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Edwardsville library preps for kickoff of Summer Reading Program

EDWARDSVILLE — The staff at the Edwardsville Public Library will celebrate the start of its Summer Reading Program, “It’s Showtime at Your Library” with its annual kickoff party on Wednesday.

The celebration takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. in Edwardsville’s City Park, directly outside the library.

“As usual, there will be a lot to do and fun to be had,” Edwardsville Public Library Youth Services coordinator Kristen Reno.

She said the Edwardsville Library Friends (ELFs), who sponsor events and prizes offered during the summer, will also hold a Children’s Book Sale.

“We will be visited by the Ice Sister Princesses of Brittain’s Princess Parties, and they are excited to meet and take photos with the kids in attendance,” Reno added.

Community neighbors such as Watershed Nature Center, Edwardsville Children’s Museum, YMCA, and We Rock the Spectrum, will bring games and activities for families to try.

“The Bubble Bus is joining us again this year to entertain with music and bubbles of all shapes and sizes. Chef Shoppe will be donating popcorn for snacking, and everyone who attends the party will get a free ice cream treat from the Cool Times ice cream truck, thanks again to the ELFs,” Reno said.

Visitors can stop by the library’s information table at the party to learn more about registering for the Summer Reading Challenge which will be offered online this year through Beanstack. From Beanstack, registrants can log all of their reading, earn badges, and keep track of all of their summer activities.

The library also offers a reading challenge for adults.

“It’s a fun way to work books into your summer activities and earn the chance to win great prizes,” she said.

The Edwardsville Library’s Summer Reading Program officially begins May 28 and ends July 31. For more information, visit the library or check out its website at www.edwardsvillelibrary.org.

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Intergenerational music classes will be available in Edwardsville – RiverBender.com

EDWARDSVILLE/COLLINSVILLE – St. John’s Community Care and We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym is partnering to host Intergenerational music classes. Intergenerational Music is the bringing together of children and the elderly for an enjoyable session of fun and music resulting in bridging the ages.

St. John’s Community Care is a faith-based organization offering help to people challenged by aging and disabilities by offering aging and dementia care support services and resources in the river bend community since 1985.

We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gyms has been in Edwardsville a little over a year and was founded to provide a place for children of all ability levels to play and grow together. Franchise owner, Jennifer Range said the thought of offering Intergenerational Music Classes came to her when she saw a senior gentleman getting off a van in front of St. John’s Community Care’s Edwardsville Day Program facility, which is next store to Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym. She said he looked so sad, which started her thinking of ways to brighten his day. She’d heard of music therapy classes for the elderly and specifically remembered seeing something about Intergenerational Music on Facebook.

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Cardinals raise awareness about autism at Saturday game – KSDK 5

Saturday was a great day for spreading Autism Awareness.

It was Autism Awareness Day at Busch Stadium.

Scott Range, 24, got to throw the first pitch. He has Autism. He was also his mother’s inspiration for opening ‘We Rock the Spectrum’ in Edwardsville. Scott’s family watched him throw the first pitch on the field today.

Scott’s mother, Jennifer Range, was moved by the event.

Autism Speaks’ Kansas City-St. Louis executive director, Megan Hoffman, told 5 On Your Side that she, too, was moved by the Autism Awareness Day at Busch Stadium.

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This indoor playground aims to help kids on the autism spectrum – BND Magazine

Inspired by her 23-year-old son who has autism, Jennifer Range recently opened We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym in Edwardsville, and word — and smiles — are spreading.

“There are not a lot of services available to adults with special needs, so we were looking for a business that we could have that I could run the business, and (my son) Scott could come to work with me so that we could take care of him,” said Range, who lives in Highland with her husband Mike.

After hearing about the indoor playground franchise on Facebook, Range, 49, said she was intrigued and had to see one for herself.

“We went to visit the one in Fenton, Missouri, and I just knew we needed to bring it to this side of the river,” Range said.

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“We Rock the Spectrum” gym for children with autism opens in Metro East – KMOV 4

A new resource for children with autism just opened its doors in the Metro East.

“We Rock the Spectrum” gym held their grand opening in Edwardsville Saturday afternoon.

The indoor play center’s located on Century Drive right off Route 157 in Illinois.

The facility features all sorts of special equipment that aids autistic children with their developmental growth.

