Welcome Home Angel gives child bedroom makeover to help with sensory needs
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Welcome Home Angel, a non-profit organization that provides bedroom makeovers to children with chronic or debilitating illness or injury, held a special reveal Tuesday for a Wilmington boy named Grayson Allen.
Grayson was born at 34 weeks old and had developmental issues from the day he was born. In addition to feeding issues, he did not walk until he was 22 months old, and did not speak until after his third birthday.
Grayson has a gene variant and micro deletions, but no specific diagnosis related. Due to the genetic abnormality, Grayson has suffered significant challenges with balance, muscle development, and academic performance.
Now 8 years old, but developmentally around 6, Grayson walks with orthotic devices on his ankles while at school, but can walk around his home without trouble.
Because of Grayson’s significant sensory overload issues, he struggles getting to sleep at night.
Unfortunately, Grayson’s bedroom was not giving him the calming sensory opportunities needed to help him relax and sleep.
In stepped a volunteer design team — Carole Sheffield of Blue Coast Realty and Jesse Davis, the owner of the Penthouse — that helped to create a beautiful woodland-themed bedroom to create a calming and cozy space.
“Grayson is an extremely intelligent, bright young man," Sheffield said. “He is funny and fun to be around. He needed a quiet space. He gets very overstimulated quickly so they really wanted to develop some kind of quiet space for him so the finished room above the garage was the best place to start this project.
“We build a closet in for Grayson and redid the flooring and had a bed designed where he could feel cocooned and comfortable and safe in a safe environment.”
The custom bed was should help Grayson calm himself and sleep. Before this intervention, he used to hide under his own bed so he could calm down.
Grayson saw his room for the first time in four months Tuesday, and loved what he saw. Grayson’s guardian/mom Linda was overwhelmed with gratitude for the Welcome Home Angel team.
“I’m blown away really at the amount of time and effort," Allen said. "It’s been an amazing journey. What an organization. It’s amazing there people out there who could do this wonderful thing for a child like Grayson.”
The room is now a serene and beautiful space, reflective of one of Grayson’s favorite places.
“Grayson’s mom was telling us about how he loves to go to this cabin of his family’s, so the idea started with this whole cabin feel but we wanted it to be something he could grow older with and not be stuck in a small child environment," Sheffield said. "I started designing the bed and Linda, his mother, has been a huge help in giving us ideas of what he likes and doesn’t like. I started with the bed and found the television stand with the fireplace, which was perfect for the room. We also looked at some rustic desks that we had built with a rope and a plain board and we really wanted to keep it simple.”
The team unveiled the woodland themed bedroom to Grayson at 5 p.m. Tuesday live on WECT.
“When we travel, we’ve stayed in many different cabins in the past and he loves that, cozy and calm and relaxed,” Allen said. “He gets overstimulated pretty easily. I guess that’s why he chose that because it makes him feel calm and relaxed, so it couldn’t be more perfect.”
Sheffield and Davis began work on the project in January with the help of a grant from the Eshelman Foundation. Stricklands Closets, Fox Hill Construction, Roll with it Paint Company and Williams Carpet and flooring also helped with the project.
Sally’s Run, a 5K run/walk to benefit Welcome Home Angel, will be held Saturday, May 11 at 9 a.m.
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