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New safe space for families affected by autism

Posted: 9:25 PM, Sep 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-23 23:25:55-04

MERIDIAN — People with autism or an autism spectrum disorder can live with challenges to do with social skills, sensory sensitivities, speech and nonverbal communication. It can be difficult for families to experience activities like everyone else.

Blue Cross of Idaho is donating one million dollars to Treasure Valley YMCA to help families reach inclusiveness.

"There's such a huge need not only in the treasure valley, but really in the u-s for a place for families to come," said Ralph Woodward, Blue Cross of Idaho.

Melissa and Aaron Elton have five children. Their youngest, William is on the autism spectrum. They've been looking for resources since he was very young. Often children with neuro difficulties have a hard time in public spaces. Blue Cross of Idaho is partnering with the Treasure Valley YMCA to build a new facility called the "Thrive Center" at the South Meridian YMCA.

"It's a gathering place for everyone whose dealing with the hard times that come with having a disorder and this is a place for families to kind of gather and talk about what that means,"said Aaron Elton.

The space allows them to learn, play, and grow.

"It really is a one of a kind and we hope it becomes a catalyst for a lot of other places to do this type thing. Just be a small part of bringing people together and just helping them succeed and just enjoy life and just enjoy being here in this area," said Woodward.

The facility is set to open in February.