The owners said the idea is also meant to make everyone feel included.

“All kids can play together and that’s the way a lot of kids learn their best is when they’re playing next to a peer,” said owner Jennifer Range.

The special needs indoor play center is the first of its kind in Illinois but the second in the St. Louis area. The first facility opened in Fenton last year.

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WRTS Edwardsville/ Special Needs/ Autism

Gym targets kids with special needs – The Intelligencer

We Rock the Spectrum, a new children’s gym that serves kids with autism and special needs, will be holding a grand opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 24.

The event is open to the public, and families with children from all walks of life are invited to attend.  Admission is $12 per child, and 20 percent of the proceeds will go to the My Brother Rocks the Spectrum Foundation.

Jennifer Range, the owner of the new We Rock the Spectrum, located at 1015 Century Drive in Edwardsville, has been a special education teacher for the past 12 years at Edwardsville High School.  Together with her husband, Mike, they have four children – James, Scott, Joseph, and Brigid.

Their second child Scott, who is now 23, was first diagnosed with autism just before his third birthday.  He had been attending a program in Mascoutah three days a week which Jennifer pointed out is a program parents pay for in Illinois.  “In Illinois there’s not a lot of opportunities for adults with disabilities,” Jennifer said.

Since there’s also not a lot of funding in Illinois for parents of children who have disabilities, Jennifer was always seeking options and opportunities for Scott.  That’s when We Rock the Spectrum entered the picture.

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My Brother Rocks The Spectrum Foundation

My Brother Rocks The Spectrum Foundation is our 501(c)3 (tax id #46-4393642) non-profit organization that helps families receive the funding they need to participate in our social skills/activity groups, classes, camps and more. This allows children to be able to use the specialized sensory swings and activities WRTS offers. We offer these groups to children and young adults from 2 to 18yrs of age.

Our mission is to provide all children with any ability or disability a place they can build friendships, keep active and learn to use their energy in their bodies in a productive environment. WRTS uses its equipment and activities to integrate children in this environment also through their Open Play and Break Time programs. We also receive funding from other state programs like the Regional Center, that provide one to one attendant care and other specialized services required to ensure all children can find the benefits of healthy play.

All funds donated to MBRTS are distributed to all of the WRTS locations Nationwide to complete our mission of giving families a community and,  “finally a place where you never have to say I’m sorry.”

Visit our website!

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WRTS 2014 Walk Now For Autism Speaks Los Angeles

“Being the Grand Club Sponsors for Walk Now for Autism Speaks Los Angeles was one of the most incredible days of my life!” says founder Dina Kimmel.We stood in front of over 60 thousand people and know now more than ever that when a WRTS is opening, we are making a difference in the world and giving a home to so many families. “Finally a place where you never have to say I’m sorry” is a need in all communities says Kimmel. A big thank you to Kathleen Lantos Photography as we now get to relive one of the most incredible days in WRTS history! Check out this amazing video above, and see what WRTS and Autism Awareness is all about…

WRTS Edwardsville/ Friends/ Blog

How Siblings of Children with Autism are Affected

How Siblings of Children with Autism are Affected

As parents of children with Autism, we understand they require specialized care and attention. Depending upon which part of the spectrum a child falls under, the extent of the support will vary from helping them accomplish daily tasks to needing assisted care on a continual basis. Regardless of the extent of the therapy solutions, parents try anything and everything to give their children the support they need to reach their full potential.

But what about the siblings of the children with autism?

Just like how parents’ lives change when they discover their child has autism, their other children are also affected but in a much different way. Siblings have to stand by and watch, feeling helpless as their beloved brother or sister is affected by a disorder they will not fully understand until later in life. This has the potential to cause anxiety and difficulty in expressing emotions, which can lead to the siblings lashing out at their parents or brother and sister.

Parents who have children that fall into these categories are often at a loss as to how they should address the problems their children are facing. On one hand, they know their child with autism needs the added attention and Occupational, Behavioral, or Speech therapy required. On the other hand, their neurotypical children are feeling neglected and possibly left out – which is also tough on the parents.

While the sibling who has autism is receiving the care and attention they need from therapy, the neurotypical siblings finds themselves watching, almost in the shadows, while the other child receives a large part of the attention. Even though many siblings of children with autism try to understand the need their brother or sister has for the added attention, feelings of jealousy, depression, anger and resentment often arise.

This was the case in my family prior to the creation of We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym. My son Gabriel, who has autism, was receiving therapy from professionals as well as utilizing a sensory gym I had set up in my own home. Prior to the in-home gym, Gabriel would receive the lion’s share of attention while my daughter Sophia often stood by and missed out on some of her own activities. Even though Sophia tried hard to understand, she stated on more than one occasion, “I wish I had autism.” This broke my heart as I immediately knew this was her way of letting me know she felt left out and alone.

I want both of my children to feel that they are perfect the way they are, which inspired me to create an in-home gym full of fun, sensory equipment for Gabriel to improve his own skills but to also give Sophia a place where she can play with her brother and friends. It wasn’t quite everything Sophia needed, but it was a step in the right direction and drove me to create and found a gym that changed my family’s lives for the better, We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym.
We Rock the Spectrum not only allows children to play together, but offers a place where play dates can be arranged for a group. We did this early on with Sophia and Gabriel. He would get his necessary therapy in the gym, and she would be able to feel like a kid again and play with her friends.

Because the gym is monitored, safe, and regulated by the dynamic staff, children can make their own play dates with their own friends from school, camp, or other social groups and meet to play and have a great time. With the option to set up play dates for your children and their friends, parents no longer have to worry about telling their typically developing children they cannot have a play date because of a therapy need of their sibling with autism.

By having the ability to play together at We Rock the Spectrum, families with children who fall into both categories now have the ability to say “yes” much more often than ever before, allowing all children to play, have fun, and feel important. Benefiting the entire family, We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym helps to create a more positive dynamic at home and allows children who are typically developing to feel they are receiving similar attention as their sibling with autism.

My Brother Rocks the Spectrum

My Brother Rocks the Spectrum Foundation’s mission is to assist families who need additional financial assistance for the therapy and care of their children with special needs to receive the support they deserve.

My Brother Rocks the Spectrum Foundation was created in honor of Sophia, my daughter who rocks every single day. Sophia has watched as her brother Gabriel has grown and developed from the time he was diagnosed with autism to how capable he is today. Not only have Sophia and Gabriel been the inspiration for my creation of We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym, but Sophia has become a young therapist in her own right. It wasn’t always easy, but her curiosity to learn, determination to assist her brother, and desire to help others has led her to have a positive influence on many of the children at We Rock the Spectrum. Over and over again, we see children who are typically developing assisting their friends and siblings who have special needs, a dynamic that is allowed to foster and grow in our gyms by having an inclusive philosophy and gyms full of amazing parents and staff. Here is what Sophia had to say: “I feel great because I can help my brother and I can help other kids, even kids with Down Syndrome. I am not a Junior Helper any more, I am now a Coach.”

The foundation helps to fund a variety of activities at the gym for families who qualify and need the assistance, including monthly memberships and equipment. The foundation also helps families finance the personal aide some children with special needs require in order to attend a camp or activities at the gym. As the cost for a full-time or part-time aide for a child can become extremely expensive, the foundation is able to help defer some of these costs in order to allow all children to experience the benefits found at the gym through camps and play time.

Through both the We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym and My Brother Rocks the Spectrum Foundation, all children, whether suffering developmental disabilities or not, are able to take full advantage of the fantastic, specially designed equipment, open play area, arts and crafts section and come away with a feeling of peace, happiness and accomplishment!

WRTS Edwardsville/ Sensory Safe Equipment/ Boy Hanging

7 Ways We Rock the Spectrum Helps Children with ADHD

We created the We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym (WRTS) franchise with a unique purpose: to provide children with autism and other special needs an inclusive play environment they could enjoy with their peers. At WRTS, children are able to take advantage of sensory play equipment in order to grow and develop the skills they will need later in life. Our inclusive philosophy allows children of all ability levels to play and grow together.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the many conditions where WRTS can help children overcome challenges. Children with ADHD have trouble focusing and often times act without thinking. ADHD symptoms can range widely. These include:

