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Stephanie Mitelman Creates Senseez Pillows to Help Kids With Sensory Sensitivities

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When Stephanie Mitelman’s son was 2 years old, he was diagnosed with sensory issues. “One of his difficulties was sitting in one place long enough to eat his meal, read a story or sit for circle time,” Mitelman said. “I saw how this made it hard for him to play with other kids or sit in the car.”

At the recommendation of an occupational therapist, Mitelman bought her son a vibrating mat to sit on, hoping the vibrations would soothe him. The mat worked, and soon Mitelman’s son was asking to sit on the mat everywhere he went.

There was just one problem: the mat was large and cumbersome, and couldn’t be used unless it was plugged into the wall. Mitelman searched for a cordless, lightweight and portable alternative, but couldn’t find anything to suit her son’s needs. Eventually she gave up her search and decided to make one herself.

What started as one pillow for her son has turned into Senseez Pillows, a Canadian company that ships internationally. Senseez Pillows are designed to be lightweight, portable and visually appealing for children and teens. In addition to vibration-only pillows, Senseez Pillows has a line of “3-in-1 Adaptables,” pillows that include a weighted pad, hot and cold pack and a vibration device.

“Being part of the special needs community has also helped me grow the business and get pillows to kids they could really help,” Mitleman told The Mighty. “Before I knew it, people were asking me about having larger pillows for teens, or ways to add more sensations by changing the weight or temperature. So, hearing about these unmet needs, I made those too!”

Mitleman knows the pillows have helped her son, and Senseez’s own independent testing shows the pillows have helped other families as well. Of the 23 families surveyed, 67 percent found the pillows helped soothe and calm their children, while 72 percent said Senseez helped improve daily living activities and tasks.

“However far we’ve come accepting neurodiversity, there are still huge gaps in the tools that are available for anxieties and sensory differences,” Mitelman said. “But, by listening to the people who need it most and creating these tools with them, we can make the world a little more comforting for people with special needs.”

Originally published: September 20, 2016
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