by KAREN LAGRANGE COX
Courtney LeBlanc had read on a mom blog about the We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym (WRTS) in Lake Charles and knew she had to take her son there to check it out. While at WRTS, her son Kiptyn, who has autism, intently watched the kids on the zipline and studied how they did it. Once the zipline was free, Kiptyn went on the zipline himself. After LeBlanc and her husband, Adam, saw Kiptyn go on the zipline they knew they had to get a WRTS franchise.
WELCOME TO THE GYM FOR ALL KIDS – “FINALLY A PLACE WHERE YOU NEVER HAVE TO SAY I’M SORRY”®
LeBlanc said she cried when seeing the WRTS motto as she had felt she had to continually apology when Kiptyn did something that someone else didn’t understand. Seeing a place where she didn’t feel she had to apologize was jubilant for her.
WRTS is for all children, including children with any disability. This is important not only for children to have physical activity, but also to help break the stigma that children with disabilities have to learn and play separately than those without disabilities.
The LeBlancs getting a WRTS franchise not only helps Kiptyn, but gives opportunities for ALL children in Broussard and the surrounding areas – those on or off the spectrum – to play and to play together.
Kiptyn has autism and is non-verbal. He uses an iPad as his communication device to communicate with others. At school, he is in a self-contained class and has opportunities at school to be involved with other children. At “his” WRTS gym, he can be himself to play and play with other children.
Children with disabilities often need physical, occupational and speech therapy to help them progress through or work to overcome their disability. With insurance usually having limits on the number of therapy visits, a gym like WRTS for physical activity can help fill the gaps left by limited amount of therapy visits.
LeBlanc taught school for fifteen years. She left teaching in Vermilion Parish to start and work in their WRTS gym in Broussard.
LeBlanc knew exactly what her vision would be for their WRTS and what she wanted to do.
In seeking a WRTS franchise, it involved an interview process. The process included meeting the standards and guidelines set forth by WRTS, the potential franchise owner had to be approved by WRTS. Once the LeBlancs were approved for the franchise, LeBlanc continued taking one step before the other in getting her vision accomplished.
They were a week away from signing a lease in Lafayette when LeBlanc learned of the availability of a portion of a building on DePorress Street in Broussard. They got with the building owner, Cliff Guidry with Guidry Land Development about leasing a section of his building.
Guidry liked the vision presented to him by LeBlanc. He asked LeBlanc how she wanted the inside to look. He took it from there and within two weeks Guidry had the quotes and information for the design ready for LeBlanc. Although the LeBlancs had been approved for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, a lease was needed to finalize the loan. With a lease worked out between Guidry and LeBlanc, she was on her way in making her vision come alive.
Guidry said, “We Rock The Spectrum is a great addition to the community and it proves that there is a need for all kids to have a safe place to learn, improve their social skills and have fun at the same time.” He added, “I’m very fortunate to have the LeBlanc family as a tenant and look forward to watching the kids grow!”
WRTS opened in Broussard on Marc 11, 2023.
Parents bring their children to WRTS from as far as Houma. Children come on field trips from about a sixty mile radius of Broussard.
WRTS hosts parent education nights and parent night outs. Parent night outs is for three hours long and allow parents time for themselves. During that time there are crafts and activities for children to do, pizza and themed parties.
WRTS is located at 425 St. DePorres Street, Suite 102 in Broussard.