NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s a new store on Staten Island with a very special customer base.

Melissa Palermo recently opened the Island Sensory Shoppe in Staten Island. The store provides goods for children with special needs — necessities that would otherwise be hard to find without having to shop online, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported.

Items for sale include a vibrating pillow, designed to help children to calm down and a weighted vest — an item parents normally would have to special order online, without having their children try on first.

“Some children need that hug every now and then and it calms them,” Palermo said. “Alot of times they use it when the child can’t stay in their seat.”

Other items include a ball chair — priced at around $100 — that helps kids sit still and stay focused, play putty to help children with their motor skills and soft jewelry and other items for chewing.

Palermo’s son Ryan, 6, is on the Autism spectrum. According to Palermo, mos of the toys offered at the shop help children with high-functioning autism, Asperger’s syndrome or sensory issues.

Teachers and therapists received 10 percent off from items in the store, as a thank you for their service, Palermo said. She hopes her store will also offer support for parents who also have special needs children.

“She’s always wanted to open up a business, ever since I met her and do something rewarding with her life so this was definitely both into one,” Ron Palermo, Melissa’s husband, said.

Teachers and therapists receive 10 percent off from items in the store, as a thank you for their service, Palermo said. She hopes her store will also offer support for parents who also have special needs children.

 

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