SAN ANTONIO — Rebecca Reveles-Jones moved to San Antonio because of her husband's career in the Army. She noticed that her 18-month-old son started acting differently when her husband got deployed overseas for a year.
"I thought that was the reason he stopped talking and making eye contact and stopped socializing," she said.
She later learned, after a lengthy evaluation, that her son was on the autism spectrum. She said that because he is nonverbal, it makes it difficult for her to know what he needs. And because socialization can be a challenge for kids with autism, it can be difficult for her now-2-year-old son, Antonio, to make friends.
"He doesn't know how to associate with other kids his age, so a lot of times, kids will push him down or they don't want to play with him because he just doesn't know how to interact with them," she said.
She added that being a parent of a child with autism can feel very isolating at times.
"As a parent, if you're out in a normal setting, other parents look at you," she noted. "They're like, 'Why aren't you controlling your child?' That's how he is, it's not his fault."
That's when she heard about We Rock the Spectrum Gym. The San Antonio area branch opened its doors on Saturday and is specially equipped with toys and gym equipment for kids on the spectrum. The gym will also have classes like yoga and drumming. Parents can pay to bring their kids for the day or sign up for a monthly membership.
There are almost 60 We Rock the Spectrum gyms across the country, including six in Texas. This is the first We Rock the Spectrum gym in the San Antonio area. The founder and CEO of the gym said that the gym can help other parents with autistic kids realize that they're not alone.
"I think that's a big thing for autism parents. We are isolated," said Dina Kimmel, founder and CEO of We Rock the Spectrum gyms. "We feel very isolated because we feel like there's no one out there that understands us."
For Rebecca Reveles-Jones, she finally feels like she has found a safe haven for her son, Antonio.
"I think having a place like this where he can run free without judgment would be awesome," she said.
To find out more about We Rock the Spectrum San Antonio, you can visit their official website here: http://www.werockthespectrumsanantonio.com/