When Louise Weadock-Rowe’s daughter Shannon was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (an autistic spectrum disorder) as a toddler, Weadock-Rowe decided to turn their home into a total sensory environment in the hopes of “outsmarting autism.”
“It wasn’t about taking my child to one OT session after another,” Weadock-Rowe says. “It was making sensory a solid part of her diet: hot tubs, trampolines, swings, bouncing things, feeling things, animals galore—our house just moved.”
Her formula became a business in 2012 when Weadock-Rowe—a registered pediatric nurse who built her first company, Access Healthcare Services, into a multimillion-dollar business—opened WeeZee, the World of “Yes, I Can!” (now WeeZee, the Science of Play), a 10,000-square-foot, membership-based sensory gym and therapeutic wellness program in Chappaqua. At WeeZee—Westchester’s only sensory gym—children can be assessed and receive a sensory fitness plan, or just enjoy sensory play, receive music lessons, or have a birthday party.
Weadock-Rowe’s goal is to help children “develop and strengthen their neural processing capability. With that they are able to perform better academically, absorb information, code it, retrieve it, and apply it.” The proof is in the clinical outcomes, she says: Children engaged at WeeZee experience average improvements of 29 percent in social aptitude, 35 percent in academic testing, and 51 percent in athletic ability.