'Decompress and de-stress': Special furniture helps students with autism

The furniture was donated by the owner of the Sylvan Learning Center. (Source: NBC12)
The furniture was donated by the owner of the Sylvan Learning Center. (Source: NBC12)
Updated: May. 7, 2018 at 12:46 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - From reading to relaxing, $1,000 worth of special sensory furniture is helping students - most with autism - at Spring Run Elementary School.

It's furniture - called Yogibo - that may not be there had it not been for the kindness of a local business owner.

"It feels different than other chairs ... it's soft enough where you can get nice and relaxed and comfy," 10-year-old Hyla George, a third grader at the school, said. "This pillow is the best if you're trying to put something under your neck."

Hyla is one of many students who utilize this furniture. It can be found throughout the building in areas like the library.

However, it is mostly used by nine students in the autism day program at the school, according to Melissa Alcarez, the coordinator.

"For our students the purpose is allowing them a place to decompress and de-stress maybe from some of the environmental stresses that may happen in a classroom," Alcarez said. "This furniture allows them a space to go in and kind of snuggle in. It kind of wraps around you as you sit in the furniture and it allows you to decompress."

She says the pillows are naturally calming and designed to provide a calming deep pressure and soothing touch.

Alcarez proposed the need for the furniture at a PTA meeting last year. That's when Steve Green, the owner of the Sylvan Learning Center of Midlothian stepped in.

"Steve happened to be there and happened to hear the need my program had, and just being a wonderful community partner he decided he'd fund the furniture for us," Alcarez said.

"I have two nephews with autism and I wanted to do for the school what I'd want someone to do for them," Green said.

Green bought over $1,000 worth of Yogibo furniture and donated it all to the school.

A year later,  it's helping not only those with autism, but all students at Spring Run Elementary as well.

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