On the 4th of October I went to the NVA (Nederlandse Verening Autisme. Translation: Dutch Autism Association) convention. At this convention there were a lot of professionals speaking on stage and there was an Autism information market.
At this information market I tried on a pressure vest. It has been scientifically proven that deep pressure, like a hug, can reduce sensory input. This is why these pressure vests have been made. In the crowdedness of the information market, I could test the vest very well and it really worked! The only trouble was, that it was too expensive for me.
Later the company 'Squease' contacted me through Twitter. They asked me to try one of their vests, in exchange for a review and some help with some little things that needed to be done. Of course I agreed! I'm very thankful that they offered me this.
Their vest is slightly different from the one at the convention. The vest at the convention applied pressure by little balls in the vest that applied pressure when putting the vest on. This worked great, but was also pretty heavy. This was meant to put on at the moment there's a need for less sensory input.
The vest Squease provided me with, however, has little lines of air pockets. You can just wear the vest, which is very light, under your clothes. When you're in need of a relieve from sensory input, you simply pump the vest up (the pump can be disconnected, so you only have to carry that around in your handbag, or pockets, or something like that). I have already tried this. Even when it's pumped up, you can hardly see it through your clothes.
|This is what a Squease pressure vest looks like and how it's used.||Credit for the picture goes to Squease.|
For a look at how the Squease pressure vest works, how they thought of it, or maybe even buy one, you can look here: http://www.squeasewear.com
To write a proper review, I would of course have to wear it in different situations. This has already proven to be hard, as it's hard for me to add a new routine to my day. The new routine that has to be added now, is to remember to put the vest on before doing something that might provide me with too much sensory input (socialising, going into the city, parties... things like that). To give you an idea of how difficult I find this: It took me about 6 years, as a child, to remember to always put on my glasses before leaving the house.
So, I hope I'll remember to put the vest on soon, as there are plenty of occasions on which I'd like to test it.
I can talk about one thing already though: Getting the right pressure vest.
When I first got my pressure vest, it was a bit too small. It has to be a bit high up, as you can see on the pictures on their website, but it was even a bit smaller than that. This caused for it to end up right in the soft spot between your belly and your ribs. This hurt! It also looked ridiculous, as it made me look pregnant, because it pushed my belly down.
I stopped by the office at Squease for a counselling session. They were very nice and immediately got me the right size vest and adjusted the mid-sections to my waist (these mid-sections are made of Velcro and can be used to adjust the vest to your waist size). This felt a lot better! I could immediately feel the difference, even when pumping the vest up. I tried it under my clothes too and it looked great. I also got a separate, longer, tube for the pump which I could use if I wanted to keep my pump attached to the vest, but put the end of it in the pocket of my regular vest.
I can advise anyone who wants a vest to make such an appointment first, if possible. If not, you can also ask for some advise through Skype, e-mail, the phone or some other type of contact. They're really nice people who are very willing to help. Asking them really makes a difference.
So that's my experience with the vest so far. It fits really nicely now and all there's left to do is to try it in daily life, and try to get it in my routine to put my vest on when I'm about to do something that might cause too much sensory input.