Many children with autism’s sensory systems are not able to regulate properly leading to anxiety and behavioral issues, as described in my previous blog posting, ‘How can Deep Pressure Therapy Help my Child Feel Calm?’ Pressure applied to the torso, such as firm hugs and swaddles can have extremely calming and relaxing effects. I witnessed this first-hand while working with children with autism in classrooms for several years.
Many of the kids I worked with loved firm hugs and calmed down when feeling anxious, from pressure. The application of pressure on the body activates the parasympathetic nervous system to regulate the sensory system and drive down cortisol, a stress indicator.
One day, one of the kiddos I was working with had his Occupational Therapist swing by to fit a weighted vest on him. I understood that pressure had a calming and relaxing effect, but intuitively didn’t feel that the weight was safe or user-friendly as it pushed down on the shoulders affecting posture and the musculoskeletal system. I wasn’t pleased with other products on the market for applying pressure and came up with the idea of using air, instead of weight to provide a squeezing, hugging sensation, so that pressure can be adjusted to the exact amount the child needs, controlling it themselves, thus fostering independence. I applied my creative skills towards developing a tool that could help children on the spectrum function better in their daily lives.
Why I Dedicated my Career towards Helping Children with Autism
While developing this inflatable therapy vest idea, I met a special teen on the spectrum. He would get quite anxious and experienced meltdowns and self-injurious behaviors. I could see his pain and suffering he was experiencing and hoped the inflatable vest could perhaps alleviate some of that anguish he was experiencing in those tough times his dad called ‘episodes’. Danny’s dad would squeeze him to help him calm down but they both knew that the solution was only temporary and when Danny went to school, he would have no means of providing himself the pressure he needed to feel calm and secure. It was inappropriate for Danny’s teachers and caretakers to squeeze him tightly, so Danny hid in bathrooms to put inflatable blood pressure cuffs on to get some form of pressure. He even wore a tight women’s leather jacket to school one day and he was made fun of. I knew I needed to do something about this, so I built hundreds and hundreds of samples for research and testing until a highly durable, safe, adjustable, well-designed product was ready for home use.
I am happy to say that Danny was the first teen to receive an inflatable Snug Vest! His dad says that “the results are phenomenal! It calms him down. It comforts him. It’s very fast-acting. He pumps it up and he feels good. And unlike medication, it doesn’t have any side effects. It’s wearable therapy.” Even Danny’s sister reached out to say that as soon as Danny received his Snug Vest, it was the first enjoyable family dinner outing they experienced together. She wasn’t reporting on the food, but the amazing behavior Danny was able to hold as he transitioned into the restaurant environment and was able to ‘keep his cool’.
Because of Danny, I decided to dedicate my career to helping children and teens with autism. We now have thousands of happy kids and teens using Snug Vest to help them with their anxiety, focus, attention, and problematic behaviors. Even Jenny McCarthy is a fan of Snug Vest and Dr. Temple Grandin wishes she had one as a teenager growing up to help her cope with her anxiety. Hearing stories like Danny’s is so inspiring, which is what propels me forward to develop new tools designed specifically to help kiddos on the spectrum.
I hope that this post has helped provide you a further understanding of Snug Vest and how Deep Pressure works. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out at anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Snug Vest, go to www.snugvest.com.
Here’s to a bright future on the path to a healthy, safe, and holistic recovery! May hope remain in you every step of the way.