  • Difficulty paying attention to details and tendency to make careless mistakes in school or other activities which produces work that is often messy and careless
  • Easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli, frequently interrupting ongoing tasks to attend to trivial noises or events that are usually ignored by others
  • Inability to sustain attention on tasks or activities
  • Difficulty finishing schoolwork or paperwork or performing tasks that require concentration
  • Frequent shifts from one uncompleted activity to another
  • Forgetfulness in daily activities (for example, missing appointments, forgetting to bring lunch)
  • Failure to complete tasks such as homework or chores
  • Frequent shifts in conversation, not listening to others, not keeping one’s mind on conversations, and not following details or rules of activities in social situations

“Children with ADHD have a hard time self-stimulating,” says Jess Lofland, owner of We Rock the Spectrum ~ Woodland Hills. “This is why the activities inside We Rock the Spectrum are so beneficial to children with ADHD. The safe, stimulating environment gives them what they cannot give themselves – a real focus. The end result is a feeling of capability that will lead to a healthier development.”

We Rock the Spectrum helps children with ADHD in a variety of ways. We’ve listed seven of these below, with an added bonus because we love you ;-)

 

 

1. Body Regulation Assistance
WRTS assists children with ADHD by helping them with body regulation assistance from the sensory equipment. The sensory equipment at WRTS is specially designed to aid children in their development. Children with all types of issues are able to positively react and grow from the use of this sensory equipment.

2. Break from School
Having a release from work after school gives these children the release their bodies need in order to focus and regulate themselves. Before starting their homework, a trip to the gym helps children with ADHD better focus later on. With the after school programs held at WRTS, children can come to the gym and enjoy some play time before diving back into their studies.

3. Compliments Occupational Therapy
Our sensory equipment is meant to compliment Occupational Therapy, not replace it. The sensory equipment offers challenges that can be left out from other therapy and helps stimulate a child’s brain and assists them in overcoming ADHD, giving parents an option that can be more beneficial in the long run than medication. The equipment offers a highly stimulating environment where focus is required. This causes the child with ADHD to narrow their focus and work to figure out various pieces of equipment on their own.

4. Social Skills Enhancement
The fourth way WRTS helps children with ADHD is to assist them with their social skills. Many times we see children with ADHD have trouble making friends or keeping them. With our inclusive approach and a dynamic staff that carries out our philosophy inside every gym, children are able to learn appropriate behaviors that can aid them in making friends while at the gym. These behaviors frequently extend to the school environment, where an increase in friends is also common.

5. Provides a Community for Children and Parents
WRTS is a community for all kids. Our inclusive approach helps children make friends with their peers and our gym becomes a place where friends can congregate together. The same is true with parents. Parents with children diagnosed with ADHD can often feel aligned or left out (which is the case with many parents whose children have been diagnosed with a disorder) and the team and parents of WRTS make up a fantastic support network of like-minded adults who have the goal of assisting their children.

6. The Comfort of “Fidget Toys”
Many children with ADHD, regardless of the severity, can benefit from having a comfort toy they can hold and maneuver in their hands while at school or at home. This helps them remain calm and focused while feeling secure and allows the skills they learn at WRTS to translate to the school environment. We supply an assortment of these toys in each We Rock the Spectrum for this very reason. The use of “fidget toys” offers the necessary distraction for the body while their minds hone in on what is being asked and instructed.

7. A Focused Approach to Creativity
The Arts and Crafts area of WRTS allows children to have a creative outlet and the ability to decompress while staying focused on the item they are creating. Allowing their hands to work and create while their mind does the guiding aids children with ADHD in their ability to focus, along with giving them a unique and new activity to participate in.

BONUS: The Guidance of the WRTS Staff
When the staff notices a child spending a great deal of time on only one activity they work to persuade them to try other things, which helps their minds continually adapt and experience stimulation from this change in activities. Our staff is always monitoring the activities going on inside the gym and will work with children that need the extra attention to grow. This helps children to be allowed to experience a variety of social interactions and which helps to meet the needs of the children with ADHD.

In conclusion, when children are provided with the stimulation from We Rock the Spectrum that they cannot get themselves, they begin to grow. This positive experience makes them feel able and capable in ways they might not feel in other social situations. A confidence is developed as a routine of success is established, and there is a real improvement in a child’s self-esteem.

Do you have a child with ADHD? What other benefits have you seen We Rock the Spectrum provide?  We’d love to hear from you.  Give us a call at 818-996-6620 or email us at info@wrtsfranchise.com.

1015 Century Dr, Edwardsville, IL 62025
618-307-5834

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