MUSKEGON, MICH. – Parents living with an autistic child know the heartache of not being able to hold them or snuggle them and read a bedtime story.

But now there may be a way for them to enjoy that quality time.

Tyler Mieczkowski, 10, has autism. Like most children with autism, Tyler has trouble focusing and relating to others — with one exception. Unlike many with autism, Tyler is a sensory seeker.

“He will hug whomever is by him,” said his mom, Bethany, adding there’s one thing they’ve tried that has changed their world.

The Xorbee. It’s a foam-filled, canvas-covered chair.

“He just kind of sinks in, and it kind of hugs him and calms him.” Bethany says that calm allows the family to spend time together. “I would say that’s probably when he spends the most continuous time in it, is when he’s watching a movie.”

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Xorbee is the brainchild of Jeremy and Ivanna Leffring.

A Muskegon-based warehouse is where the Leffrings make all of their Xorbees, Jeremy said. “We work with manufacturers just like my dad used to do, and we take their scrap and we shred it, so it’s 100% recycled.”

And 100% made in Michigan.

“We have a lot of fun reading what people write back, because there are a lot of unintended benefits.” The one that surprised them most, though, was how the Xorbee chair was giving families of children with autism a…

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