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Autism Helmets for Adults and Children
Problems associated with autism and aging like self-harm may bring forth constant worry and fear for families. A proper headgear allows us to protect loved ones with autism, epilepsy, or even elderly family members who are prone to falls. Over the years, designs of these helmets have significantly evolved. Now, we finally have more choices of autism helmets for adults and kids and get a better day and future ahead for everyone.
What Is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a disability that causes developmental and behavioral challenges. ASD is usually diagnosed during childhood but becomes increasingly apparent through adulthood. Signs and symptoms fall into three categories mainly:
1. Verbal And Non-Verbal Communication - includes difficulties in communicating emotions and interpreting facial reactions
2. Social Interaction - troubles in developing friendships and relationships
3. Repetitive Behavior - includes head banging and self-harming activities
ASD symptoms can range from mild to severe and may cause other medical problems like seizures and sleep problems. People who take care of children or even adults diagnosed with (ASD) may be presented with challenges such as repetitive headbanging.
As there is no cure for ASD, we can most do intervention therapies and protect them from falls and head injuries from behavioral problems. As such, autism has become a crucial health concern that family members should address. So, it is essential always to give them special attention and proper care.
What Is An Autism Helmet?
Autism helmets or special needs helmets are medical helmets made especially for individuals with unique and medical needs. The fear of head injuries from falls brought about by autism, seizure, epileptic episodes can be a daunting feeling for families. These autism helmets come in helpful during these times as they are designed to absorb shock from falls.
Types of Autism Helmets
An autism helmet can either be a hard shell or a soft-shell helmet. The patients' behavior largely determines the type of helmet you will need. And because protecting them from falls is one top priority, and autism helmet has become an essential protective tool for many. These autism helmets may also come with face guards and neck padding to help protect better.
These helmets may also come with a:
• Chin Strap
The key to protection is for these helmets to be securely in place during repetitive headbanging episodes. Other individuals may also use these special helmets for different purposes like:
• Preventing bruises and bumps for children learning to crawl and walk
• Cerebral palsy
• Muscle dystrophy
• Repeated fainting
• Post head surgery
• Other medical problems that cause poor balance or equilibrium
Benefits of Wearing an Autism Helmet
According to medical experts, headbanging provides individuals with ASD a euphoric or anesthesia-like feeling during stressful moments. Thus, individuals with ASD may resort to headbanging to soothe themselves and communicate their needs. These rhythmic habits may also come with body rocking, nail-biting, thumb sucking, or other self-harming actions.
Headbanging is also their way to let you know they are having sensory overload or sensory deficit. And because headbanging often gets their caregivers attention, they continue to use it to communicate their needs. One primary concern from headbanging is the risk of lasting damages to the head.
An autism helmet, a device trusted by medical experts and neuro associations, will help address these concerns. Some of its other benefits include:
• Caregivers' freedom from stress and continuous worry from daily activities of an autistic child.
• Ease the mind from worries of severe brain injuries from headbanging episodes.
• It can aid in the development of a person's independence.
• Safety and comfort while doing activities inside and outside the house.
When To Wear an Autism Helmet
Head injuries can lead to severe conditions. Head injuries may lead to the following:
• Hematomas - a collection of blood caused by damage to the blood vessel.
• Concussions - traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump or hit to the head.
• Contusions - the medical term for bruise as a result of impact from a fall.
• Hemorrhages - the medical term for bleeding and can either be external or internal.
• Skull fractures - an injury where a break in the skull is caused by trauma to the head.
And, we want to protect people who are prone to falls and activities that may cause these head injuries through the use of helmets.
For people with autism, the helmet may be worn daily for long hours or even at sleep to achieve round-the-clock protection. Yet, to best determine how often or when to wear these helmets will depend on the frequency of seizure, falls, or headbanging activities in affected individuals.
Wearing a protective helmet is even more critical for children diagnosed with severe autism. These patients are more directed to self-injurious behavior like persistent rhythmic headbanging. In toddlers or younger children, these may occur during a temper tantrum.
