Can Hug Machines Help Children with Autism Use Public Transportation?

May 02, 2022

Deep Pressure Provides a Calming Effect on People with ASD

Last month, SafeMinds Shares included a report on research which demonstrated the calming effects that an inflatable arm hug machine provided children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Interestingly, follow up research has already been published that investigates the use of portable hug machines on public transportation. This research was designed to help ease traveling anxieties caused by sensory overload in children with autism. The study, like the previous one, was conducted in Indonesia and was designed to investigate the physiological effects that deep pressure can provide in a crowded travel situation. The current study’s design involved 20 children with ASD (16 boys and 4 girls) with an age range from 4 to 13 years. Similar to the design of the first study, the participants were randomly assigned into two groups. Group I used an autism hug machine portable seat (AHMPS) inflatable wrap model. Group II used the AHMPS manual pull model. In this study, two AHMPS models were installed on a medium-sized bus seat in the same row that was separated by the aisle. Children from both groups had before and after readings of their heart rate and skin conductance in order to measure the physiological calming effect of the two types of AHMPS. Just as was observed in the previous study, the deep pressure provided by the AHMPS inflatable wrap decreased the physiological arousal in children with ASD during travel. The manual pull AHMPS failed to produce the same beneficial response. The study’s authors have again pointed out that the inflatable arm AHMPS out performs the manual pull AHMPS, but this time in a transportation setting.

Original Study

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