children of all abilities.

We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym, an international franchise, announced Thursday the new location at 2607 Woodruff Road, Suite A, will have a grand opening on June 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gym’s owners says the event is open to the public and encourages families with children from all walks of life to come. Admission is $12 per child and 20% of proceeds will go to the My Brother Rocks the Spectrum foundation.

According to a press release, each franchise offers sensory-safe play for kids with autism, special needs, and neurotypical development. The gyms offer ten pieces of therapeutic equipment specifically designed to work with many sensory processing issues children on the spectrum face, while still providing all kids with the sensory-diet necessary for improved learning and neurological development. One such feature is a zip line that helps kids with vestibular sensations and sensory feedback. Beyond equipment, gyms also offer classes, day camp opportunities, arts and crafts; and more.

We Rock the Spectrum’s CEO and founder is Dina Kimmel, whose son has autism. The release says Kimmel struggled to find a safe place for both her son and daughter to play together, and she opened the first gym in Tarzana, California.

Locally, the gym owners in Simpsonville are husband-and-wife team Kimberly and Chris Tolbert. Kimberly has been an educator for nearly 25 years with teaching certifications in special education and early childhood education. She’s taught special needs students aged kindergarten through 8th grade and has also taught at the collegiate level. Meanwhile, Christopher has spent 19 years in marketing and sales roles with credentials in business management, diversity, collaboration, and corporate business practices. They are the parents of two sons, Christopher Jf. and Kaleb.

You can learn more about We Rock the Spectrum here.