My Gym vs. Little gym for SN? — The Bump
Special Needs

My Gym vs. Little gym for SN?

DS recently had his 6 month re-eval for EI for speech and they now are getting him OT for low tone, pronation and a number of other minor things- my mind is spinning- I don't remember it all.  I thought now he's finally talking, there's light at the end of the tunnel and then suddenly there's more.  The OT suggested a gym class to help build core strength as well.   I was wondering if anyone found one or the other helpful for skill/strength building.


If you really want to be happy, no one can stop you.


Re: My Gym vs. Little gym for SN?

  • I have done both Little Gym and Gymboree (we moved away from the location of the former), since my 26 month old was about 6 months. He loves it. The equipment is fabulous, and you can do a lot to improve gross motor skills (bouncing, jumping, swinging, balancing, etc.) The "classes" involve a lot of unstructured play time, sandwiched between singing, bubbles, and simple games.  I like Gymboree b/c we have one class each week, and there are open gym play times we can attend.
  • My son was 2.5 when his OT suggested a gymnastics class for him, and she specified that she would prefer a "real" gymnastics class. I looked into 3 diffrent gymnastic places before finding one I LOVED. I would highly suggest looking into something else. And if you are worried about them not accepting a SN child just be upfront about it. Our gym has been amazing and so understanding of our son, much better at adapting to his needs than any of those cookie cutter places were when he was younger.

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  • I did a trial class at Little Gym with my NT toddler. Fun, bright, clean, etc. -- but the constant branding (songs about the Little Gym, etc.) irked me and we haven't been back.

    I prefer our local parks and rec departments -- they have a good variety of classes, times, etc. We also have a ton of private gyms, including one that offers a class specifically for SN kiddos that is led by an OT. It's not therapy per se, but it's gymnastics to work on tone/body control in a no-pressure environment with a pro in charge to help the kids get the most out of it.

    We haven't enrolled DD1, but I like knowing that opportunities like that exist -- especially in areas like gymnastics, where I think you have to be careful about making sure the atmosphere is for fun/exercise vs. for competition training & prep, even at very young ages. We found that at a number of gyms, the youngest kids are fobbed off on teen "coaches" and in a SN situation, that may or may not be appropriate. 


    DD1, 1/5/2008 ~~~ DD2, 3/17/2010
  • We did the little gym. That is actually where I really started noticing that DS wasn't like his peers. He did ok with it. I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a good program. We only went one term and then the facility closed down, so we tried a different tumbling/gymnastics class, which was a lot smaller class size, but it was too structured for DS. He likes to be able to wander and explore a bit. After a couple sessions of tantrums and other moms starring at me like I have a terrible child, we quit. I really wish we could do some sort of tumbling/gymnastics class again. Maybe when DS is a little more developmentally mature (since he's delayed).
  • We go to adapted gymnastics, which our county parks and rec office offers.  I really like that it is an all SN class, so no one blinks when your kid runs off, throws a tantrum, etc.  And it is in a real gym with gymnastics equipment.  I checked (based on your "location"), and Fairfax County Parks and Rec offers such a class.  An added bonus is that they are usually cheaper than the private places, too.
    Zachary, 8.31.2007 * * * Adam, 3.24.2010<BR>

  • image -auntie-:

    I don't understand. If the OT thinks your child should have a physical strenthening program, why didn't she suggest a PT? That's the expert when core issues are impacting the ability to access and support other activities. Core strenth and stability become huge issues with school expectations. An EI PT could work with you to deliver a "fitness plan" built into his regular day. A lot of what PT is at this age looks like play.

    I'm pretty sure the gyms you mention are franchises which suggests to me that the quality and nature of what they do will vary a great deal. Both chains near me offer SN classes as does the local Y. A class for kids with ASDs would probably be a good fit since this is a group that generally shares this tone issue. Tumbling/gynastics is a great option for little kids.

    I have a friend with an older child who hired him a personal trainer. She says it's the best money she ever spent.

    She said he is qualifying because of his low tone and fine motor and ankle pronation (I think I have that right, it's a blur), his mild core weakness is because of his other problems so she does not think he would qualify for PT.  She feels like a gymnastics class with peers would motivate him too.  He melts down when things are physically hard for him, but in preschool he is so motivated to be with his friends he has a bit more stick-to-it-ness.

    Thanks for the suggestion of the Y- it's like a minute from his preschool and it hadn't crossed my mind at all!

    If you really want to be happy, no one can stop you.

  • Thanks, great ideas.  I hadn't considered the Y, local rec centers or adapted programs in parks and rec program.  My husband will be doubly grateful for the more wallet-friendly options.
    If you really want to be happy, no one can stop you.

  • Thanks again, today I just registered him for a mom and me adaptive gymnastics class through our local rec center and they discounted his twin sister's fee 50%.  Good stuff.
    If you really want to be happy, no one can stop you.

  • Hi there! My DS is having an OT eval this week and his 6 month re-eval is the end of January (I expect OT or PT to be added for gross motor delays). But we actually went to Little Gym before I knew DS had delays (from 19 months until he turned 2, in August).

    I find, for the age group our sons fall in (Beasts/Super Beasts class at Little Gym, 19 months - 2.5/3), that they mostly let the children do his/her own thing and have one-on-one time with set activities. But that was before they changed the curriculum up this Fall, it may have changed in the last 4 months. This is assuming you're going for the parent/child classes.

    Edit: posted before reading the entire topic. Glad you found an alternative. I think you'll be happier there.

    Bronx Zoo: Summer 2013


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