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

COLONIE – Carabelle Audi sat in the front row at the news conference Tuesday grinning from ear to ear as her mother announced the soon-to-be opening Bring on the Spectrum, a new community space and sensory gym.

As she and her mother, Lisa Audi, prepare to give a tour, she jumps up and hugs her mother tightly, and tells how proud she is of her.

While people start to pour into the gym area, Carabelle, 10, swings on the monkey bars, glides down the slide and plays on the swing-set nearby with a big smile on her face 

Carabelle is neurodiverse, and Audi said that her daughter inspired her to make it her mission to provide a space for other individuals to feel safe and to do the things they love.

“We started to look at the landscape and the impact of COVID on the neurodiverse population and children like my daughter … where there was no place for her to go because nothing was open,” said Audi, founder of the nonprofit that uses the acronym BOTS. “Our mission is to support neurodiverse individuals with the means to achieve a quality life as a respected member of the Capital Region.” 

The term neurodiverse, coined more than two decades ago, typically refers to those with diagnoses such as autism or attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Advocates who use the term say it is a way to expand how people think of developmental disorders – that it means someone’s brain works differently not deficiently when compared to those who are neurotypical.

Bring on the 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,” County Executive Dan McCoy said at the opening. “A place where they can come and feel safe, but more or less, enjoy things around them.”

“We just started talking to people. We listened and learned and we started to think about if we are going to do something, what it would be,” said Audi. “We thought the game changer was the community space because that’s what is missing.”

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

The sensory gym is divided between two areas. The children’s area has sensory swings, a climb and slide, along with other tactile activities. The other area is for tweens, teens, young adults and adults. That area features sensory swings that hold up to 300 pounds, light fitness equipment and games like corn hole, giant jenga and air hockey.

All age groups will share the sensory room designed to help individuals feel calm, supported and focused.

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

“We’re thrilled to support this mission at NYSID,” said O’Brien. “Every unique individual deserves full inclusion in our communities 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 be open by the end of the year, and it will operate five days per week. For more information about memberships and booking events go to