West Bloomfield gym holds fitness classes for kids with special needs

Julie Zorn, a client of Fuse 45 and a mother to two boys with autism, noticed a problem as her kids were getting older.

"What I notice is as they're getting older, there's less and less services and programs for them," she said, "and wellness is important to all of us."

So what does any well-informed and well-intentioned mother do when she spots a lack of services available to her kids? She reaches out.

The beneficiaries of that approach were Karen Kelman and her daughter Samantha Friedman, the owners of Fuse 45. Zorn envisioned a place where her kids could exercise comfortably among like-minded people.

And it took off from there.

"Every Saturday one of the teachers does an all special needs class," said Jacob Barron, who exercises at the gym. "A lot of people who have taken that class at least from what I see really seem to like it."

Sure Barron and the Zorn boys enjoy the class - but the instructors have found themselves having just as much fun as their clients.

"When they first came in, a lot of them were more timid - they run this place," Kelman said. "It's pretty impressive."

"Just seeing how quickly they caught on and after weeks and months and now it's been years - they run to their favorite machine and they get themselves set up and they grab their friend and they grab their parent," Friedman said. "It's just so comfortable to them."

That comfort is key to parents of kids with autism or Down syndrome or other special needs. 

"He's happy here, he's made a lot of friends and I feel that when they work out together, it's a good thing," said Helen Barron.

Classes for kids with special needs take place at their West Bloomfield location on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m., Tuesdays at 4:15 p.m. and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m..

You can read more here: www.fuse45.com/