(WSVN) - For children with autism, life can be full of over-stimulation and frightening situations. 7’s Karen Hensel shines the spotlight on an organization dedicated to giving them safe spaces right in their own homes.
It may look like this is the work of an interior designer.
Tehila Hecht, CEO of Safe Sensory Room: “We’ve made nice recessed lighting that, they can change colors and make it red, blue.”
But Tehila Hecht is actually a physical therapist.. She creates safe spaces for special needs children.
The idea came to her after treating a child with autism who was having a tantrum.
Tehila Hecht: “So I sat him on my lap, tried to calm him down, and he flung into me, and I blacked out for a moment. And I kept thinking, ‘Oh, I wish the therapy room would be padded.'”
Tehila also thought many parents would like the same thing, so she came up with the Safe Sensory Room Foundation.
It’s an organization that provides free sensory rooms for families of children with severe autism.
Tehila Hecht: “I want safety first and then sensory, in just the aspect of making this room sweet and that the child should love it.”
The parents of 7-year-old Justin Arida say it was important his bedroom have padded floors and walls and a swing to keep him occupied.
Tony Arida, Justin’s father: “He’s nonverbal, very hyper, very active kid. So it’s always a challenge with a kid that hyper and that active to keep him in a spot where he’s not dangerous.”
Not only has the Safe Sensory Room changed his son’s life, it has made a difference for the entire family.
Tony Arida: “We can sleep easy, and I’ll tell you, the greatest sleep I ever had was the first night that we had that room.”
Word about the foundation has spread so fast, that Tehila had to create a wait list.
Tom Jacobs recently got the news that his son Spence is next on the list.
Tom Jacobs: “Oh, it’s elation. You know, it’s like we could see a much easier and and safer period on the horizon. I’m so grateful for for this opportunity.”
And that feeling is what inspires Tehila to create as many rooms for as many families as she can.
Tehila Hecht: “To just give some sweetness to their home and to know that we’re here to just make their life a little bit more manageable.”
Safe Sensory Room is raising money to create rooms for two more families this year.
If you would like to donate, or get more information on signing up your family, click here.
And if you know of a person, place or group that you think we should highlight, email us at email@example.com.
Karen Hensel, 7News.
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