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Float therapy helping kids with autism

A new school is offering float therapy to kids with autism.

A school for kids with autism is trying out an innovative way to help students overcome anxiety and stress. Float therapy is getting more and more popular, and now, educators think it might have benefits in the classroom.

“It calms me down, it makes me think about what I can do differently to not be so stressed out in social environments,” said Tyler Reed, 15, who has autism and recently tried float therapy.

Participants lay down in pods filled with warm salt water for up to an hour at a time, often in silence, as a way to relax and unwind.

“It's mainly just to unplug from the technology around the world, not thinking about anything,” Reed said.

He plans to attend The Gersh Academy at Cougar Mountain, a new school for children with autism, which opens in Issaquah in the fall. The academy is partnering with Urban Float, a Seattle company, to offer relaxing float sessions to kids as part of their school day.

“It's all about sensory reduction, you don't have so many things coming at you all the time,” said Joe Beaudry, Urban Float chief operating officer.

The Gersh Academy plans to study how this therapy affects students' coursework, and whether it helps them focus in the classroom.

“Anxiety for me went way down after it, it was just a great experience,” Reed said.