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Welcome to Sensory Direct
Sensory Direct was born out of necessity back in 2005 following our son’s diagnosis of Autism in 2003. In addition to his Autism, Ethan hardly ever slept and was on the go constantly – running up & down the hallway, spinning, swinging his arms, jumping and generally banging and crashing into everyone and everything. He couldn’t tolerate certain noises such as the vacumn cleaner and absolutely hated trips to barbers! We didn’t know it at the time but these were all classic signs of Sensory Integration Disorder.
The whole family was affected especially by the lack of sleep and by 2005 things had not improved and we were at the end of our tether! Our paediatric consultant prescribed melatonin which helped a little but we did not want to rely on them, so she suggested a weighted blanket - something we had never heard of. We “googled” and managed to find some sites selling them in America – but the import costs and shipping meant we couldn’t afford one. So with some remnants bought from the rag market and 6lbs of value rice we (when I say “we” I mean Ethan’s Mum!) made one – all be it rather pessimistically – we found the whole concept rather strange and didn’t hold much hope.
That first night with his blanket Ethan settled quicker than usual and woke up only once. The next night he slept right through for the first time in 5 years – the effect for us was truly miraculous
We discussed the results with our consultant and were asked to make one for the O.T. They were so impressed they kept it and started loaning it to other parents. We were thrilled at the prospect of being able to help others in our situation and that’s how it all started.
Now that things had started to improve at night time, we wondered whether weight may help during the day. Taking Ethan out was still a bit of an ordeal so his Mum made a rather ingenious jacket with some weight on the shoulders. We would use this on shopping trips and other outings – when he started to get over stimulated or distressed we would find a seat or café and put his weighted jacket on – Ethan has little language but we could physically see the calming effect. The weight seemed to “ground” him and at times he would almost sigh with relief when we put the jacket on him.
Over a period of time we developed both our weighted blankets and weighted jackets, improving them and adding to the range. We now manufacture the blankets, jackets, lap blankets, wrist weights etc from our small unit in Worcester and have a small dedicated team of skilled seamstresses. We are serious about quality and all of our own manufactured products have been tested – they carry the CE mark and are registered Class 1 Medical Devices with the UK regulatory body (MHRA).
As parents ourselves we understand the need for well thought out high quality products that actually work and will not break the bank. We know from experience that you can spend a small fortune on products not knowing if they will work or not – which is why we offer a no quibble returns policy.
Ethan’s other sensory issues led us to seek out other products such as Ear Defenders, Chewys and other suitable toys – these were not always easy to find. In addition to the blankets we developed our own Chewy (the Chewbuddy) and we also sell an ever expanding range of therapy products and toys from other carefully selected manufacturers.
We hope you find what you are looking for on the site – if not please let us know. If you have any specific requirements or ideas please let us know and we will do our utmost to help.
Andrew & Anjee Caws