My Haptic HugShrug version 2, at the Haptic InterFace 2013 exhibition as part of the VIVID SYDNEY 2013.
The Haptic HugShrug (revised 2013) by Dawn-joy Leong
Material: Woolmark Pure Merino Wool Top
Approximate dimensions: Length144cm x Width30cm x Thickness6cm
Many individuals with Autism Spectrum Condition suffer from sensory anomalies, and are averse to human touch. However, just like everyone else, we crave the sensation of warm and firm embrace. Studies have revealed that deep pressure haptic stimulation, especially that which enwraps, relaxes and calms panic symptoms and sensory alarm that are common features in autism and other sensory-cognitive idiosyncratic conditions (e.g. ADHD, PTSD etc).
Temple Grandin, world famous autism advocate and animal behaviourist, developed the renowned “Squeeze Machine,” for the above purpose. In this machine, the use is able to regulate the intensity of pressure by activating a lever.
My “Haptic HugShrug” is a response to Grandin’s machine, but was created to deliberately eschew technology, and address sensory-sympathetic need at its most basic, primal level. Made from soft Merino wool top, using crochet technique, the shrug can be draped around the shoulder, ‘worn’ or used as a mini blanket or sensory mat to lie on. Its weight provides the sensation of deep pressure, while the softness and warmth of fine Merino wool serves as supportive comfort to the wearer, who is able to regulate the intensity of the ‘hug’ by pulling at the edges or wrapping it tighter, or just placing it over the body.
This version is a smaller one from the original 2012 prototype, reduced in size to facilitate easier manipulation and may be used by young persons, those with movement limitations, or people with smaller physical frames.