Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Raising Funds for Sensory Home Makeovers

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- It could be the buzz of overhead lights and the crinkling of potato chip bags being torn open. Or rain pelting the classroom window.
Sometimes, it may just be a passing shadow that triggers the sensory overload.
For Ben Borre, a nonverbal fourth-grader with autism who attends Whiting Lane Elementary School, the sights and sounds of everyday life often become too much for him to bear. Ben might use sign language or an iPad to indicate he needs a break. Sometimes, the 10-year-old starts to scream and cry.
At home is where his parents have better control. Wall colors are muted. The lights have dimmers. There is an ocean mural in the basement with an oversized bean bag that hugs Ben's body, and a swing that can calm him with the rhythmic flow.
"I have a job, so if we have to get an indoor swing, I'll get an indoor swing," said Ben's mother, Darlene Borre, a former attorney who now works as a claims adjuster from their West Hartford house.
"But not everyone can afford it," Borre said, "or even know that they need it."
On Saturday, All Seasons Community, a local nonprofit that Borre co-founded with the eventual goal of creating housing for adults with autism, is holding its first Harvest fundraiser in West Hartford to establish a more immediate goal: Free "sensory home makeovers" for children like Ben and their families.

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