CORNWALL, Ontario – Krista Ryan has been sewing for the past 10 years and now, with her company Sassy Threads, she is making stylish clothes to help kids with autism cope.
Ryan’s own four-year-old son has autism, and she designed a weighted vest for him to wear.
“He hasn’t had a meltdown since he started wearing the vest,” she said “The weight helps him to focus and regulate how he’s feeling. When he comes home he doesn’t want to take it off.”
Some schools already offer a similar type of clothing, but the vests that the school was offering Ryan looked like a big green life-jacket, and Ryan wanted to create something more stylish that kids with autism could wear casually and with confidence.
The vest Ryan created is lined with pockets where the weights are placed. The weights are made to equal about 5 to 10 percent of the child’s body weight.
“My son’s teachers use it when he was to wait to do things like when he’s in line to wash his hands,” said Ryan. “He is very accepting of his routine now.”
Ryan has been making these vests since September, and has also been making a weighted blanket for a similar purpose in mind.
“Fifty percent of adults on the autism spectrum suffer from depression or some sort of anxiety,” she said. “Maybe that would be less if they had a way to cope.”
Ryan recently presented at a Cornwall Innovation Centre (CIC) Pitch Night where the judges awarded her third place and a $500 prize for her to invest in her business.
In 2019 Ryan wants to start producing clothes with special fabric for kids who have sensory processing issues.
Learn more about Sassy Threads on Facebook.