Autism closet exchange assists families searching for sensory gifts

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Two mothers are pairing up to ease financial stress for some families this holiday season with their first Autism Closet Exchange.

Saturday, Cristy Tondeur and Maya Deleon hosted the exchange at the Friends School of Wilmington. Tondeur says the two came up with the idea about 3 weeks ago to help families with members on the autism spectrum like them.

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“Folks who have family members living on the autism spectrum can come and shop for items that are usually expensive and get those items for free,” Tondeur said. “In the hopes that right before the holidays it might free up some of their money to be able to purchase things that they want instead of things that they need for their family.”

They collected items like weighted blankets, weighted vests, swings,and other sensory items leading up to the day.

“Having a weighted blanket may seem like a small thing, but if it can help your child sleep better than that means you sleep better, the whole rest of the family sleeps better and then the child is able to function better at school or in a public setting,” Tondeur said. “Then you have less meltdowns and then the whole family is functioning better.”



Tondeur says she hopes to make this exchange an annual event.

“Hundreds of families need something like this,” Tondeur said.