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The SPD Companion, Issue # 024-- Make Your Own Weighted Blankets
April 03, 2008

Finally, the hopes of spring are coming! I don’t know about you and your kids, but we have a major case of “cabin fever”! Winter can be tough for our SPD kiddos… outdoor activities, sensory diets, and good proprioceptive input are easier to do when the weather is nicer for sure. I hope you have survived the colder weather and being cooped up inside for months.

Before we begin with our topic of the month, I would like to give you some updates… personal and regarding the website. First, as many of you know, it has been a rough couple of months for me… major changes with moving, my own health issues, and family illnesses. All is finally starting to settle down. I will be in my new place by the time you receive this newsletter. I am so excited about it as it will allow me to spend even more time with my daughter.

As you may know, from my newsletter, The Rest Of My Story my daughter spends part of her week with me and part of it with her Dad. Due to circumstances beyond my control, we had too much physical distance between us for the past few years, but now we are living just 20 minutes away from her dad. This is great news!!! She is officially 13 now… a teenage girl needs her mom more than ever! I am thrilled to be able to spend every moment I can with her. She is a beautiful and intelligent young woman and is maturing every day, right before my very eyes. I am so proud of her. And I am thrilled to be so much closer to her physically now!

Despite our physical distance we have always had a wonderfully close emotional relationship. This is still true and we can get even closer now (as close as a teen lets you, hehe… but, so far so good!). I am working hard on helping her mature and develop socially… something we really need to concentrate on at this point in her life. Her SPD, anxiety, and other influences can and have made this difficult for her much of the time. But, we are making progress now more than ever. I am thrilled to see this happening for her!

So, changes in my living situation and health issues have brought some temporary "chaos" and affected what I have/have not been able to keep up with on my website. Things should start to improve here soon. Did anyone notice the change in the help line? First, I had to temporarily take the button down this month as the back log was too much for me. It was still functioning, but only from the Contact Us page , not a button on every page. This certainly helped me get caught up! I am amazed how many submissions come in! Because of the volume of submissions, and my family and my own health issues, sometimes I can’t keep up. My apologies about this, and to anyone I still haven’t answered submissions or emails from… I am getting to them.

And, as I wrote on my blog, there have been technical problems this past week that have not even allowed me to post or answer ANY submissions or comments that have come in. I hope you got that message, and, again, I apologize for this delay. I am keeping close tabs on the program that allows me to post your submissions and comments and hope to have this resolved SOON! We will be back in business from there. Thank you for your patience with everything!

I don’t want to see this section "die" if I am having a rough time (which my own health issues often dictate). So, the format has changed. I will still answer questions as I can, but it will also be a community that is primarily led by all of you! It is a place to express thoughts, share ideas, resources and support. You all have such wonderful responses to each other and I want to see this continue! So, please read the NEW format of the SPD Help Line and keep up the great support and communication for and with each other. I am so thankful for all you guys do to help each other and every contribution you make!! Oh, and the button for the help line will go back up, back to its more obvious place soon! I hope you continue to use this wonderful opportunity for a community support system. I also hope everyone continues to contribute and read the submissions. And, make sure you have signed up for my RSS feed or check the What’s New button (The SPD Companion Blog) often for the latest submissions.

Thanks in advance for your support and understanding on this.

Ok, that’s it for the updates!

On to our topic of the month… Making Your Own Weighted Blankets And Other SPD Products!

Therapies and products are expensive… bottom line! Anything we can do to lessen the cost is always important and appreciated. One of the most basic and beneficial products that helps our SPD kids (or adults) are weighted products. They give us the proprioceptive/deep pressure input our bodies need and crave. It is this input that calms and regulates our nervous system and can make such a huge difference in: how organized our bodies feel, how well we can get to sleep and stay asleep, our sense of muscle and joint movements, for receiving proper feedback regarding body awareness and position in space, staying grounded (physically and emotionally), successfully transitioning from one activity to another, or sitting still in our chair, etc.

