Sunday, December 28, 2014

Central Florida Dreamplex opening for special needs families

by Roxanne Brown from Daily Commercial:
For years, pediatric physical therapist Amy Gomes has looked for a place in south Lake County where people with special needs can take classes, exercise, play, learn, spend time with their families and find employment.
Her search is finally over.The Central Florida Dreamplex, under the umbrella of the Central Florida Pediatric Therapy Foundation, will have a grand opening from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 10.
“It’s a place for entire families to go and collaborate, even if it means that someone in their family is in a wheelchair, has autism, Down’s syndrome or whatever it may be that classifies them as special needs,” said Cameron Gomes, Amy’s son, who will manage the facility. “The main thing is it’s a place where everyone can feel like they fully belong and that it fits the needs of the whole family.”
At the Dreamplex, people will find a climbing wall, which will allow children to develop their muscles with the help of therapists or parents without reaching scary heights. There will be wheelchair-accessible fitness equipment and suspended equipment designed for children with autism or sensory issues.
Inside, a mirrored area will be designated for Taekwondo, ballet, tumbling and other lessons, plus a snack bar to serve healthy foods and juices.
The gym also will be available for use by family members without special needs while their children are taking classes or participating in scheduled activities.
“Parents can get their workout in while their kids are doing their thing, and get that out of the way,” Gomes said, adding he wants to start adaptive sports programs at a local venue such as wheelchair soccer and basketball.
For about five years, Amy Gomes has been planning the build-out of another facility, a huge 140,000-square-foot facility at Wellness Way, a health care corridor planned south of Hartwood Marsh Road in Clermont. That future facility will have sports courts and fields, therapeutic pools and meeting rooms and even ice skating rinks.
Though smaller than what the second facility will be, the current site will give families a place to go in the meantime and a taste of what’s to come.
For the grand opening, visitors should be prepared for a fun day that will include face painting, temporary tattoos, horseback rides, balloon animals and free dance and music lessons from the Clermont Academy of Dance and Joyful Music Therapy. Food trucks will sell refreshments and various vendors will set up tables in the complex.
For more information about the Dreamplex at 2400 S. U.S. Highway 27 on the second floor of the Hillside Complex near Graffiti Junktion, or to make a donation, email

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