Autism Information

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Hug Machine For Autism

Temple Grandin is an adult with autism who has written two books about her life. In her books, she described her severe anxiety and how her discovery of deep pressure ultimately helped her reduce the anxiety's debilitating effects. During her childhood years, Temple would crave deep pressure and would crawl under sofa cushions or wrap herself in blankets to provide pressure. She said she could not obtain the 'right' amount of pressure from people because they either gave her too much deep pressure or too little. As a teenager, Temple observed cattle being branded in a squeeze chute at a relative's farm and noticed that they immediately calmed down after pressure was administered. Temple reasoned that the deep pressure from the chute led to an overall calming effect and thought it might be able to settle her "over-stimulated nerves," so she invented a device known as the hug machine. A series of clinical trials were conducted at a day school at the Michael Reese Hospital & Medical Center in Chicago to evaluate students' use of the hug machine. Researchers wanted to know if students would actually make use of this equipment on a consistent basis. Students who used the lateral pressure equipment showed a significant improvement in behavior and the ability to perform school-related activities.


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