We entered the world of autism in 2013 when our son was diagnosed at 3 years old. As a stay-at-home mom, I would take our son to public places where he could play and learn.
Much of the time, these environments would be overstimulating for him and we would end up leaving either because of the overwhelming environment and him melting down and/or because of the judgmental looks we would get from others. I have experienced firsthand how limited our area is in resources and welcoming environments for our loved ones who are differently abled. Throughout the years, I saw an increasing number of families who were struggling in many of the same ways and decided to become involved with the local autism community to do what I could to help others. In 2017 I reached out to the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC) to see how I could help provide support to the autism community. ASNC asked me to start a new Chapter in the North Wake area. Through this Chapter, I could offer support to an underserved community within Wake County.
In 2018 I came across a story online about a sensory gym that was for ALL children, however developed specifically with the needs of autistic and other neurodiverse children in mind. With my background in Physical Therapy and seeing my son benefit from Occupational Therapy throughout the years, I knew how needed a place like this was in the Triangle.
It is going to be my absolute pleasure and honor to bring to our community a We Rock the Spectrum Kids Sensory Gym, where we will build a community of understanding and support while providing all children with a safe, fun, and inclusive environment.
Ryan & Eden van Biljon
I (Ryan) entered the world of Autism when my son was diagnosed in 2016 at age 2. At first it felt like a really bad diagnosis, but as time went on and I spent more time diving into this world, I learned that my son was just like me; he just learned differently and saw the world in a unique way. Throughout his childhood, taking him to public places or places focused on mainstream kids was always a challenge.
His behavior, like most kids on the spectrum, is not typical, and thus we were often asked to leave, asked to be quiet, got glaring looks, and never felt welcome. Many establishments designed for “kids” were not prepared for all kids, especially not mine. This really bothered me a lot! Why was my child not afforded the same fun opportunities as his peers just because he was born with a disability he didn’t ask for?
Eden became my partner in 2020, and she worked extremely hard to find places for him, she poured her time and energy into it, and found the same outcome that I did.
We tried to help many of the local places adapt to help him fit in, but in all cases, they never worked out, and we had to either cancel his membership or pull him out of the program. In 2021 we came across WRTS, and I was extremely excited to see that, finally, there was a place built not only for our son but to be inclusive of all kids, which helps neurotypical kids spend time with neurodiverse kids and understand that they are one and the same, just a little different, but still kids.
This made us want to be a part of this business as it is so near and dear to our hearts. We cannot wait to open this business and serve our community while allowing our son to join in the experience and be a part of it.
Jessica, Eden and Ryan joined forces in 2022 and decided to use their combined experiences to open both Cary and Raleigh (coming later) to serve all of the Triangle!
Founder of We Rock the
Spectrum Kid's Gym, LLC
Manager at We Rock the
Spectrum Kid's Gym