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A spectrum sports class being held in Mount Laurel
Dan Minko during a Spectrum Sports fitness class in Mount Laurel.

First Children Services is excited to announce that we’ll be partnering with Spectrum Sports in South Jersey to offer inclusive fitness classes to families! Spectrum Sports is an all-sports and fitness program that focuses on inclusivity and exercise for individuals of all abilities. 

Stemming from connections within the two organizations, First Children was able to begin developing this new initiative with Dan Minko, Founder of Spectrum Sports. “I believe this partnership is great for the community because although our organizations are serving in different ways, Spectrum Sports and First Children Services are enhancing the lives of the special needs community,” says Minko. 

The team in Mount Laurel is excited to welcome Spectrum Sports into the STRIVE center and look forward to continuing to provide support to families in the Southern NJ community. 

"Spectrum Sports and First Children Services are enhancing the lives of the special needs community."

“Developing relationships with like-minded community partners is key to spreading awareness of the variety of services available in the area for families of special needs children and adults,” comments Brandon Sierchio, MA, BCBA, First Children’s Southern NJ Regional Director. “This partnership allows FCS families to engage with another community focused on providing important services for their children. Likewise this will provide families who are already with Spectrum Sports the opportunity to get a close up look at our STRIVE center and the services we can offer their loved ones with special needs.”

Through various sports games, and group fitness activities, there are some amazing benefits to children from taking the classes. They’re a great way to build skills, socialize and stay active in an engaging and fun environment.

“Often, children with autism may lead more sedentary lifestyles than their neurotypically developing peers. Additionally, parents may be reluctant to bring their child with special needs to other sports or fitness programs not specifically designed to accommodate a special needs individual,” explains Sierchio. “Reluctance may come from worrying their child may engage in maladaptive behavior that could potentially be stigmatizing. They may feel like their child does not engage in socially appropriate behaviors, etc. These examples and many others may lead to parents choosing not to bring their child in the community to participate in sports, fitness programs, and other community outings. FCS partnering with Spectrum Sports offers our families an opportunity to bring their children to a safe space where their child or adult will have support based on their level of need, modification of exercises and sports, and instructors who are trained to work with special needs individuals.”

Classes began on March 20, 2023, and will be offered weekly on Monday evenings. Classes will be held at our Mount Laurel STRIVE Autism Center, at 11000 Commerce Pkwy, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054. There will be two classes, one from 6:00-7:00 pm and 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Additionally, First Children families get two free trial classes to start and then a $5 discount on classes! If you are interested in attending a class, you can register here.