In Albany County, new community space, sensory gym is ‘a place they can call home’

COLONEY – Carabelle Odi sat in the front row at Tuesday’s press conference grinning from ear to ear as her mom announced the soon-to-open, new community space and gym.

As she and her mother, Lisa O’Day, prepared for a tour, she jumped up and hugged her mother tightly, telling her how proud she was of her.

As people begin to flock to the gym area, Carabell, 10, swings on the monkey bars, slides on the slides and plays on the nearby swing with a big smile on her face.

A diverse carabell, Odi said her daughter inspired her to make it her mission to make space for other people to feel safe and do the things they love.

said O’Day, founder of the nonprofit organization that uses the acronym BOTS. “Our mission is to support diverse individuals of the nerve with the means necessary to achieve a quality of life as a respected member of the metropolitan area.”

The term neurodiversity, coined more than two decades ago, usually refers to those with diagnoses such as autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Advocates who use the term say it’s a way to broaden the way people think about developmental disorders — meaning that someone’s brain functions differently rather than deficiently when compared to those with a neurotypical pattern..

Bring Spectrum is a 5,600 square foot facility that will be used by community members and individuals of all abilities as a safe place to enjoy activities and build relationships.

“This is a place they can call home. A place where they can come and feel safe, but enjoy things around them in one form or another,” County Executive Dan McCoy said at the opening.

“We just started talking to people. We listened and learned and started thinking if we were going to do something, what it would be,” Audi said.

The community space will include activities such as movie nights, drama, improvisation, music, art, yoga and game nights to name a few.


The sensory gym is divided into two zones. The children’s area has sensory swings, climbing and sliding, among other tactile activities. The other area is for tweens, teens, young adults, and adults. This zone features 300-pound sensory swings, light fitness equipment and games like cornhole, giant jinga, and air hockey.

The sensory room designed to help individuals feel calm, supported and focused will be shared by all age groups.

Maureen O’Brien, President and CEO of New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc. (NYSID), another BOTS partner, was also in attendance on Tuesday.

“We are thrilled to support this mission at NYSID,” O’Brien said. “Every unique individual deserves to be fully integrated into our societies from the economic and social benefits of employment to the health benefits of this new community space and gym.

BOTS is located at 71 Fuller Road near the Home Improvement Outlet & Building Supply store.

It is expected to open by the end of the year, and will operate five days a week. For more information on memberships and booking events, go to https://www.bringonthespectrum.org/.

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