Mar. 23, 2019

The staff at Summit Pediatric Therapy includes (front row, from left) Christine Richmond, Katherine Hendren, Melisa Hendren, (back row, from left) Cathy Harris, Bev Chaney, Jennifer Defluiter and Emma Carr.

Mallory Herrmann

A new sensory gym is open in Lee’s Summit. The Sensory Zone, an extension of Summit Pediatric Therapy, features a number of obstacle courses, ball pits, puzzles, swings suspended from the ceiling – even a rock wall. Sensory tables have rotating materials (rice, foam peanuts, dry pasta, sand). Crash pads (imagine a giant pillow filled with foam blocks), a punching bag, a small trampoline and hula hoops are lined up along one wall.

It’s all designed to help kids who have sensory processing difficulties or an Autism spectrum disorder. While the kids feel like they just get an opportunity to play with cool stuff, each aspect has been chosen to promote coordination, fine motor skills and sensory health.

Katherine Hendren, co-owner, says that some kids lose access to therapy services as covered by medical insurance, so this provides a cost-effective option for their families to use those same tools and equipment. That equipment helps kids better process and regulate sensory input – that’s a lifelong skill that can improve reading, writing and more.

The gym is open to kids of all ages, though they primarily serve those under age 12. Some swings and equipment do have weight limits. A second gym is dedicated for one-on-one therapy, particularly for kids who feel overwhelmed by the main gym, and a calming room is also available for downtime.

Summit Pediatric Therapy provides occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and dyslexia tutoring services. They employ 13 staff and currently serve about 40 kids on a regular basis. An expansion of services, including for dyslexia tutoring, summer programs, social groups, concussion management and vestibular therapy, is planned for their new space.

The clinic has been open since 2016. Their recent move to the Pine Tree Plaza Shopping Center, in the northwest corner of the Highway 50 and 291 South interchange, allowed them to open the sensory gym next door.

The Sensory Zone is open to the public, including walk-ins, for kids to play in the sensory gym. Admission fees are $10 per child (and $8 per sibling). They are located at 298 SW Blue Parkway. For more information, visit or call 816-607-5333.