Rock, Roll Swing and Play, A Safe, Fun Place for Kids of All Abilities
Article by Sue Baldani
Photography by Provided
Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle
When Steven and Samantha Komarnitsky moved to Franklin last year, they were focused on opening a We Rock the Spectrum gym franchise in their new community. While previously living in California, they knew how much it meant to their family to have this special place for their son Nash, who is on the autism spectrum, and their daughter Colette (Coco).
The motto of the gym, “Finally a place where you never have to say I’m sorry!” resonates deeply with the couple. “When you have a child on the spectrum, meltdowns are bound to happen,” says Samantha. “When you’re in an environment where people are unaware, there is often judgment about the behavior and you always feel like you have to say, ‘I’m sorry.’ To find a place where you never have to explain it is life changing.” The expected opening is slated for later on this fall. WeRockTheSpectrumFranklin.com
What does We Rock the Spectrum offer parents and children?
Samantha: “It’s a place where you can bring your children and know that they are going to have an experience that is authentic to who they are. It’s a safe, fun place for children of all abilities. That was important for us, because we always felt like we had to find places that would work for Nash, but also be fun for Coco.
What is the layout of the gym, and how is the design geared towards children with autism and for those who have special needs?
Steven: We’re very mindful of every little detail from the lighting to the sound to the paint texture. We have a very large space – 5,600 square feet – which also includes an arts and crafts area, imagination stations where kids can dress up in costumes, a party/classroom area, and a cafe.
Samantha: There will be 12 main pieces of equipment in the gym, including a trampoline, a zip line, and various swings. The equipment is specifically designed to offer kids the sensory output or input they need.
How does the My Brother Rocks the Spectrum Foundation help families with children who have special needs and/or have been diagnosed with autism?
Steven: Its goal is to provide scholarships to families who may not have access to our facilities because of financial and/or transportation issues. It allows us to fundraise independently or with other businesses and nonprofits. It’s important for us to give back and help families in Middle Tennessee, but also to help other nonprofits that need a platform, a voice, and a partnership.