Healing touch: Special treatment for children with autism

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WICKLIFFE, Ohio- It's common for people with autism to have sensory issues. Yet, what they might need is a big hug. Many children with autism can be oversensitive to light touch, but at the same time they crave deep pressure touch.

New at the Integrations Treatment Center in Wickliffe is a Squeeze Machine. It allows the person to apply that pressure themselves. They have found it has a calming effect, just like a massage.

The Squeeze Machine being used to reduce or prevent anxiety. "For our children we found that when sensory input is administered proactively at regular basis, it helps a child to be more calm and regulated throughout the day," ITC Assistant Director Ellen Winney said.

Eric Moran is a student at ITC and has found the Squeeze Machine to be very comforting. "Let’s just say it squeezes those two mattresses on the sides of your body, left and right. And, it’s like a hug from two giant pillow arms," he said.

Temple Gradin created the Squeeze Machine to address her own sensory issues. She will be speaking about autism at the Integrations Treatment Center in December.

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