Lisa Fraser | Designer of Snug Vest

Photo of Lisa Fraser

Lisa Fraser (Emily Carr University of Art and Design ’10) knows the importance of a hug. While volunteering and working with autistic children, she became familiar with weighted vests that incorporated deep pressure therapy to help calm and soothe the user.

However, she observed that these vests were unattractive and bulky, making a child stand out and appear different. Lisa wanted to change the perception of the vest, and make it more comfortable and stylish. And so began the idea for her industrial design grad project. Putting her creative talent as a problem solver to work, she collaborated with occupational therapists and parents who were interested in a vest that was less restrictive, easy to adjust, comfortable and cool to wear. Over time, with research and user trials, her design evolved and she is now the founder and CEO of Squeezease Therapy Inc. The vest is used not only by people affected by autism, but also those with anxiety disorders such as ADHD.

One of the defining components of the Snug Vest is that Lisa has employed an inflatable pump that provides adjustable and evenly-distributed pressure to the sides, shoulders, and back of the torso for a comforting hug-like squeeze without the added pressure that traditional weighted vests place on the stomach or chest. Users have the ability to control their own levels of comfort, and this has proven particularly beneficial for individuals who often don’t verbally communicate.

The Snug Vest is not only a winner with parents, children and occupational therapists, but a recipient of many international awards including the Red Dot Award and the Autism Speaks Community Award, bestowed by the largest autism advocacy organization in the world. Lisa and Squeezease Therapy Inc. have been featured on national television and North American print media including CTV, Huffington Post Canada, Vancouver Sun and others. She now has a team of designers and researchers who work collaboratively alongside therapists, engineers, business advisors, and families to further develop the vest.

In 2013, Lisa won the received the 2013 Carter Wosk BC Creative Achievement Award in the Industrial Design category for her medical assistive device.The BC Creative Achievement Awards honour BC artists whose work is judged to be innovative, original and creative while having a practical function.

In 2014, Lisa was named as one of the 30 under 30 by BC Business Magazine, and Lisa’s Snug Vest is now a finalist in the 2014 MDEA: Rehabilitation and Assistive-Technology Products.

Families should note that the Snug Vest is covered by the Autism Funding Program via BC’s Ministry of Children and Family Development. For more information on the Snug Vest, visit