The Ultimate Use Of Calming Input
For A Restful Sleep
Weighted blankets are one of the most effective tools for helping those
difficult to calm down, high energy sensory kids.
Does your child have a difficult time unwinding, relaxing, and calming
his/her body for sleep? Then, weighted blankets may be just what "the doctor
These blankets come in a variety of sizes, colors, styles and weights and can
be used for toddlers through adults. Many companies have even gotten quite
creative in their designs, making giant weighted animals, backpacks, and wrap
Do you or your child find yourself shaking your feet/legs, piling stuffed
animals, pillows or layers of blanket/comforters on top of you, or enjoy
sleeping in a mummy-type sleeping bag to drift off to and get a good night's
sleep? Is it hard to get your body to relax and in a comfortable position for
Then weighted blankets can help!!
Children or adults with sensory processing disorders, particularly with
tactile or proprioceptive dysfunction, have a need for the deep pressure input
weighted blankets provide.
Children with excessively high energy levels find these blankets or weighted
lap pads soothing for bedtime or throughout the day. They can bring one to
school for quiet times. They can wrap them around their shoulders or whole body,
or place them on their lap during desk work and reading times for the extra
calming deep pressure input their bodies crave.
Weighted blankets are a simple solution to what often appears to be
complex attention, calming, or sleeping difficulties. Give your child the
input he/she needs and watch "miracles" happen.
Once you try one, you will never believe there was a time you attempted to
survive without one!
You see, one of the most commonly used and "prescribed" therapeutic
interventions in the Occupational Therapy world is the use of weighted products
and treatments that involve what we call "heavy work", proprioceptive input, and
deep pressure. The therapeutic use of weight and "deep pressure" to the muscles,
joints, tendons and ligaments allows the central nervous system to better
interpret and integrate both tactile (sense of touch) and proprioceptive (sense
of movement, body position, and pressure) input.
This therapeutic concept and particular treatment is used in schools,
clinics, homes, and communities world wide. The use of weight and deep pressure
is at the core of almost all OT treatments for SPD. It is safe, effective, and
can make enormous differences in these children! Their families rejoice and
daily life becomes more tolerable, physically calm, and emotionally regulated.
Specifically, weighted products are used for several reasons with children
who do not properly process sensory stimuli/input. The 3 main reasons are:
1. to improve body awareness
2. to calm and improve attention and focus
3. to decrease sensory seeking behaviors
For many children and families, weighted blankets are "life-saving" devices.
With weighted vests, blankets, neck wraps, and lap pads, a child who...
...self abuses, may stop.
...can't fall asleep without excessive help, or stay asleep, may FINALLY
get the proper rest.
...can not stand or sit still long enough to learn or complete a task,
...is constantly touching other people and/or breaking things, may stop.
...exhibits acting out, fearful, or aggressive behaviors when certain
sensory stimuli is presented, may not.
...is distracted and unorganized, may become focused.
...throws tantrums when in loud, busy, public places, may become calm.
...can not successfully transition from one activity to another without
distress, may finally be able to.
Think about it; from the very first minutes we enter this new loud, bright,
bustling world, we are instantly soothed by pressure as a nurse tightly swaddles
us in a blanket. This is PROVEN to be comforting to a vulnerable, undeveloped
nervous system. This is what we also are trying to achieve!
As older children or adults with SPD, we may still need to be tightly wrapped
to calm our over aroused nervous system down. Let me give you an example... did
you know this even works well for individuals with mental illness (and probably
undiagnosed SPD to boot)? Full body restraints are exactly what a person may
need to calm themselves down, therefore they "act out" (consciously or
unconsciously). I have literally been told by teenagers in locked wards that
they purposely behave in away that gets them put into full body wraps/restraints
because it "feels good" and they "finally feel in control". The deep pressure is
what they need to feel "normal" and/or grounded. With the restraint/wrap, the
calming effect their nervous system was needing washes over them.
But, I say... why WAIT until it gets to that point? Weighted products are
all about PREVENTION... being proactive BEFORE we see the behavior! In these
cases, "pressure" is good! Deep pressure will calm and soothe an over-aroused,
disorganized, or "fearful" nervous system. Why put a child in a restraint,
discipline him for something that is not his fault and he can't control, or give
him medicine when it may not even be necessary (or helpful)? We want you to
know, there ARE other options!
IF recommended by an Occupational Therapist who has done a proper
evaluation... why WOULDN'T a parent try weight first? Weighted blankets, vests,
and other weighted products are a therapeutic miracle for so many. And, they are
non-invasive, socially acceptable, inconspicuous and convenient... what a
wonderful way to have immediate, accessible therapy with you wherever you are!
THIS is a gift, a lifesaver! They are an incredible way to bring therapy right
into your home, school, or community when it is THEN that you need the most
Our children are crying out and telling us EXACTLY what they need... we just
need to pay attention and educate ourselves on the options we have to help them!
Weighted products are one.
Do you have any insights about weighted blankets?
Do you have any experience, ideas, questions, or suggestions about weighted blankets? Share them with the readers of Sensory-Processing-Disorder.com
What Other Visitors Have Said
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Ms Not rated yet
I was researching this for a friend and look back over my many years as a mother and a child carer. I can remember my things the children done to bring …
I never knew Not rated yet
I was and always will be a insomniac. My own mother has told me stories of my baby/toddler years and, how I never slept. I still do not sleep.
What weight to use for a weighted blanket Not rated yet
My granddaughter is eleven and she is not autistic, thank God, but she has great difficulty getting to sleep and always asks for heavier bedding. I didn't …
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