Benefits of the Temple Grandin Squeeze Machine
Studies of both children and adults with autism, such as the adult study published in the British Journal of Learning Disabilities in 2007, show a dramatic benefit to deep touch pressure therapy. In the study published in 2007, an adult male with autism gained the same benefits reported in children with the application of deep touch pressure techniques. The researcher reported less physical restraints were required when the patient became anxious, as well as reduced dependence on medication for control of anxiety.
Occupational therapists have long used therapeutic tools such as weighted vests, wrapping a child in a play mat or heavy blanket, and similar techniques to ease anxiety in children with autism. The Temple Grandin Squeeze Machine provides similar deep touch pressure over a larger area of the body than weighted clothing, mats or blankets. Furthermore, the patient controls how much pressure the machine exerts, allowing them to customize the amount of pressure most beneficial for their situation.
In her published paper, Calming Effects of Deep Touch Pressure in Patients with Autistic Disorder, College Students, and Animals, Temple Grandin admits little formal research regarding the clinical use of the squeeze machine exists. However, psychologists and occupational therapists at the Center for Neurodevelopmental Studies in Arizona and Michael Reese Hospital in Illinois, as well as other locations, use machines based on Grandin’s design. All report children with developmental disorders, ADHD, and learning disabilities greatly benefit from using the machine.
These users report children have fewer tantrums, restrictive and self-stimulating behaviors are reduced, and the children report enjoying the machine. While no scientific clinical studies have been conducted to date, the use of deep touch pressure in other clinical settings, combined with reports of squeeze machine users supports anecdotal information as to the machine’s usefulness. Parents of children on the spectrum and adults living with autism-related challenges can easily build a machine themselves with plans Grandin makes freely available online.