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 ordered!"
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 arounds!
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 sleep?
Then weighted blankets can help!!
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, will.
...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 help.
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 experience, ideas, questions, or suggestions about weighted blankets? Share them with the readers of Sensory-Processing-Disorder.com
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
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A sensory room is extremely therapeutic for both children and adults with, or without, sensory processing/sensory integration disorders.
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