What are they, and why do I use them?
Find the answers below in this blog
Ribcap is a company who sell padded hats in different styles.
They can be found here: http://www.ribcap.ch/
I have two styles of Ribcap, one from the winter range which is a beanie style, and one from the spring/summer range which looks cool, but I am unsure how to describe it in a style.
So have some pictures.
[Image description: a dark grey beanie hat sits in a cord bean bag. It has a black tag on it which says ‘Ribcap’ End description]
[Image description: a light brown Ribcap sits in a cord bean bag. The hat is side on with a visor visible at the front and black straps coming from the Ribcap. The hat has the word ‘Ribcap’ written down the side in white writing. End description]
I firstly got the winter beanie style hat a few years ago and wore it on and off, however it was just way too hot. It is a beanie hat made out of thick material, plus with the padded material inside. So even in winter it was often too hot (lets face it English winters do not get very cold!)
I stopped wearing my Ribcap and it lived in a drawer.
About a year ago I had a bad meltdown on my own in the outside of a hospital. I banged my head over and over against a hard plastic shelter. My head was in agony, was bleeding, and I was most likely concussed. I got home and cried. The next day I realised I needed something to protect my head, as my meltdowns were involving more head banging, when distressed I was punching my head as a self injury stim, or banging my head against walls. I was also having more head hitting tics, and during my tic storms banging my head against the floor.
My mind wandered to Ribcap but knew I needed a cooler hat. So I sent them an email, and looked at their summer range of hats. They emailed me back very quickly and said to look at the summer range and recommended the ‘Hardy’ style hat to me as the one they thought would be the best. It is the one I ended up buying.
Most of their hats come with a chin strap, which can be made looser or tighter, or removed altogether. I took the strap of my beanie hat, but I have kept it on the hat I wear, as it is very useful for keeping the hat on. However I do not make it overly tight due to sensory reasons and also for safety when I have a tic storm.
I wear my Hardy Ribcap everyday now. When I was in a psychiatric hospital for a few months from March to May it was incredibly useful. I had many meltdown, and many tic storms. When I first had meltdowns and was banging my head the alarms were pulled and I was restrained, but staff began to realise that my padded hat meant I didn’t need restraining, I didn’t even need to be stopped from head banging. I needed to be monitored and if I started head banging extremely hard then they would hold a pillow between me and the wall or floor. During tic storms me having my Ribcap on gave staff extra time to get some thing like a pillow to go under my head, as my head was protected. It gave staff that time to safely protect me, to also not need to pull alarms which they were aware distressed me more, and would distress other patients as well. Staff never needed to stop me punching my head whether as stims or tics. There was just the odd time that the strap had to be taken off me due to me attempting to use it as a ligature.
Also in my daily life my Ribcap is so important. I have self injury tics and stims, I have meltdowns, I have tic storms. Often I have these things when I am on my own, and my Ribcap then especially is so very important, and prevents serious injury, prevents bruising.
I do have to have breaks from wearing it. Even though the Hardy Ribcap is a lot less hot, due to my sensory processing disorder I need breaks, as otherwise tactile sensory things make me scratch my head red raw and bloody. So when I need breaks I lie in the middle of my bed, or on my massive bean bag, and do it in a moment when I am not distressed if possible, so less self injury stims. There still may be self injury tics, but I can’t have it 100% safe. Being in the middle of my bed or on my bean bag mean if I have a tic storm or a meltdown then I will only bang my head against soft stuff.
I also love how the Ribcaps are stylish, and look like everyday hats. When I was first looking at protective head gear it was sports gear, or very medicalised stuff. I love how the Ribcap is available in so many styles, and I think the Hardy’s are a great style and suit me whether I am wearing smart clothes, smart casual, or sports wear.
I also love how the Hardy has a small sun visor, which can be flipped up or down.
[Image description: both images show a selfie of the same white person (me Oliver) wearing a black and white top, with tinted lenses glasses on. In both pictures he is wearing the light brown ‘Hardy’ Ribcap. The picture on the left shows it with the sun visor down, and the picture on the right shows it with the sun visor up. End description]
Overall, I really love the Ribcap range, they have a great range of styles of hats, and obviously depending on where you live in the world their summer or winter range may be more suited to you.
If you are disabled and hurt your head a lot due to your disability then I really recommend Ribcaps, they are not cheap, but they have been well worth the money for me in protecting my head and saving me from serious injury or harm.
I guess most obviously they are useful for some: autistic people, people with Tourette’s, people with epilepsy or seizures, people who fall a lot.
My Ribcap is a really vital piece of equipment for me and one of my disability aids.