You no longer have to imagine a colorful, sensory-stimulating, therapeutic sunhat that can calm autistic kids and keep their creative juices flowing!
This interactive hat may be just the trick up your sleeve for keeping your autistic child feeling calmed and soothed during long car rides or other situations that can become overwhelming.
But how was Hativity born?
I hope my story provides you inspiration, compassion, insight, and most importantly encourages you to become an advocate.
I realized my desire and passion to help others when I was in middle school. I provided childcare for a girl with cerebral palsy.
I continued down my path of providing care for vulnerable populations during school, pursuing opportunities in assisted-living facilities and group homes for individuals with cognitive and/or developmental abilities. Notice I didn’t use the word “disability,” because it’s all in how you look at it.
Working in these various settings I unfortunately saw that individuals were not provided with the best of care.
Little did I know, this would later become my mission. I graduated from physical therapist school and obtained a job in an adult day health care center.
I had found the jackpot at this center! They cared for so many individuals with various diagnoses, ethnicities, and cultures.
Treating individuals, I saw the importance of understanding the whole person approach. I was not only helping clients regain strength or ability to walk (which is what physical therapists are known for).
But, I also wanted to know who my clients were and what motivated them. Of course, it was easier when I worked with clients who could have a conversation with me and express their feelings through words.
But what about my other clients who couldn’t tell me?
I turned to my coworkers for guidance. Some of those suggestions included, “Don’t waste your time working with those clients. They are moving around all the time and won’t be able to follow directions.”
This was another wakeup moment. Who are we to judge whether or not somebody could benefit from a service?
Should we at least try? Then we know for certain instead of just guessing someone’s ability. I later realized it wasn’t so much about someone’s ability; it was about the opportunity and motivation provided — that is what drove the ability!
I researched programs to see what I could do to help bridge the gap between how we treated adults with autism.
As expected, there were lots of resources for kids and adolescents, occupational/speech therapy and behavioral support.
But what about adults? What are we, as a society, doing to help these individuals? We have programs to assist with the transition from school, but that is where it stopped.
Another finding was physical therapy is not a regular service provided to autistic individuals. Why not?
During my treatments, gross motor activities were helping to reduce/diminish many of the so-called behaviors of my clients.
Was anyone else in the therapy community experiencing this? How can I make this connection between me as a physical therapist to help more autistic people and sensory integration?
As a working mom of two girls and military wife, I had no time to return to academics to become a board certified behavior analyst, BCBA.
I inquired about other certifications based on my physical therapy education that would provide me more opportunities to work with individuals on the autism spectrum.
This is when I found the company IBCCES and the Certified Autism Specialist program.
Finally, I was certified and ready to market my new credentials and work with autistic clients and sensory integration.
But one of my daughters was becoming very sensitive to smells and movement. She could only tolerate about 20 minutes in the car before the motion sickness and vomiting would start.
We were unable to use over-the-counter medications because she would not accept the texture or taste.
I turned to aromatherapy; it was a perfect option for her. But there was the challenge of maintaining the scent without making the whole car smell or her holding a cotton ball with drops of oil.
As an entrepreneur, inventor of the Little Balance Box, I set out to find a solution.
Being a Southern California mom, I always had sun hats and other sun protection with me. I started to wonder if there was something I could do with a hat.
Is there a way to use aromatherapy with it? This led to the invention of Hativity (Hat + Activity) which is an interactive, therapeutic headwear.
A Hat for Autistic Kids’ Sensory Needs
Unlike traditional headwear, Hativity has six Velcro squares that children and adults can personalize with an assortment of Hativity patches.
The removable, textured patches provide sensory benefits stimulating the nervous system.
It inspires creativity, independence, socialization, learning and more! We pair it with essential oils for the aromatherapy aspect, which has helped my daughter tremendously with her motion sickness.
Hativity is now used by everyone, not only for sun protection, but also for aromatherapy, entertainment, learning and as a fidget.
I hope you feel inspired, to make a difference and be an advocate for others,
Shannon Davis, PT, DPT has a doctorate and master’s degree in physical therapy. A certified autism specialist, she has 14+ years experience providing specialized services for kids and adults with challenges. Shannon is also the CEO of Inspire Create LLc., the parent company of the patented products, The Little Balance Box and Hativity.