ADDITIONAL COMMUNITY WINNERS
BearHug is an inflatable vest for giving Deep Pressure Therapy to help ease anxiety and regulate the sensory system.
Using air, easily adjustable pressure can be distributed safely and evenly to the torso, to meet each child's specific needs and calm the child so that they can interact with others, concentrate better, and be more effective at completing their daily tasks.
BearHug is a tool for providing effective Deep Pressure to the torso. It promotes the child to gain independence because they can control the amount of pressure they need themselves. As some children with ASD have a hard time communicating their needs, this tool can give them the power to be in control to help their sensory systems self-regulate, thus easing their anxiety and helping them function better. Because each individual on the spectrum is so unique, BearHug provides highly adjustable pressure with other attachable features to personalize the vest, such as textured pockets to fidget in.
Deep Pressure can help reduce or prevent tantrums, and 'stimi' or self-injury behaviors. Children use these non-socially appropriate ways of blocking out overwhelming over-stimulus from their environments that they are oversensitive to, as their complex sensory systems cannot regulate. BearHug can regulate their sensory system so that they can have more effective learning sessions with their therapists, listen better in class, and get along better with their peers. They can better engage in activities and complete their daily tasks efficiently. BearHug can target the route of the problem, because one cannot engage properly in activities until they feel well and calm, and unbothered to do so. Because the BearHug vest looks like a fashionable garment from the outside, the child can integrate with their peers because they can wear the vest almost anywhere with the technology concealed, feeling great without looking silly. Moreover, children with ASD that are over-sensitive to being touched can desensitize using the vest, which can eventually allow them to tolerate things better such as wearing clothing and physical contact with others to make stronger connections. BearHug can help prevent children from being removed from their environments such as the classroom to calm down from over-stimuli. This socially appropriate vest promotes inclusion because the child can better handle their environments as the vest assists their sensory systems to regulate properly. It is time Deep Pressure is better understood and used to help those individuals in need of it start living with ease and reach their potential, enjoying the things that they are meant to do; the things that anxiety could be deterring them from doing.
BearHug's highly innovative solution provides Deep Pressure Therapy in a very effective way. Unlike weighted vests, pressure is not only provided down on the shoulders, but is evenly distributed throughout the torso. Using air, the vest can be easily inflated to a specific amount each unique individual may need. The pump indicates how much pressure is being used, so that the child's progress can be documented, or more research can be done on Deep Pressure Therapy. The first step to helping a child connect to the world around them could be to help them cope with the overstimulating world around them so they can be effective at engaging, learning, and interacting. I have no doubt that BearHug would improve the quality of live for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Student: Lisa Fraser, (firstname.lastname@example.org) Emily Carr University of Art and Design
Co-authors: Roman Izdebski (professor), Jen Gellis (O.T. at Sunnyhill Health Centre), Cristina Powell (O.T. at Vancouver Coastal Health), and the lovely children with ASD at St. Bernedette Elementary school.
The Autism Connects technology and design competition challenged students to help individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to better connect with the world around them and allow individuals who do not have ASD to better understand and connect with those who do by combining technological and creative solutions. This international student competition brought together a distinguished jury panel across disciplines including Yves Behar (fuseproject), Lisa Strausfeld (Pentagram), Richard Seymour (Seymourpowell) and our own Allan Chochinov (Core77). The Jury grand prize winner will be awarded $5000 and the top three designs will receive a $1,000 stipend and registration fees to attend the 2011 International Meeting for Autism Research, to be held May 12 to 14, 2011 in San Diego, CA, where they will be invited to present their design concept. We will be profiling all of the winners in anticipation of next week's conference.
See the full list of winners here.