About Leslie Brooks, founder of Hippo Hug Weighted Blankets in Calgary, Alberta Canada

Since she was young Leslie has always had an affinity for working with people who needed extra care and attention; ranging over her career from Sunday School Teaching to Intense Behaviour Therapy. During university in Calgary, Alberta, Leslie worked in a nursing home in the UK as well as with a family with several physically disabled children. Leslie began her full-time career working with children with autism at the Society for Treatment (STA) of Autism in Calgary as an Early Intervention Therapist (EIT) after receiving a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Calgary.

While working at Society for Treatment of Autism (STA), Leslie held several positions, gaining a wide knowledge of all degrees of autism and different interventions used in treatment. She started as an Early Intervention Therapist (EIT), working with preschoolers ranging in age from 18 months to 5 years old. In this role she was the primary person who executed intense behavioural intervention as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Later Leslie joined the team of Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) as a Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA); here she focused on speech and alternative communication from a consulting standpoint. This role also developed into a split as an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) where Leslie would focus on the sensory and physical aspects as a member of the Occupational Therapy (OT) team. The last role Leslie held at STA was as a supervisor of the Husky Energy Centre for Autism (HECA), which is a residential treatment program for children aged 7 to 17 whose behaviours are so severe they cannot stay at home.

As a supervisor Leslie worked on all levels of a child’s programming and therapy, from dealing with family, to developing skills in a home-like environment, to coordinating with schools.

Then unexpectedly Leslie had the joy of becoming a mother. At this point Leslie made the choice to stay home full-time in Calgary, Alberta with her son. Leslie worked part-time as a home therapist for high-functioning school-age children with Autism; again doing intense behavioural intervention. And then as a behaviour consultant under the direction of a psychologist, here Leslie was the one primarily responsible for writing the behaviour programs and ensuring consistent implementation by the therapist working with each client.

It was while creating a program to aid a family in Calgary, Alberta with their child’s behaviours surrounding sleep that Leslie mixed her sewing skills with her deep Autism knowledge base. Leslie created what could be called Hippo Hug’s first product, which was a specialized sleep sack designed to offer deep pressure during sleep as well as preventing the client from accessing their diaper. A year went by as the idea that this could be a business germinated in Leslie’s mind, then Hippo Hug Weighted Blankets was created.