Vibrating Vest Project By Aanyah Abdullah


My name is Aanyah Abdullah. I am 12 and I have always had a special connection with children who have special needs. One particular friend of mine named Suhana has cerebral palsy and is totally non-communicative. Yet our bond is based on love and friendship. I have been volunteering at a special needs center at my church since I was six. There I assist in taking care of Suhana and other children who have special needs such as Autism, Down’s syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.

In 2014, I co-authored a book called My Friend Suhana with my mother about my unique friendship with Suhana. The book was hailed by several top reviewers including Children’s Neurobiological Solutions and Special Kids Book Review. The book made the list of 5 Beautiful Picture Books That Educate Children About Special Needs by Friendship Circle Special Needs that was shared by thousands on social media. My essay about my unique friendship with Suhana also earned me an award from Austin Family Magazine in 2015. In 2016, My Friend Suhana earned the prestigious Dolly Gray Children’s Award.


At the special needs center, I rock with Suhana, help her stay comfortable, watch the noise level and hold vibrating toys next to her skin to make her relaxed. When I am not taking care of her, I assist other special needs children with their needs. I am very interested in making Suhana’s life easier and better. Earlier this year, I was researching a sensory gift for my friend for her birthday. When I couldn’t find the right one, I decided to invent a unique gift of a vibrating vest with sensory patches for Suhana.

prototype-smallDuring my research I discovered that vibrating products are very beneficial for children like Suhana and help calm them down. I created this invention over the summer. At first I developed a prototype on paper.

Next I researched the various pieces that I would need for the project. I bought a weighted vest, a vibrating pad and some sensory patches. Then with the help of my neighbor, we stitched it together to my specifications. Next, I tested it out with Suhana and made some adjustments. When it felt just right, I gave it as a gift to Suhana.

She now uses the vest daily at school where her teachers and therapist remark on the vest’s amazing ability to calm Suhana. The entire effort to create the vest from research to production took 3 months.



The gift has brought great joy and comfort to Suhana, according to her mother, therapist and teachers. I hope to enhance this product in future and bring it to more children like Suhana.

Personal Growth

Seeing Suhana relaxed after wearing the vest I created made me joyous. This activity made me realize that I have an innate ability to reach out and be of help to disabled children. Volunteering at the special needs class has helped me understand that individuals can be vastly different from one another. Yet each person is unique in his or her own way, even those who can’t converse or play in the normal way. Parents of children who are neurologically typical as well as teachers should encourage children to bond with those who are different.

My advice to other young people is to follow your heart and drive ahead with compassion. You will find your true calling too.


For this piece of work and my voluntary service to the disabled community, I received the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Certificate of Excellence and President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2016. Soon after, I received the KVUE Five Kids Who Care Award and was featured on the KVUE channel.