Wanted: an integrated gym

This post has nothing to do with kayaking, but with the expression on Ben’s face (right).

This is how Ben looks every time I pick him up after his weekly physiotherapy session at Holland Bloorview. He’s ecstatic and chipper and obviously coming off of a workout “high.” He doesn’t get a lot of exercise during the week, but this hour of walking on the treadmill, climbing stairs and tossing a ball in the gym leaves him in a sweat.

I can only imagine that he would benefit from more of it.

It made me think it would be a great business opportunity for someone to start a gym for kids with and without disabilities. It would need to have a physiotherapist and perhaps other professionals who could oversee the activities for kids with disabilities. We would be one of the first to sign up!

It reminded me of a conversation I had with Amy Baskin, author of More than a Mom last week. I interviewed Amy about children with significant developmental disabilities who age out of high school at age 21, but have few opportunities for meaningful activities during the day, leaving their parents to scramble to create a good life for them.

“Why doesn’t some entrepreneur say: ‘There are all these adults looking for something funky to do’ and come up with something creative, like a cooking club?" Amy said. "There’s a whole group of people not being served and often money isn’t the issue. It’s that there’s nothing to purchase.”

I’d love to hear of innovative businesses you know that have sprouted up to target the needs of kids or adults with disabilities.