Open Gym Benefits everyBODY…

Open Gym Benefits everyBODY…

Individuals on the autism spectrum, those with ADHD, and anyone with difficulties processing sensory information can benefit greatly from participating in wheelchair and adaptive sports. Each activity provides tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive input which are especially important for regulating our sensory systems.

Why Are These Things Helpful?

Sensory integration is linked to an individual’s emotional state, behavior,  and motor skills. At Open Gym, there are a variety of opportunities for  sensory input and improved motor skills: 

  • Pushing, pulling, and propelling a wheelchair are great heavy  work activities for regulation and calming! Additionally, maneuvering  a wheelchair is a great exercise for individuals who have difficulties  with coordination. 
  • Touching “dirty” wheelchair wheels while propelling addresses both  tactile defensiveness and tactile seeking behaviors.  
  • Gripping wheelchair wheels and propelling the wheelchair  strengthens intrinsic hand muscles for improved fine motor skills.  
  • Passing, catching, or hitting a ball while playing basketball, tennis, or  volleyball is great for coordination and improving gross motor skills. 

Adaptive sports are beneficial for all people (not just those with physical disabilities!) because all bodies benefit from movement, activity, and play! For sensory integration, motor skills, or everyday functioning, playing adaptive sports is a great choice!  Our Open Gym program allows family, friends, and community members to come together in an inclusive, friendly environment to try on a “different pair of shoes” and play TOGETHER.

Open Gym was designed to be enjoyed by families and participants of all ages. Although everyBODY is welcome at Open Gym we can not guarantee 1:1 support for participants with specialized needs. If your child requires individualized attention please plan to stay and provide the required support. Our staff and volunteers will ensure you and your family feel welcome, wanted, and comfortable.

If you have questions about Open Gym or any of The Ability Center programming reach out to

Young boy playing wheelchair basketball

Open Gym

Open Gym provides an opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to play together in an inclusive, non-competitive, friendly environment. Activities include wheelchair and adaptive sports and play. Programming is free and open to the public at multiple locations around Milwaukee County. 

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