This is a guest blog post by Nick Cocchiarella, a journalism student at the University of St. Thomas. Nick is blind and autistic.
Deep pressure therapy.
That already sounds a little scary, doesn’t it? A therapy technique meant to… well, put pressure on someone? What is this?
Deep touch therapy (DTP) is actually a firm tactile input on the body that compresses muscles and joints. Many people with neurological diversities and other sensory needs use it to help calm themselves, and it can take the form of a firm hug or cuddle, putting on a weighted vest or blanket, or—
Yeah… I guess putting your shirt on in the morning and getting instant DTP is a thing now. Thanks, Molly!
Molly Fuller was inspired to create shirts that provide deep pressure therapy after observing children with autism at Cincinnati Children's Hospital who had to wear heavy, weighted vests that made them not feel very cool. Molly Fuller met Michelle Maryns at a Service Design Jam back in 2013 and together they have been working to provide affordable and stylish clothing for people with sensory needs. Both Fuller and Maryns were drawn to work in this space because they both had family members with health conditions that made it difficult to find comfortable clothing that didn’t look so “medical.”s. The two coordinated an Indiegogo campaign during National Autism Awareness Month in April 2018 to create the first batch of compression shirts, and the rest, they say – we hope – is history.
I met the dynamic duo at the Holiday Boutique at U.S. Bank Stadium in early November. The first snow had fallen early, we still held onto the vain hope that the Vikings would make the playoffs this year, and that one Hawaiian Christmas song played over the loudspeaker at least twice—in short, the holiday season had come to Minneapolis. We mingled amongst the clothes on display and spent the morning shirt-talking.
First, I bumbled my way through a few hastily-prepared questions about the company, the clothes, and the women themselves. I then put on one of the shirts, got my picture taken, and walked around the field.
The shirts themselves are black, form-fitting, and incredibly soft. There is a bit of textured rubbery material near the thumb holes on the sleeves that acts as a fidget, and some of them had pictures of wolves on them. When I put one on, it felt less like a squeeze and more like a warm, comforting hug.
Molly and Michelle plan on continuing to cater to the young teen and adult population moving forward. While acknowledging that there is always room to expand on different types of shirts and shirt-like garments, Molly and Michelle hope to bring us something that will transcend the ever-changing fashion trends.
Molly Fuller Design is here to prove that sometimes, being put under pressure really does make us perform at our best.
Most importantly, they are here for the same reason as so many other designers – to make you feel comfortable.