Bounce! implements special program for children with autism
With cold weather restricting the opportunities for outdoor play and exercise, a place that will allow children the chance to unleash their energy while socializing is always welcome.
One local business is giving residents a reason to jump for joy, literally. Bounce! Trampoline Sports, the indoor trampoline park and amusement center, has added a new Monday night program to its repertoire of ongoing events, which particularly caters to children on the autism spectrum.
“We’ve always been accommodating to children with autism and special needs, but we figured having something every week would be another good escape for these kids and they can enjoy safe environment,” said Nick Caplan, general manager of the Bounce! Location in Syosset.
The popular recreation center began implementing this new program, called Sensational Kids, roughly two months ago and it has been gaining in popularity since. Every Monday from 5 to 7 p.m., the place is open exclusively to people with autism, where they have the opportunity to participate in organized activities or bounce freely during the allotted time.
“We’ve come to learn how much the activities, and the act of jumping and the music come together to help the kids,” said Caplan. “Everyone who comes has different things that benefit them. Some want to just jump, some want to play basketball or spend time in the foam pit and others enjoy just sitting or lying on the trampolines.
The intent is to create a comforting atmosphere without the normal large crowds and loud music that accompany usual nights. Caplan aims to foster a place where parents can be confident that they are bringing their children to a safe space each week.
The highly trained staff consists of young adults, primarily in high school and college, with intentions of pursuing a career working with people who have special needs. These instructors are thoroughly instructed on how to act patiently and calmly with participants of the program.
Since the program has been underway, feedback from both parents and the children who have attended Sensational Kids has been overwhelmingly positive.
“So far, everyone who has come has been ecstatic about it,” said Caplan. “For the kids, it’s just having somewhere to go and feel comfortable with the people working there. For the families, it’s knowing that the staff is ready to attend to any needs, which takes a lot of pressure off.”
Though Sensational Kids is a fairly new event, each week has been met with growing success and enthusiasm. Bounce! is now exploring the idea of booking private events similar to the Monday night sessions for schools and outside organizations. Caplan is planning on collaborating with The ELIJA School, the Levittown-based educational and treatment program for school-aged children on the autism spectrum, to host ongoing field trips. He is also in the process of organizing a once-a-month event with the Nassau Suffolk Chapter of the Autism Society of America (NSASA), an organization that supports individuals with autism on Long Island through varied events and grant opportunities.
Caplan has enjoyed watching the program develop and observing the gratitude for its existence among the children who come and their families.
“I think it’s important to really tend to all the needs of the community,” said Caplan. “Everyone has their own story and needs, so to be able to give something to someone who needs help and improve quality of life is an amazing feeling.”
For more information about Bounce! Trampoline Sports and the Sensational Kids program, visit www.bouncesyosset.com.