Our names are Adrienne Esposito Grosso and James Grosso, Jr. Several life events have led us down the path to open a We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym. In 2005, having been married for four years, we were ecstatic to give birth to our first child, a daughter named Jamie. However, at the tender age of three, our world was shattered. Jamie was simultaneously diagnosed with Type I Diabetes and Graves’ Disease. What started out as a routine doctor’s visit (to have been followed by a trip to the carousel), turned into a trip to a pediatric endocrinologist, immediately followed by an 11-day hospital stay with such severe complications that we came close to losing her on three occasions. Our lives changed in a way that we were totally unprepared for. Luckily, Jamie, now eleven, does not recall any of that.
Jamie underwent two radioactive iodine treatments for the Graves’ Disease while simultaneously dealing with Diabetes. The Graves’ Disease also resulted in the need for physical and occupational therapy. At one time, she was in the care of six different specialists.
Initially upon diagnosis, we vowed in the hospital not to have any more children because we knew she would need us more than most. We didn’t think we could handle anymore: emotionally, physically and financially. Fast forward several years later, as we became adept at managing Jamie’s Diabetes, we decided to try to expand our family. We were having difficulty conceiving and decided to pursue adoption. To our surprise, Adrienne became pregnant. After a difficult pregnancy, Andrew was born on September 8, 2011. This was also the 30th anniversary of the passing of Adrienne’s father.
We were overjoyed at the birth of our son, but were always vigilant regarding the possibility of him developing Type I Diabetes and/or Graves’ Disease. That risk, unfortunately, will always remain until a cure is found.
Andrew couldn’t have been more different than Jamie. He didn’t sleep through the night until well after 13 months old, whereas Jamie did so at 2 months old. Andrew hardly napped, he was very irritable, he wasn’t interested in playing with cars, only watching their wheels move, and he would often lay on his back kicking his legs and flapping his arms — what we came to call his turtle move. When Andrew began to speak, he had no eye contact and eventually lost any speech he had gained. Never in our wildest dreams did Autism enter our minds. We were completely flabbergasted when Andrew was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (NOS) and later, Autism Spectrum Disorder. At the age of 19-months old, he was diagnosed at a 9-month old level. The following 16 months, Andrew began an Early Intervention program and underwent intensive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy. We had therapists in our home 6 days per week. It was through the incredible dedication and love of his therapeutic team, coupled with the love and support of his family that Andrew made continuous progress. On his 3rd birthday, Andrew began attending an Early Learning Center that specializes in preparing children with special needs for kindergarten. His days are filled with various forms of therapy, play, speech, and occupational therapies.
Due to these challenging life events, our professional backgrounds as clinician, fitness manager and trainer, and the desire to fill a need in our community, we began our journey to We Rock the Spectrum.
We feel blessed to have this opportunity to serve our local Staten Island Community by providing a gym that truly is for all kids.
Our Gym Includes:
- Suspended equipment with swings – for balance and vestibular treatment
- Crash mats and crash pillows – for fun, motor planning, and strength
- Zip line – for stress release and joint and body relaxation
- Trampoline – for building leg and core strength
- Indoor play structure – for climbing and increasing playground skills
- Sensory-based toys – for improved auditory processing and fine motor skills
- Fine Motor and Arts and Crafts Area – for improved hand-eye coordination
Meet Our Staff
"My interests include working out, reading, cooking and staying active by volunteering and working."
"I love being around children and have found working with children with autism to be extremely rewarding."
"Besides being a full-time student, I also enjoy working with children with autism because I love helping make a difference in their lives."
"I have also spent the past few years as an ambassador for the Children's Miracle Network through the Kean Dance Marathon. "
"I am currently a student in the Melissa Riggio program at College of Staten Island. I am very excited to be with all of you."