When Merokean Rachel Roslow took her then 18-month-old son Ethan to the doctor for a routine checkup a little more than three years ago, she was given news that changed her family’s life forever: Ethan was diagnosed with autism.
“There were so many signs that were so obvious to the doctor, but not to me,” Roslow said. Doctors were concerned when Ethan wasn’t showing normal child development signs. “He wasn’t pointing at anything, and he wasn’t looking at other people’s faces at all,” she said.
As a first-time mom, Roslow hadn’t been especially concerned that Ethan wasn’t paying attention to other people. “Why would he look at strangers’ faces when he didn’t know who they were?” she asked “These are the signs that maybe some first-time parents miss.”
Roslow and her husband, Brett, quickly enrolled Ethan in as many therapy courses as possible to help him progress, including applied behavior analysis and early intervention classes. As a stay-at-home-mom, Roslow focuses on caring for Ethan and his new baby brother, James.
Although Roslow routinely takes part in Ethan’s therapy and is occupied with raising both her boys alongside her husband, she noticed a certain restlessness within herself. She wanted to get out of the house, as did they.
A seed grew into a bean
“One day, I was talking to my husband about how there isn’t much for me to do with Ethan,” Roslow said. During that conversation, she hatched an idea—a seed—that later turned into Sensory Beans.
With the help of Brett, Sensory Beans started to come to life. “I couldn’t take Ethan to a playground,” she said. “If he threw a tantrum, other children and parents would stare. It wasn’t a very friendly environment, and I didn’t want Ethan to be picked on by other kids.”
Thus Sensory Beans Inc. was born.
Roslow wanted a safe space for children of all ages with special needs to play together and learn at the same time. “I wanted a judgment-free zone as much as an educational and fun environment for all kids with special needs,” she said.