Gaithersburg gym welcomes children of all abilities

Maryland

GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WDVM) — A mother-daughter duo from Montgomery County is behind a new, inclusive gym for kids of all abilities.

Pam and Kristina Ackley run “We Rock The Spectrum” in Gaithersburg. They just opened up in September and outfitted their gym with accessible sensory equipment, a few cool therapy dogs, and plenty of space to be a kid.

“This is my dream because it’s inclusion, it’s not just kids with special needs, it’s working with them altogether,” said Kristina Ackley, who holds a Master’s degree in special education.

This gym was inspired by Jake, a boy with special needs Kristina helped care for as a teenager. His picture sits by the entrance to the gym.

“He unfortunately passed at a little over two years old. He couldn’t regulate his body temperature,” Kristina explained.

Six-year-old Eleanor is non-verbal, and her older sister Savinah Falzone says she sees her light up as she runs around the gym, “She likes to jump on the trampoline, look at the sliding board, and sometimes she’ll play with the other kids. You won’t always see that happen, but it’s very good to see and I love to see it myself.”

It’s a place where you never have to say you’re sorry — as Pam Ackley explained, “In some cases, they have disabilities that can be seen, in some cases, they can’t be seen. We have to treat everybody as an individual; however they feel.”

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