Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Therapeutic Vest Will Help Children With Autism, ADHD, Anxiety

Date:
May 25, 2008
Source:
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Summary:
Children with autism and ADHD may soon get anxiety relief from a novel "deep-pressure" vest. The vest, which can also be used for adults with mental illness, delivers a "portable hug" called deep pressure touch stimulation (DPTS). "People with developmental disorders and mental illness are often overwhelmed in everyday environments such as school and the workplace, and solutions available to families and mental health professionals are limited," says the doctoral student of mechanical engineering who developed the product. He said, "This is an alternative therapy that can safely and discreetly provide the treatment they need to function in mainstream society."

Children with autism and ADHD may soon get anxiety relief from a novel “deep-pressure” vest developed by Brian Mullen at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Massachusetts Amherst

Children with autism and ADHD may soon get anxiety relief from a novel “deep-pressure” vest developed by Brian Mullen at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The vest, which can also be used for adults with mental illness, delivers a “portable hug” called deep pressure touch stimulation (DPTS).

“People with developmental disorders and mental illness are often overwhelmed in everyday environments such as school and the workplace, and solutions available to families and mental health professionals are limited,” says Mullen, a doctoral student of mechanical engineering. “This is an alternative therapy that can safely and discreetly provide the treatment they need to function in mainstream society.”

To market the vest, Mullen has created a concept business called Therapeutic Systems, which recently won the $50,000 grand prize in the UMass Amherst Technology Innovation Challenge, a competition for the best entrepreneurial technology business plan produced by students, recent alumni and faculty advisors on campus.

Occupational therapists working with children suffering from autism, ADHD and sensory processing disorders have observed that DPTS can increase attention to tasks and reduce anxiety and harmful behaviors by providing different sensory stimuli. DPTS is also part of a growing trend to improve the lives of adults with mental illness by using touch, sound and aroma to influence alertness, attention and their ability to adapt to their surroundings.

Eight clinical studies of the effectiveness and safety of existing weighted blankets and vests that deliver DPTS were conducted by Mullen and his advisor Sundar Krishnamurty, a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at UMass Amherst. Mullen used that data to design a prototype system for applying DPTS that can be inserted into any commercial vest or jacket with a lining. Initial results of a study with students at UMass Amherst who did not have autism or ADHD showed that participants preferred Mullen’s prototype vest, which applies pressure that feels like a firm hug or swaddling, over the current gold standard weighted vest.

Mullen’s prototype has several advantages over weighted or elastic garments and toys currently used to apply DPTS in hospitals and schools. “Existing methods provide limited control over the amount of pressure applied and require some oversight by a caregiver,” says Mullen. “Their use is also limited because of the lack of literature documenting their safety, and their tendency to make the user stand out in a crowd.”

Therapeutic Systems is also starting the initial phase of designing a DPTS blanket to aid with resting and falling asleep. “Falling asleep has been found to be a major problem for many people with mental illness,” says Mullen, who adds that an estimated 65 percent of Americans are losing sleep due to stress.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Massachusetts Amherst. "Therapeutic Vest Will Help Children With Autism, ADHD, Anxiety." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080521174320.htm>.
University of Massachusetts Amherst. (2008, May 25). Therapeutic Vest Will Help Children With Autism, ADHD, Anxiety. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080521174320.htm
University of Massachusetts Amherst. "Therapeutic Vest Will Help Children With Autism, ADHD, Anxiety." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080521174320.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

Newsy (Apr. 13, 2014) Researchers at the University of Michigan have designed an app to fight jet lag by adjusting your body's light intake. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins