PENDLETON — A new fitness center scheduled to open in Pendleton on Monday, Dec. 14 will be the first with a sensory certification in Indiana, according to Sensory City.
The managers, gymnastics staff, and childcare staff at Community Sports and Wellness will be certified in sensory awareness and solutions to help accommodate adults, youth, and children with sensory needs such as autism, SPD, ADHD, down syndrome, PTSD, and dementia through a Boston-based nonprofit called Sensory City.
According to Sensory City, Community Sports and Wellness will be the first fitness center to be "Sensory Friendly Certified" in the Midwest. The organization says the center has an "autism-friendly" concept that is dedicated to helping families and children with disabilities.
"This autism-friendly concept is addressing the many common needs that individuals and families affected by ASD or SPD (Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder) face when wanting to join a wellness/fitness center. For the first time, special needs families can join a gym and feel accepted and included knowing Community Sports and Wellness sees them, cares about them, and welcomes them," Sensory City said in a release.
The childcare area of the fitness center will be equipped with bean bag chairs, "sensory tents," texture tiles, a padded area, and a sensory kit that contains special toys and items. In the near future, the center will also offer sensory classes that can help individuals better cater to people with disabilities.
“I’m so happy that Community Sports and Wellness values inclusion and accessibility." Kimberly Buonavolanto, the Director of Development for Sensory City, said in a release. "They truly understand what it means to meet the needs of those with less visible, but not less important disabilities. We are thrilled to help them accomplish this and watch them be at the forefront of this movement in the sports and wellness industry."
“We want our facility to be a second home for all people and that includes those with special needs who are often times overlooked because of their invisible disabilities," Katie Wangler, the Director of Membership at Community Sports and Wellness, said. "We look forward to welcoming everyone and doing whatever we can to ensure an inclusive experience for all.”