A South Austin gym that won the hearts of the local community thanks to its dedication to children with autism and special needs has announced that it is closing its doors.


Owner Milan Calloway said the gym, We Rock the Spectrum, is shuttering because of personal reasons and that she is hopeful the closure is only temporary. As of now, the gym’s final day in business will be Saturday, Feb. 15.


"I am devastated to say the least," Calloway said. "We all worked so hard. Austin needed this, and us."


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In addition to offering classes and open gym, Calloway pioneered an "open invite" party concept to ensure that no child had to celebrate a birthday alone. Once a family would schedule an open-invite party, Calloway would announce the date on social media and send an email blast to a group of big-hearted parents who would gladly don party hats, buy presents and show up with their kids for potentially low-attendance birthday parties.


"When you’re a kid, you want to have a party with your friends. When you’re autistic, it’s really hard to make friends," Dustin Titus told the Statesman last year during a birthday party for his daughter, Julianna, who is autistic. "To have something like this, I couldn’t be happier for her. Every kid deserves this."


We Rock the Spectrum is currently accepting applications from people who would like to take over the franchise. Email carin@wrtsfranchise.com for more information. A final open gym will be offered to the public from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15.