Not being able to play freely takes away the joy of childhood and these helmets are one way to help children with special needs.
Another age group that can benefit from the use of autism or protective helmets is the elderly.
As people get older, muscle strength may deteriorate, and the bones also get weaker. This event may lead to unwanted falls and injuries.
A protective helmet is also one of the ways we can protect our elderly loved ones. This specific headgear will help protect from head injuries from unwanted falls.
Nursing homes may use these helmets to protect patients suffering from mental problems like Alzheimer's and dementia.
Thus, these helmets are perfect for seniors and other adults who are prone to having fainting spells or balance issues.
Guide to Finding the Right Autism Helmet
Choosing the correct helmet for someone may be difficult because no one helmet is perfect for everybody. To successfully get a properly fitting helmet, you should carefully consider some relevant criteria. Hopefully, this guide will help make this an easier task to accomplish.
Below are some crucial factors to consider:
1. Size and Proper Fit
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all when it comes to getting the right-fitting autism helmet. It is because the size of the helmet will ensure that the helmet stays in place during activities or movements.
To get the proper fit, you should have an accurate measurement of your child's head circumference. To do this, you will need a soft tape to measure the head's circumference about an inch above the eyebrows. Measure from eyebrow to the back of the head.
Use this measurement to compare to size ranges indicated in most autism helmets.
Sizes may come in the range of small to double extra-large (S to XXL), and some brands offer pediatric or customized sizes.
To ensure that a helmet is comfortable to wear, it should have:
• Adequate air vents - for breathability
• Enough room for opening and closing mouth;
• And should not cause pressure or sore points on the head.
Since heads come in different shapes and sizes, helmets should have an adjustable system for accurate fitting. Helmets also come with chin straps and sliders to secure the headgear in place. Make sure that these straps are soft and do not irritate the skin on your neck.
The headband has adjustment mechanisms to increase stability when worn. This feature allows the user to change wearing height and length.
It may also come in different buckles or snaps, including pinch-free, Velcro, and magnetic ones.
Helmets may come in either a complete or partial-coverage design.
• Full-coverage helmets are best suited for individuals with sudden and unpredictable bouts of movement. It protects a large part of the head covering from the crown, forehead, jawline, ears, and neck.
• Partial-coverage helmets, on the other hand, are best for less aggressive patients. It is mainly for safety rather than defense. It protects the upper top half of the head.
Helmets may also be worn outside your homes, so they may also come equipped with visors. These visors can either be built-in or clip-on. Also, since some seizure causes a person to fall forward, it may be good to purchase one that comes with a faceguard or a visor.
This factor may be the least essential among others. With the evolution of style and design, helmets nowadays may come in different types and colors.
Helmets may also come in more discreet styles that make them appear like a regular baseball or fashion cap.
For the younger adults, trendier styles will encourage freedom and personal style while experiencing protection simultaneously.
6. Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS)
This protection system allows impact to be absorbed by the helmet during falls or headbanging. An anti-collision sponge that is environmentally friendly is ideal in effectively absorbing the impact from falls. At the same time, the outer part of the helmet is reinforced with a plastic coating for additional protection.
7. Safety Certificates
These medical helmets must comply with safety standards. Check the manufacturer's critical safety tests to ensure that the product can handle these falls.
8. Materials: Exterior and Linings
Ideally, the liners inside the helmet should be made of 100% soft cotton foam for superior comfort, breathability, and sweat absorption. Choose one that allows proper ventilation and heat dissipation and can be worn in any weather.
The outer shell is usually made from polyethylene material.
Cheek pads should be made of soft cotton as they will also be touching the skin.
As one may use this product frequently, even daily, you want to get one that will last for a long time. Consider checking if the material used is easy to wash and does not lose shape when tossed for machine wash.
Guardian autism helmets are commercially available in rehabilitation departments of hospitals and medical supply companies like the Betty Mills Company.
