SPIO® Stands Alone
We use a high quality, specially milled fabric that is lightweight, wick-able and breathable. The unique SPIO® fabric has high rebound and strong neutral memory that assists the wearer in returning their body to mid-line. Custom-made SPIO® orthoses are available by request.
SPIO® orthoses provide a stronger compression ratio than other products, and:
• Look good
• Feel comfortable
• Fit like a second skin
• Move when the wearer moves
• Work for patients of all ages
• Give the best possible results
SPIO® is constantly developing and improving. We cooperate closely with clinics, orthotists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and doctors.
SPIO® orthoses are protected under U.S. Patents #5782790, #5957873, 29/581,245, 29/581,246, 29/581,248, D820991, D8215901, and D813,403S and are registered with the FDA as a Class 1 Medical Device. Because it is an orthotic – not a garment – it may be reimbursable through insurance if ordered by an orthotist or Durable Medical Equipment (DME) provider.
At SPIO® our bottom line is both financial and social:
- All products are made locally in Seattle, WA
- We pay a livable wage, not just minimum wage
- We believe in fair labor practices
- We participate in our local community by sponsoring and volunteering for local non-profit fundraising events
How SPIO® Began
Our earliest experiences in flexible compression bracing began in the mid 1980’s. In 1994, thanks to seamstress Cheryl Allen and therapist Nancy Hylton, we began a deeper exploration of this therapeutic tool.
Cheryl’s son Brian was receiving physical therapy treatment from Nancy, who was providing hands-on deep pressure that helped Brian. Cheryl began a quest to find a material that could “mimic” Nancy’s deep pressure, eventually creating Lycra pressure shorts for Brian. Wearing the shorts significantly improved Brian’s ability to control movement and bear weight through his trunk and lower extremities.
Cheryl’s second son, Ian, had early sensory-motor difficulties, including abnormally rigid posture, impaired postural control, movement difficulties, and marked hypersensitivity to environmental stimuli. When he was 3 months old, Ian began physical therapy with Nancy Hylton. By 10 months, Ian could sit alone for several seconds but did not have any transitional movements or a means of floor mobility.
One morning during therapy, Nancy wrapped Ian several times with a four-inch wide Ace Wrap diagonally from one shoulder, between his legs, and up to the other shoulder, finishing off with circular wraps around his trunk. When she placed Ian on the floor, he immediately began to commando crawl. Cheryl went home and made Ian a Lycra body suit that duplicated the effect of the Ace Wrap. Within a week, Ian was rocking on his hands and knees and crawling reciprocally.
Wearing his body suit, Ian was less easily over-stimulated by environmental noises. He began to explore his environment in a much more secure and meaningful way. When the Lycra was removed, Ian began to lose function. With the Lycra, a more organized motor plan emerged, and Ian gradually began to show more carryover in function when the Lycra body suit was off. Today Ian can function with his suit off. However, he continues to function better with it on.
By 1996 SPIO® orthoses were being custom made by Cheryl for many of Nancy’s patients. Today, schools, hospitals and therapy centers in dozens of countries are using SPIO® orthoses. What started as a small company in Kent, WA has grown into an internationally respected business.
SPIO’s parent company, Children’s Therapy Center, is the largest and most comprehensive independent nonprofit pediatric therapy program in Washington State. Since 1979, they have provided essential services for children with special needs including physical, occupational and speech therapy; early intervention services; and parent education and support. Last year, Children’s Therapy Center served over 3,000 children in Western Washington. All proceeds made through the sales of SPIO® are used to help fund Children’s Therapy Center’s mission of serving children with special needs, and their families.
1) How do SPIO® Orthoses differ from athletic compression wear?
SPIO® Orthoses are three times as compressive as athletic compression wear and offers precise sizing options for an intimate fit that acts like a second skin. Additionally, the fabric is nearly twice as thick, providing a stronger compression and rebound than athletic compression. In addition, SPIO® orthoses were designed by a clinician to improve proprioception for improved sensory response and motor control. Athletic compression is designed for the sports and athletic market to increase circulation.
2) What is Stabilizing Pressure Input Orthosis (SPIO®)?
Stabilizing Pressure Input Orthosis (SPIO®) assists patients with stability and proprioceptive deficits through deep pressure. Since deep pressure appears to be an important somatic input for balance and movement control, SPIO® is designed to provide and enhance deep pressure sensory input around and toward the midline of the body to improve dynamic stability and postural activation.
SPIO® was developed in the mid-eighties by Cheryl Allen, a seamstress and mother of two children with special needs, with the cooperation of Nancy Hylton, a physical therapist, orthotist, and co-founder of Children’s Therapy Center. To date, SPIO® has five U.S. patents covering the products and methodology. Patent #5782790, 5957873, 29/581 245, 29/581 246, and 29/581 248. SPIO® is registered with the FDA as a Class I Medical Device.
3) Who can use SPIO® Orthoses?
SPIO® orthoses have shown to be effective with kids of all ages:
• Syndromes such as Retts, Angelmans and Down Syndrome
• Cerebral palsy; Athetoid, Ataxia, Quadriplegia, Spastic diplegia, Hemiplegia
• Instability issues
• Hypertonia and Hypotonia
• Brachial plexus injuries
• Autism and Sensory Processing disorders
• And related developmental delays and disabilities
Please note that each individual is unique and results may vary. It is suggested SPIO® orthoses be used with the recommendation of a clinician. The use of a SPIO® orthosis is contra-indicated by patients who have heat-triggered seizure disorders, and/or lycra or neoprene allergies.
