Snug Vest: A recent addition to possible aids for children with special needs

snug_vest_for_web_1Our final in the series on weighted vests highlights a former swimming instructor and classroom volunteer from Vancouver who has designed a special type of vest to aid children with special needs in their daily activities.

The 24-year-old, Lisa Fraser, who has worked with these children first hand, believes that hug can mean so much for a child with special needs. The environment can be too much for them to handle, hence the need for something that could provide them with a sense of comfort. The Snug Vest can do just that.

Ms Fraser made the Snug Vest back in 2010 for her industrial design thesis at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, British Columbia. It was inspired by a ‘60s therapy machine called “squeeze machine” of U.S. researcher  Temple Grandin. After consulting therapists and parents of children with special needs, and hearing positive feedback about her project, she went on to start a two-person company named Squeezease Therapy.

It is a common measure to apply deep pressure therapy to children with special needs. Therapists have long been using them in various ways such as bear hugs and blankets. Weighted vests now available in the market have applied this method. Weighted vests help in children’s concentration, and balance. However, the issue with weighted vests lies on the inconvenient mode of adjustment.

Seeing the strengths and weaknesses of weighted vests, Ms Fraser decided to make it better. She noted that the regular weighted vests are not actually good for the posture of the child; hence, she replaced weights with inflates that provide pressure on the shoulders, back, and sides of the child. The most important feature of the Snug Vest is it allows the wearer to change the amount of pressure of the product. It is also pleasing to the eyes.

Despite these positive claims, there is still doubt if the product really works. There are occupational therapists who attest that they notice a considerable change in the wearers, but as far as documented scientific evidence is concerned, the Snug Vest continue to cast doubts in the medical community. One student from the University of Victoria did an experiment on eight children with autism last year using the Snug Vest, but the results are yet to be seen.

The company began production last December and costs per item is higher than the traditional weighted vests. However,the cost is covered under provincial government funding and so one should check on the local medical plan coverage.

For more information visit their site at  http://www.snugvest.com/