Handmade in the UK, the Cuddle Bed™ bean bags and beds were created by entrepreneur Chrissie Lowery after her son was diagnosed with autism and struggled with sleep, and she herself had become unwell with chronic illnesses.
These sensory bean bags and beds are designed to provide an experience that feels safe, and helps draw the child or adult in from anything distracting that might be happening around them. The bean bags do this by offering full body pressure, which is known to help soothe people with autism, relaxing their muscles, relieving the stress they experience from sensory processing and helping them feel secure. The children’s beds are designed to wrap around the child to provide a safe and comfortable space, helping them go to sleep.
Chrissie Lowery said: “My Cuddle Bed business was born out of helping my son get some sleep (along with the rest of the family) and it gave me a purpose in life again. Going from a nurse specialist to a business owner has been quite a roller coaster journey with some real highs and lows but I have learned so much. Although I created the Cuddle Bed for sleep solutions, they are now being used for sleepovers, relaxing in the garden, gaming and camping!”
A sudden sound, a riot of colour, a bee buzzing by… while for many of us these are just normal everyday encounters, for people with autism they can be overwhelming. The world is utterly more complex to autistic people – something we may never have reason to consider – but it affects more people than you might think. And given that it’s World Autism Awareness Week (1st – 7th April), there couldn’t be a better time to do so.
According to autism.org there are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK – that’s more than 1 in 100. If you include their families, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people.*
Sensory items are ideal for helping people with autism cope with all the stimuli around them as they can help reduce the anxiety they experience. Leading high street retailer Robert Dyas has something that could help immensely: bean bag cuddle beds(£44.99 – £89.99) and children’s foldable beds (£49.99 – £64.99) from the award-winning brand, The Cuddle Bed Company.
Chrissie’s innovative company was elevated to award-winning status with the help of Theo Paphitis’s Small Business Sunday SBS. Tweeting Theo Paphitis every Sunday about her business, she was chosen as one of his official winners and became part of the SBS Family, pitching her products to Paphitis-owned Robert Dyas and Ryman. An added bonus is that 20% of all profits from Child Cuddle Beds are donated to The National Autistic Society.
What is World Autism Awareness Week?
World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognised day taking place on 2 April every year. In the week surrounding this day, we encourage the public to take part in World Autism Awareness Week – a full seven days where people across the UK take part in activities to raise money and awareness for the National Autistic Society.
This year, World Autism Awareness Week will be taking place from 1 – 7 April.
How can I get involved?
- Fundraise your way. Sign up to receive our fantastic fundraising pack full of great ideas and resources – including Anne Hegerty’s fiendishly difficult quiz, or trying Jane Asher’s spectrum cupcake recipe.
- Fundraise at school. Sign up and receive a specially tailored fundraising guide for teachers and school staff, which includes free awareness resources and lesson plans. What’s more, every school entry we receive will be automatically entered into our exciting prize draw to win a school visit from Anne Hegerty.
- Join us on a Spectrum Night Walk. Join hundreds of other passionate walkers on Saturday 6 April across London, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff or Belfast, and raise money and awareness for autistic people and families.
- Take on our virtual challenge. Go the distance for the 700,000 autistic people in the UK with our unique virtual challenge, 7k for 700k.
Why we need your support
We’ve come a long way in raising awareness about autism but there’s still more to be done. We need the public’s support to raise vital funds to continue running campaigns and influencing government decision making, training and sharing knowledge with professionals working with autistic people, and so much more – and that’s where you come in.
- £5 could pay for a recently diagnosed adult to call our helpline for support and advice
- £40 could pay for a parent of an autistic child to have an hour-long telephone consultation with our Education Rights Service
- £200 could fund our Parent to Parent service for a day.