The benefits of weighted products are many and studies continue to be done on their effectiveness, and so far they are very promising for positive results! Here are a few I found on the internet (but more are found in OT publications that I do not have permission to copy or post in their entirety; you can find them in libraries and scholarly journals)…

Modified version of the 2007 AOTA presentation by Champagne, Mullen & Dickson: Exploring the Safety & Effectiveness of the Use of Weighted Blankets with Adult Populations

Effects of a weighted vest on attention to task and self-stimulatory behaviors in preschoolers with pervasive developmental disorders

The use of a weighted vest to increase on-task behavior in children with attention difficulties

Benefits of weighted products:

FAQ's About Weighted Products, Their Benefits, And Their Role/Use For SPD

FAQ's About Weighted Vests And A Link To A Weighted Vest Pattern

The Therapeutic Use Of Weight

More about weighted blankets and the use of weighted vests

Making your own weighted products…

Are you looking for good information regarding what your weighted products should be made out of and how they should be created (read the whole page through to the end, including links)?

If you are going to make your own, this is a great place to begin! Click here for thorough information by

FAQ’s about size and weight of blankets

General FAQ’s about weighted blankets

Articles with instructions that will help you make your own weighted products…

The Therapeutic Use of Weight

How To Make Your Own Weighted Blanket Or Lap Pad

How To Make Your Own Weighted Vest

Pattern For Weighted Blanket (about 1/3 down the page, in weighted blanket section you can click on link for pattern)

Weighted Blanket Pattern

Weighted Lap Blanket (includes pictures with instructions!)

How To Make Homemade Sensory Kits

Make Your Own Therapy Tools and Toys

Or, try this one: The 2 in 1 Guide To Making Your Own Weighted Blanket And Weighted Vest!

Another great resource: How To Make Your Own Weighted Blanket And Weighted Vest

Alternative weighted products to consider…

The Miracle Belt: a new innovative weighted product!

"CHILDREN: The Miracle Belt is a pediatric weighted belt providing sensory processing benefits for infants and children who weigh less than 75 pounds.

ADULTS: The Sensory Belt is a weighted belt providing sensory processing benefits for children, teens, and adults weighing more than 75 pounds. (Uses and benefits are similar to weighted blankets and weighted vests)..." As reported by the makers of the wieghted belt (Miracle Belt):


o Increases Body Awareness

o Improves Balance & Coordination

o Increases Focus & Concentration

o Improves Comprehension & Learning

o Dramatically Reduces Hyperactivity

o Maximizes Benefits of Therapy Sessions

o Increases Therapy Carryover

The Sensory Belt benefits children & adults with:

o Autism

o Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

o Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

o Angelman syndrome

o Aspergers syndrome (AS)

o Ataxia

o Cerebral Palsy

o Down syndrome

o Dyslexia

o Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)

o Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD-NOS)

o Peripheral Neuropathy

o Rett syndrome

o Sensory Integration Disorder (SID)

o Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

The Sensory Belt is helpful in these therapies:

o Behavior Therapy

o Occupational Therapy

o Physical Therapy

o Speech Therapy


o At Home

o At School

o At Work

o During Therapy

Another possibility… TheraTogs… Click Here for some great examples in getting insurance reimbursement and coverage… diagnostic codes and a letter to insurance company

More about TheraTogs can be found at:

Students create inflatable vest to aide deep pressure therapy

I do hope this information is helpful to you. Since I have no sewing abilities whatsoever, I figured I would just provide you with the information that is out there. I, personally, bought my daughter a beautifully crafted weighted blanket from a year ago. She loves it! And it really seems to help her! But, they ARE expensive, so if you can’t afford to have one made, I hope you know how to sew or know someone who can. Making your own is a great alternative!

Remember, kids and adults can both benefit from these! If you have SPD, I highly recommend regular use of weighted products. Be creative… you can make anything weighted, really. Talk to your OT about what to use, how often to use it and how much weight he/she suggests for your particular child. And have the OT monitor its use and effectiveness.

Good luck!

Happy sewing.

Happy spring!

Don’t forget to start using those trampolines in the warmer weather… fantastic proprioceptive input!

Until next time my friends…

Take good care. Michele Mitchell

And, just a reminder... if you do not receive your newsletter any month in particular, please let me know so I can double check you are on the list. If you are on the list, know that sometimes they bounce (or end up in a spam folder, they shouldn't, but it could)... to help prevent this please add this address to your approved email addresses;

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