Inflatable hug: Therapeutic vest helps ease kids’ anxiety
Published Wednesday, June 17, 2015 6:00AM PDT Last Updated Thursday, June 18, 2015 9:17AM PDT
A made-in-B.C. invention is giving kids with anxiety issues and autism a new tool to help keep them calm at home and in the classroom.
Clinically proven to reduce cortisol, adrenaline and anxiety, the Snug Vest uses a pump to increase pressure in the vest, like an inflatable hug.
The Snug Vest was designed by Vancouver resident Lisa Fraser, who spent years working with children with special needs in the classroom.
When it’s inflated, it provides deep pressure therapy to the torso, which has a calming effect.
The Snug Vest was designed for children like seven-year-old Saajin Mann.The Grade 2 student is living with autism, and the Snug Vest helps keep him calm and happy.
“We have kids as little as three that can pump it up, and they can adjust how much pressure they want on their body to feel good," said Fraser.
Fraser wanted to create a product that promoted inclusion, so the Snug Vest is sporty and discreet.
“The kids at his school, they tell him he's a superhero. They've all tried it on. They've felt how it feels, and they encourage him. It doesn't make him stand out," said Kulvir Mann, Saajin’s mother.
The Snug Vest doesn't work for all users, but its inventor has seen first-hand how the device can help special needs children live more normal lives.
"Danny, a little boy with autism, he was able to actually eat at a restaurant for the first time with his family without having to be removed and calmed down because he was wearing his vest and his family said that it was the most enjoyable dinner they'd ever had," explained Fraser.
Saajin has been wearing his Snug Vest for several months now and likes to wear it even when he’s not feeling upset.
The vest costs around $400. It has been approved by B.C. health officials as an occupational therapy tool, so users can get reimbursed. It's also proven effective for kids and adults with attention deficit and sensory disorders, ADHD, general anxiety and stress. There's also a 60-day money back guarantee.