There is a new deluxe gym and play space for children ages 1-12 in Westchester. WeeZee-The World of ‘Yes I Can’ is a 16,000 square foot space that creates a world of sensory adventures where kids of all stages and abilities can grow. Doors opened this week at the gym which is geared to children who have sensory issues and delays, but all families are welcomed.
Located in the old Readers Digest Campus, just off the Saw Mill River Parkway in Chappaqua, New York, WeeZee was sprung from the mind of Louise Weadock-Rowe, (her friends call her Ouisie, pronounced WeeZee) a registered Child Psychiatric Nurse. In 1985, she founded ACCESS Nursing and Healthcare Services, a large regional provider of health care personnel on the east coast. Weadock-Rowe was immersed in the health care needs of children and families early on, but when her second child, Shannon was born in 1993, things hit home.
She noticed Shannon reacted differently, often with volatile responses to touch, sound, people and even food. It turned the family’s world upside down. She went from executive meetings to running from one specialist to another and one type of therapy session or another with her daughter all in search of a silver bullet to turn their lives back to ‘normal’.
Louise found that most of the therapies focused on ‘desensitizing’ Shannon to things through multi-sensory gross motor exercises, many of which she could replicate at home. Rather than withdrawing due to this diagnosis, the Weadock-Rowe house became a fun place for Shannon and kids from the neighborhood could play and learn. In time, this became WeeZee’s place.
WeeZee’s isn’t like most play spaces that many people in the area know. There are athletic training, rooms to improve motor skills, a music room, karaoke room, a tot zone for younger kids and a café with swings. If needed, a program can be specifically designed for the child and he or she can work with a professional at WeeZee’s.
Parents, depending on the age and ability of their child are invited to chill out and take a much-needed break in the Zen Den. There, parents and caregivers can enjoy free wi-fi, earphones, massage chairs, and smoothies for purchase while their kids enjoy the activities. Louise stresses that they are particularly sensitive to parents who have drive their children from one service provider to another in order for them to get the help they need. With that in mind WeeZee has partnered with an entire cadre of occupational therapists, recreational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists, licensed clinical social workers, dieticians, academic tutors, masseuses, music teachers, counselors, psychiatrists, and psychologists
If your child already gets services for PT or OT and your family is a member at WeeZee, you can bring this person in as a guest, however, as Weadock-Rowe explains, it’s not ideal. As she puts it, this would be akin to bringing your own personal trainer to a gym where he or she doesn’t work.
Services and the space at WeeZee may be extraordinary but it does come at a price; a $500 initiation plus $285 a month for one child, $125 for two and $100 for three. See their website for reduced-rate promotions throughout the year.
Weadock-Rowe says that enrollment is a bit above their expectations, but there are still openings.
Just open a week, Louise says the work has already been incredibly rewarding, “I’ve been involved in health care and helping people since 1985. No one has ever thanked me for something I’ve done like this before. It’s been amazing.”
As for Shannon, she’s in college now, and very involved with the development at WeeZee The World of Yes I Can. She’s among their top consultants giving her experienced view on what a child who may have a hard time with sensory issues would like and how they would benefit.
WeeZee World of Yes I Can!
480 Bedford Road
Chappaqua, NY 10514
Open 7 Days a Week 8:00am-9:00pm
For more information visit their website.
Jen is a freelance journalist who has covered the economy and markets for over a decade at a major financial news outlet. She lives in Scarsdale with her husband and 2 children. Jen has yet to bake a successful batch of cookies.