One autism brand available online is the Guardian Autism, Epilepsy & Seizure Helmet. This multi-purpose helmet is specifically engineered for maximum impact protection from falls. It offers good protection around the back and sides of the head. It is suitable for the elderly, those with developmental problems, ASD, and even those undergoing traumatic brain injury neuro-rehabilitation.
It is made with soft EVA rubber foam for both safety and comfort. It is equipped with shock-absorption cushioning that reduces damages from impact.
The outer shell is equipped with LYCRA, a synthetic fabric made from polyester and polyurethane. The LYCRA materials allow proper air ventilation and keep your head cool while worn. This type of fabric is also known for comfort, shape-retention, and freedom of movement. It is also machine-washable and is even wrinkle resistant.
The Guardian Helmet features a hook-and-loop chin strap combined with adjustable laces for easy fastening and secure fitting. It comes in sizes ranging from small to double extra-large, deemed appropriate for the young to the elderly. It also comes in the colors black, navy, and purple to suit your preference.
The helmet is designed to offer complete 360-degree protection with unimpeded peripheral vision during daytime use. Most patients will also find this lightweight head protection gear to be comfortable when worn at sleep.
Quality can be assured as it has gone through many quality-testing activities like contact sports for impact absorption. This medical-grade helmet is FDA-registered and one of the best soft-shell helmets in the market today.
It is not only suitable for use for those with autism but also as a daily care product for
• The elderly
• Seniors who are living alone
• Those with risks of falling from a wheelchair
• People with dementia
Another soft-shell helmet available for sale that we recommend is the Skillbuilders Head Protector from Fabrication Enterprises Inc. This protective helmet is best suited for both young and adult patients with special needs.
The helmet is made from soft but shock-absorbing material and can protect the entire skull, including the head's top, back, and side parts. It protects from the dangers of physical activity, seizures, and self-harm.
This soft-top helmet is easily machine-washable, and the reinforced stitching makes it sturdy. It comes with a hook-and-loop Velcro chin strap to keep the helmet in place during any activity.
The open-top or hollow-top design of the helmet makes it breathable and cool to wear. It is easy to wash and fold for storage.
It is available in black only, and you may want to order one size up for a comfortable and better fit.
It can be used for a variety of purposes too such as:
• A toddlers "learning-to-walk" phase
• Physical activities such as contact sports
• Physical dangers for older adults who have Alzheimer's, dementia, and other mental illnesses.
Indeed, this helmet is a versatile helmet that can serve adults and young ones with special needs.
Proper Use and Care of Special Helmets
1. Before use, ensure that the helmet is fitted to the user's head by getting the right-sized helmet.
2. Another crucial thing to do before use is to ensure that the helmet is in excellent condition and has no signs of damage.
3. After that, regularly inspect for damages due to the wear and tear from frequent use.
4. Never modify the helmet's construction as it may compromise the safety and integrity of the product.
5. Always check the manufacturer's product label for proper care, maintenance, and storage.
6. Ideally, one should wash these helmets with mild detergents and warm water.
7. Make sure that the straps are fastened securely at all times.
8. Replace helmet once damage from everyday use is detected to keep user's safety uncompromised.
9. Wear and tear from daily use may also shorten the lifespan of the helmet.
10. Note that helmets will only reduce the gravity of consequences from falls and bumps. It will not eliminate dangerous factors. Thus, exert extra efforts to:
• Clear the user's room regularly from tripping hazards such as electrical cords, high shelves, or disarranged furniture.
• Provide canes to elderly patients.
• Keep flashlights handy or brighten up dark areas.
• Bring patients to regular medical check-ups.
• Install safety handrails or grab bars.
• Keep them staying healthy through proper diet and exercise.
We can do so much to improve the lives of people with ASD or those with neurological disorders that may come with aging. With a straightforward protective tool like an autism helmet, we allow them to experience a better life despite these problems.
On the other hand, family and caregivers are also freed from the emotional drain that constant worry may bring. It is one of the best and practical gifts that we can give to parents and children. Luckily, autism helmets for kids and adults are one of the many medical innovations that can help many.