Hi ENOpians and Autism Awareness Campaigners!
Today (April 2) marks World Autism Awareness Day and the beginning of Autism Awareness Month. Autism is a general term used to describe a collection of complex developmental brain disorders that are characterized by social and behavioral challenges and repetitive behaviors. Tens of millions of people are affected by Autism, including an estimated 1 in 88 children in the US alone. This number is, according to the United Nations, more than the number of children that will be diagnosed with childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes or pediatric AIDS combined. If that isn’t enough to catch your attention, the Light It Up Blue initiative by Autism Speaks claim the rate of diagnosis has increased 1000 percent in the past 40 years, and only part of the increase can be explained by improved diagnosis methods.
Autism affects each person differently and to varying degrees of severity, but symptoms can lessen as a child matures and receives treatment, according to WebMD. Most people with autism benefit form occupational therapy treatments that focus on sensory integration (think seeing, touching and hearing) and vestibular therapy (motions that help the brain compensate for lost balance and coordination.) Funnily enough, hammocks can play a major part in this!
Combining senses can be a problem for both autistic children and adults, according to ezinearticles.com, and over-stimulation proves to be overwhelming. To counteract this, many autism sufferers will attempt soothing mechanisms and repetitive behaviors. In steps the hammock! Children find the smooth, swaying motion and the cocoon like wrap soothing, increasing their chances of relaxation. In addition, the swinging motion can assist in increasing concentration for children who have trouble focusing on tasks such as reading or math, and hammocks can eventually help restore balance to those suffering vestibular dysfunction too.
Here is a testimonial from a therapist in a school system who discovered our hammocks recovering from a surgery of her own:
“I am a therapist in a school system and I work with many children with Autism. We use many modalities for sensory input and calming and I think you need to get the word out about your hammocks to Occupational Therapists, families and school systems. The hammock provides nice deep pressure, has movement, is made of a nice feeling material, is portable and reasonably priced. It is just what many caregivers and therapists are seeking to add to their materials for support of people with sensory integration problems.”
Thanks to these words of encouragement and the hammocks therapeutic nature, we have since donated ENOs to other school systems working with Autistic children, such as McDowell Country Schools EC program, and will continue to do so.
Support Autism awareness and any children/adults living with Autism by considering an ENO Hammock for therapeutic purposes. You can also find more ways to support the cause and donate to research through Light It Up Blue initiative by Autism Speaks.