4) What are SPIO® orthoses made of and what types are available?
SPIO® is made of a unique lightweight Lycra blend fabric. The multi-directional stretch provides comfort with a strong rebound, aids in compression, is breathable, and comfortable to wear. We offer a variety of systems. If there is a system you would like but don’t see listed, please contact us to see how we can meet your needs.
SPIO® TLSO with neoprene back, attached with hook & loop closure
SPIO® Upper Body Orthosis with zipper closure at back of neck, and silicone hem for anchoring
SPIO® Lower Body Orthosis with elastic waistband
SPIO® Wrist-Hand Orthosis
SPIO® Gauntlets, wraps, or adult sizes (custom orders only)
All SPIO® Orthoses are 100% Latex Free
5) How do I care for my SPIO® Orthosis?
SPIO® orthoses should be washed at least every other day to ensure proper compression. Machine wash with mild detergent in warm or cold water and hang to dry. SPIO® fabric is treated to be hydrophilic, or to attract moisture away from the skin. Fabric softeners absorb onto the surface, negating the hydrophilic finish. Therefore, we DO NOT recommend treating your SPIO® orthoses with fabric softeners. Abuse, altering, or undue rough wear and tear will void the warranty. This includes improper washing and drying in a dryer. The fabric is not fire resistant so the items are not recommended for use at night.
6) Can I return or exchange my SPIO® Orthosis?
Due to the nature of SPIO being worn next to the skin, SPIO Orthoses are not able to be returned. Please ensure your measuremnts are correct prior to ordering or have a therapist complete the assessment/measurement process. Returns are allowed due to manufacturing defects.
If you have questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
7) Do SPIO® Orthoses come in adult sizes?
SPIO® orthoses come in a range of standard sizes designed for children from six months to ten years old. If you are interested is discussing the possibility of a custom garment, please contact us at email@example.com.
8) What is the difference between SPIO® Orthoses and other therapy devices?
The UP Suit or Second Skin, the GPS Orthosis, and TheraTogs primarily attempt to improve bio-mechanical stability by exerting inhibitive and counter-stabilizing forces to manage spasticity, muscle pull, and deformity. The effects of providing deep pressure sensory input through the use of these flexible compression systems are only secondary.
9) My child receives a sense of calm when he wears a weighted vest or has a weighted blanket on him. I find the weighted vest cumbersome. Would a SPIO® orthosis have the same calming effect?
It should. SPIO® provides even circumferential deep pressure throughout the area of the body that it covers. Deep pressure has a calming effect on the sensory system. And unlike weighted products, SPIO® orthoses can be worn continuously all day and have no break-in period. However, the fabric is not fire resistant so the items are not recommended for use at night.
10) Is there a break-in period with SPIO® products?
No. SPIO® orthoses can be worn immediately for all of the child’s waking hours. In fact, it is best for the sensory system to not have the SPIO® orthosis applied and then removed repetitively throughout the day.
11) Will my child accommodate to the compression?
Unlike some other types of sensory input systems, the very intimate fit and extreme flexibility of SPIO® orthoses allow the deep pressure sensory receptors to reset themselves regularly during wear. The result is that there is no accommodation to the input of the orthosis, even with prolonged wear. We have children who have worn them daily for more than 10 years who are still getting great results. Some mistakenly link our compression orthoses with weighted products and believe they are only effective for 10-20 minutes before accommodation occurs. Based on 15 years of clinical practice, this is definitely not so.
12) Is there a carryover effect with SPIO® Orthoses?
Yes. The reason for carryover is that SPIO® orthoses support more adaptive movement. As any movement or “feeling for movement” is practiced, it reinforces the connections for that movement in the central nervous system. The more consistently you wear the SPIO® othosis, the more these movements are practiced, the more carryover.
Carryover also depends on Neurological potential, whether there is potential for more adaptive movements to develop without stability and sensory support. The more severely impaired, the less potential for change or carryover to independent function.
13) My child has reflux. Should I take the SPIO® Orthosis off while they are eating and if so, when can I put it back on?
SPIO® orthoses can be worn while eating. For a child with reflux, try loosening the SPIO® orthosis for digestion. This will work for vests only. If the child shows signs of reflux despite loosening, remove the SPIO® orthosis for one hour and then reapply.
14) My child has a feeding tube that I need access to. Are SPIO® orthoses easy to use and will the compression harm my child or cause the tube peg to leak?
As there are a variety of feeding tubes available today, it is difficult to answer for one specific type. Most are not affected by compression. Simply loosen the vest for feeding. If the SPIO® orthosis is rubbing on the feeding tube peg, a “donut” of foam or orthopedic felt can be used to decrease localized pressure. If this does not reduce the pressure, a small hole can be cut in the material without the risk of the material fraying. However, we view this as a last resort.
15) How long can my child wear the SPIO® orthosis before I need to purchase another one?
With proper care (DO NOT tumble dry!), the SPIO® orthosis should last quite a while. Growth can affect fit, so if you notice the outcome of wearing the SPIO® orthosis has changed, it may be time for a new one.
16) When will I receive my order?
Direct pay orders or purchase orders for standard sizes will usually ship within 24 hours. Standard delivery in the continental United States is 2-6 business days. Custom SPIO orders usually take 2 weeks to manufacture and will ship as soon as they are complete. You should receive your custom SPIO® orthosis order within 15 business days.
17) Is it okay for my child to sleep in their SPIO® orthosis?
No. The fabric is not fire resistant so the items are not recommended for use during sleep time. In addition, the twisting of the seams while the child is sleeping can cause irritation to the skin.