New sensory room at Grosse Pointe Woods school helps students with autism

Fredi the PizzaMan Foundation helps schools add sensory rooms

GROSSE POINTE WOODS, Mich. - A single room inside a Grosse Pointe Woods elementary school is going to help improve the lives of hundreds of children.

The staff at Mason Elementary School is trying something new to help children express themselves in different ways. It's called a sensory room, and it's proven to be very beneficial for students, especially those with autism.

The sensory room is filled with items such as trampolines, swings and ball pits.

Fredi Bello, of Fredi the PizzaMan Foundation, has a 6-year-old son with autism.

"It calms them down," Bello said. "They can work on motor skills, sensory skills. It refocuses them.

Bello said he saw the need for a sensory room in his child's school in Plymouth and wanted other schools to be able to offer the same thing. He started his foundation to raise money and help.

"With autism being so prevalent -- almost one in every 40 children -- sensory rooms are key to schools," Bello said.

With the help of Fredi the PizzaMan Foundation, faculty members and parents, Mason Elementary School was able to open a sensory room this week, and the children are loving the new form of expression.

"We pride ourselves to make sure we not only meet academic needs but also social and emotional needs of a student," Mason Elementary School Principal Roy Bishop said.

It's the second sensory room that Bello's foundation has contributed to, but he's eager to help more schools with funding.

"If you have a school that needs a sensory room, please reach out to me because we want to help," Bello said.

Bello said people who are looking for a charity to donate to this holiday season should consider Fredi the PizzaMan.

"I know there's a lot of charities when it comes to you want to cure autism or cure cancer and all that stuff, but the kids need this today," Bello said.

Click here to donate or to visit the foundation's website.

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