One of the best ways to develop and improve products, for use by occupational and physical therapists who work with children, is to meet them in person and hear what works - or doesn't work - in the field. Children can be challenging clients to treat because, quite often, their focus is on "being cool" and "fitting in" with their peers, rather than achieving strength, stability and coordination.
"OTs have lamented to me that kids don't want to wear compression clothing," says Diana Hohmann, senior brand manager for Giant Leaps™. "Kids with Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Sensory Processing Disorders (SPDs) and more, who need the benefits of deep pressure - such as posture bolstering, alertness, mental focus, body awareness, etc. - don't get excited about putting on drab, uncomfortable compression clothing and then wearing it in front of their friends. And I don't blame them!
"That's why our team spent a lot of time choosing the perfect fabric for, and designing, our new Giant Leaps Compression Garments," she explains. "We were looking for durability, versatility, functionality, and, above all, fun! And we're already getting great feedback from OTs who've tried the garments with kids of all ages. 'It's cool!' their clients tell them. And that's what we were going for."
"Cool" is right: the new garments were created with a superhero theme for both boys and girls. That means that kids can wear them to school, and to playtime, with pride. "We really tried to tap into the minds of children during the design process," Diana says. "Our brand managers have children and have worked with children in educational or therapeutic fields. That experience, combined with the wisdom of people we meet at seminars, conventions and trade shows, helped us come up with an innovative concept.
"Not only do we have superhero garments, but we've added flourishes like belts and headbands - separately or as complete sets, which are functional as well as neat to wear. I probably shouldn't peel back the curtain," she confesses, "but, when it came time for the product photo shoot, our models never wanted to take these compression clothes off. That's why many Giant Leaps and Flying Start™ new products feature photos of kids wearing the garments. We really nailed the fun part of our intention!"
Giant Leaps Compression Garments have been designed for up to 174 lbs., and their creators recognize that not every kid is into superheroes: "One of the best aspects of the fabric we chose is that it can be discreetly worn under clothing," Diana explains. "So if you're working with a child who wants to wear jeans and a sweatshirt - or even a school uniform, he or she can put those clothes on over the compression garments. We also worked with stripe and floral accents for older kids or kids who aren't looking to stand out from the crowd as costumed heroes."
Compression Garment fabric has been designed to feel like a second skin, and it doesn't restrict movement. It's made from high quality, four-way stretch tricot (80% nylon and 20% spandex) that's machine-washable. The Nylon/Spandex blend allows it to retain its shape, which makes it especially effective at providing neurological proprioceptive sensory feedback. The fabric feels soft and silky to the touch and has been dyed for style so that no pieces of fabric - even the "cape" - hang off the main garment, making the clothes safe and thin enough to be worn under street attire.
"We're especially proud of the faux cape," Diana says. "If you've had trouble ensuring that your young clients wear their compression clothes, you're in for a real treat! Don't be surprised if they soon ask specifically to wear 'the clothes with the cape!'"
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About Diana Hohmann COTA, Senior Brand Manager for Giant Leaps
Diana has been a member of the FlagHouse team for five years and currently serves as the Senior Brand Manager of Special Needs Pediatrics. As a certified occupational therapy assistant with more than a decade of experience, she worked extensively with children and specifically with children with autism. Diana is proud to be a member of the Special Olympics Young Athletes™ Advisory Board and a past recipient of the Sensory Processing Disorders Foundation's "Sensational Business Member of the Year" award.
About Expert's Choice
At FlagHouse, our Brand Managers are constantly developing new products and programs designed to help integrate learning and more into the lives of children as well as children and adults with special needs. Each month, we bring you an overview of how a product or program can help bring learning, fun or active play to your population. Our goal is to introduce potentially new concepts to our valued customers in the hopes that these integrative solutions may expand the range of your programs and services.