A swing set would bring joy to autistic young men

A sturdy swing set would make the world a little brighter for three autistic young men this holiday season.

Matthew, Anthony and Rayne, all of whom experience the effects of autism, live together in a Living Opportunities group home.

The trio has received intense, highly structured training and support since their mid-teens.

Now 18-years-old, these young men continue to benefit from activities that address their needs for sensory integration.

Living Opportunities staff explains that for most of us, our brain unconsciously integrates environmental input to the senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, taste and balance, as well as the position of our head and body in relation to the environment.

But many people with autism have high or low sensitivities to these factors.

This imbalance contributes to increased stress and anxiety, which can lead to significant behavioral issues, they say.

But engagement in gross motor activities, such as swinging, can help with sensory integration. Justin, Rayne and Anthony have outgrown their childhood outdoor play equipment and really need a new swing set, such as the Willy Goat commercial-grade, steel lawn swing with 6-foot frame, which can withstand their vigorous activity.

Although the boys' swing set has proven to provide great therapeutic benefit, the cost of a new set, which is about $1,600, is not covered by their existing insurance plans.

If you would like to help these young men continue to make gains and have a happy holiday, call Jim at Living Opportunities at 541-772-1503.

Editor's note: Light One Candle is an annual series sponsored by the Mail Tribune that focuses on an individual, group or agency that could use a helping hand during the holiday season. Once that need is filled, donations may be distributed to others in need.

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