NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS- Little Friends recently teamed up with NBC’s newest home improvement show, “George to the Rescue,” to complete a home makeover for a well-deserving Lisle family. Patti Boheme, executive vice president of the Little Friends Center for Autism, served as an autism consultant for the episode, which is scheduled to air at 11 a.m. on Sunday, October 31 on NBC 5 Chicago and in other major cities.
The 30-minute show is hosted by home improvement expert George Oliphant who visits families that are dealing with extraordinary challenges, in hopes of improving their homes and lives. This particular home makeover was for the benefit of Theresa and Mersim Kosovrasti and their three sons, Philip, Danny and Alex. The family was nominated for the show by Theresa’s best friend, Dia Rizmani who understands this families struggles.
The Kosovrasti’s oldest son, Philip, now 13, was diagnosed with lymphoma at the age of 2. After extensive chemotherapy and radiation, Philip underwent a bone marrow transplant made possible by his brother Danny, who was just 9 months old and has autism. Philip has been in remission since 2000, but still faces some health struggles as a result of his cancer treatments. Danny, now 11, was diagnosed with severe autism at the age of 3. Danny attends a therapeutic day school and lives at Little Friends’ Lifeskills Training Center for Children with Autism during the week. The Kosovrasti’s youngest son, Alex, 7, was also diagnosed with autism at the age of 4.
Demolition work got underway at the Kosovrasti’s Lisle home in late September. Dozens of volunteers from the Illinois Homebuilders Association donated their time to convert the family’s garage into a sensory room and bedroom for Alex and Danny, and redesigned an upstairs bedroom for Philip. Boheme worked with the project’s contractors to design the colorful sensory room for Danny and Alex. The new room features a sensory swing, a marble panel and fiber optic mats, courtesy of Southpaw Enterprises. The boys’ sensory room and bedroom also features several visual picture systems, designed by the Little Friends Center for Autism.
Crews from the NBC show were on hand on October 13 to unveil the finished project to the family and to thank all of the volunteers who helped to make this local home makeover a reality.
“There is nothing more rewarding than helping deserving families and making their home improvement dreams a reality,” said Oliphant. “I’m thrilled to use my skills to help touch people’s lives, and I’m incredibly grateful to the various local designers and contractors who are generously donating their time and resources to help make these important renovations a reality.”
About the Little Friends Center for Autism
Building on its more than 30 years of experience in providing educational, therapeutic and residential services for both children and adults with autism, Naperville-based Little Friends launched a new initiative in 2004 aimed at expanding a range of resources for this growing population. The Little Friends Center for Autism (LFCA) was founded around a core staff with years of expertise in working with adults and children on the autism spectrum. Today, the Little Friends Center for Autism is nationally recognized as a comprehensive “one stop” resource for autism and provides cutting-edge diagnostic evaluations, training. occupational and speech therapy, consultation services for parents and professionals, ABA, social skills groups, counseling and educational materials.
About “George to the Rescue”
“George to the Rescue” debuted in the popular LX.TV program “Open House”, which airs weekends on the NBC Local Media Stations. It has been expanded to a special half-hour program for the duration of its six-episode run. “Open House” airs weekends on the NBC Local Media stations and via national syndication by NBC Universal Television distribution.
Little Friends has been serving children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities for over 40 years. Based in Naperville, Little Friends operates three schools, vocational training programs, community-based residential services and the Little Friends Center for Autism. Founded in 1965, Little Friends serves more than 800 people each year throughout DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Will, McHenry and western Cook counties.