Compression = calm?

So while I was trying to think about what to write and partially avoiding doing it at all, my sister comes home talking about compression suits and autism and other psychological terms that I didn’t understand. So I decided to write a blog on it.

Children with autism can have very different levels of functionality. Early intervention of these children is critical but even then that doesn’t always prevent what is known as an escalation – what the therapists call a tantrum in autistic children. When an escalation occurs, it can be difficult to calm a child down, however studies have shown that pressure placed on and around the middle of the body which can induce a release of melatonin in the body. As a hormone released during the sleep part of circadian rhythm, melatonin calms the body.

Now the suit my sister was talking about is called the Stabilising Pressure Input Orthosis, or SPIO Suit. This specially designed suit delivers a precise amount of compression that provides deep sensory information in the child’s feedback system, using the melatonin. This feedback results in improves positional limb and body awareness, increases precision of muscle activation and improves core muscle/joint stabilisation. Normally, the therapists place pressure on the child by placing a bean bag or cushion on them, this compression suit reduces the need for this physical restriction.

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With many different styles, the SPIO suit is able to be worn under a child’s clothing and isn’t only for autistic children. It can be worn by many types of special needs children, including those with Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy.

If you wanted more information on the suits, the official website is

4 Responses to “Compression = calm?”

  1. Shelby says:

    I haven’t seen it, I’ll have to look it up.

    I personally haven’t seen much of how autism effects families, just the occasional family that comes into my work, but my sister is a therapist that works with autistic children and she mentions how hard it can be when some of the kids escalate. It makes you appreciate being a healthy person

  2. Sila says:

    This is a great development for children with special needs. I watched a documentary by Louis Theroux (extreme love – autism) a few months back and it really brings to light how demanding it is for parents with autistic children.

    It was heartbreaking to see children having an ‘escalation’ and attacking their parents, which would be such an exhausting experience for a mother or father. This is definitely a positive move to help parents and children alike.

  3. Shelby says:

    I didn’t either until my sister started talking about it. One of her kids at work wears one to help his behaviour

  4. CY says:

    Oh wow, I didn’t know such suits exist! Fascinating.