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IIT Delhi and AIIMS Invent a Low-Cost Vest That Reduces Hyperactivity in Autistic Children

Scientists at IIT Delhi and AIIMS have invented a vest that can reduce hyperactivity in autistic children, helping them focus and remain calm. The vest is likely to cost Rs 1000 or less.

IIT Delhi and AIIMS Invent a Low-Cost Vest That Reduces Hyperactivity in Autistic Children

Researchers at AIIMS and the engineering division of IIT-Delhi have invented a vest that can reduce hyperactivity in a child. This is especially important for autistic children, as they are prone to fits of hyperactivity.

The vest, made of fabric with sewn-in weights, is likely to costs as less as Rs 1000, while the same vest of companies that manufacture it abroad costs Rs 6000 onwards, up to as much as Rs 19000.

The researchers are now testing the vest on 30 six- to nine-year-old autistic children. “If the results are positive, steps will be taken to transfer the technology for commercial production of the weighted vests,” said Dr Shefalli Gulati to The Times of India. She is the professor and chief, division of child neurology at AIIMS.

By wearing the vest, autistic children are likely to feel calmer, focusing their attention on tasks, and controlling impulse.

Representational image
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Autistic children are usually hypersensitive to stimuli around them, which makes their nerves work overtime. It results in attention deficit disorders such as ADHD. In some foreign-made brands, the vest can reduce their hypersensitivity through touch and regulated air pressure, which feels like a hug. In the indigenous version, the weights replace the air pressure technique. While not an all-out cure for the condition, the vests are useful for children below the age of 10, as they are more likely to be restless.

According to AIIMS and other hospitals, there has been an increase in the number of autism cases. Says Gulati, “between 2002 and 2005, AIIMS used to get two to three cases of autism every month. In 2014-15, we received eight to 10 cases per month. And the latest data, from 2015-16, shows the figure has gone up to 22,” she said.

In India’s first ever survey that counted the number of autistic children, it was found that nearly 10 million children are diagnosed with it. The study, conducted by International Clinical Epidemiology Network Trust (INCLEN), stated that one in 66 children were autistic in India.

April 2 is declared the World Autism Awareness Day, to increase knowledge and acceptability of the condition among people.

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