Website: Children's Harnesses by Elaine, Inc.
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Sunday, 2 January 2011

How I started making Harnesses for Children with Special Needs

It was not my own doing.

I had designed my Child Harness in September 2006 and by October, I was quite happily in the process of setting up my business and selling my new design at trade shows and off my fledgling website. I was a happy stay at home Mom with my new little business and my 2 little toddlers. Office work and the 3 1/2 hour commute was a thing of the past and I was filled with joy at the new direction my life had taken.

That lasted 2 months.

In December (2006) I was at a local trade show when a woman stopped by my booth and asked if I did custom orders. Her friend had a 9 yr old son with autism and she had to tie him on a rope whenever she took him out. I told her of course I would help and gave her my business card to pass along to her friend. She left my booth and I turned into the corner and started to cry. I was so completely and utterly overwhelmed by the thought that something as simple as one of my harnesses could help that Mom and her precious boy. The joy I had felt before was nothing in comparison to what I experienced then. Like standing on the bank of a pond and being fulfilled by the sight, I had seen the ocean and been overwhelmed.  

God has directed my life in so many obvious ways in the past that the examples I could give would keep another blog going for years. And here it was happening again. So you see, it really isn't my own doing that I make harnesses for children with special needs. Sure I operate the sewing machine but it's really God's work in action and I believe in giving credit where credit is due.


  1. Elaine, what a touching story you share. Thank you. I can relate to the woman who visited your booth as I have an autistic son myself. Thankfully, he only has mild autism so doesn't require a harness but it is wonderful to know how caring people like you give us support and help as needed. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Oh my goodness Ruth, thank you for your beautiful comment. Really, I'm so blessed doing what I do and even after 4 years I still find it to be very humbling and emotional. Some of the stories my customers tell me really get me - I do a lot of crying at my laptop LOL! God bless and Happy New Year to you Ruth. E

  3. Thanks for the insight into your story! I remember using a harness on my 2 year old. Her only problem was having more energy than her mom;)
    A woman at the mall said to me that what I was doing was child abuse. I told her no; child abuse would be letting her run out into traffic.
    Happy New Year!!

  4. Well said!! Thanks for checking in Laurence and Sidney, Happy New Year to you both. E

  5. Your story made me tear up, Elaine.
    I am SO thankful that I found you! About a week after we got the one we ordered for my son, he asked to wear his monkey backpack to the school bus stop and just as my husband started out the door, my son pulled and the tail came off, with a broken hook... I know that the harness you made for him will last a good long time, with no worries about the lead coming unhooked by accident or breakage.
    He likes it so much, that he'll bring the bag to me when it's time to head out the door.

  6. Hey OneCuteLadyBug, great to hear from you! You're not the first customer who has told me about a broken animal backpack harness but I'm still sorry it happened to you. Wonderful that your little guy likes his new harness and cross-my-heart, you won't have any problems with breakage of my product!! E

  7. This is not the first time I've heard about those plastic hooks breaking under load. In another blog a parent related how the child strained against her, the plastic hook broke, and the child fell on his face. I'll bet that the manufacturer of that hook, never intended it to be used under that great a load.

  8. Hi EmptyNester7985, I'm so sorry to hear that another parent had problems with the plastic snap hooks and d-rings. But I'm also not surprised. As for the manufacturer of those products, I'll not be as kind as yourself. If they were a parent, they would know the strength of a 2 yr old and never opt for single-row stitching or plastic attachments on their products. Initially I felt a little silly using metal snap hooks for the detachable leads on my own harnesses but quickly knew it was the right decision to make. Quality first and foremost. E