Thursday, November 19, 2009

Weighted Blankets

I have been researching weighted blankets and lap pads for children with sensory processing disorders. I think it would really help soothe Olivia during eye exams, hair cuts, nail trimmings, etc. I'm thinking it would also help Olivia sit and focus better. I actually think it would be very soothing to even me as I love the feel of a heavy blanket on me (or those weighted vests they put on you at the dentist for your x-ray. . .is that weird?) Anyway, just wanted some input on them. Do they work? Have you seen improvement with them? I've noticed that they are very expensive. Would I (with minimal sewing knowledge) be able to make them? I see great benefits for Olivia and would love to have one for her. I thought the lap ones (or about the size of a pillow case) would work well to take with us to appointments and such. Could I make one out of a pillow case? Lots of questions. . .please let me know if you have experience with them.


abby said...

We asked our OTs about these for Hallie, who is a big fan of deep compression, proprioceptive input, heavy work, etc. Both OTs (private and school) suggested that these be tried in a formal OT setting first, before we either invested in buying/making one or tried it at home. I guess they wanted to see it in a therapeutic setting to gauge her reaction. Not all kids who have sensory issues respond to these (or any technique for that matter)in the same way. And, indeed, the OT at school brought in a bunch of stuff and several have already been ruled out as unhelpful (in Hallie's case, didn't help her focus/concentrate more at circle time; other kids just plain melt down because they get freaked out by how they feel). One seems to be working, maybe, and so that's being tried out still.

Does Olivia have an OT? It might be interesting to see what s/he recommends and see if you can borrow some from the OT first to trial at home.

Kerry said...

Okay I thought I was the only one...I LOVE that weighted apron thing at the dentist. This time around I almost asked if they could leave it on after the x-rays!

McTriplet Mommy said...

Lorne had a weighted vest that he wore most of the day (2 1/2 hours) at his 2-year-old preschool. It really seemed to make a big difference for him with concentration and just the ability to sit still!

What I do when we're out (we never had one for home) is pat his leg, rub his back, etc. Like if we're sitting at the library for story time and he's getting wiggly I sit right next to him and pat his back. He just needs SOMETHING to give him some input - it can be me patting his back or him stomping his feet. You can guess which is more desirable. :)

I agree with Abby though - I'd see what the OT thinks and let him/her see what works before you make a major investment!


Amanda said...

I don't know much about that either..but totally wanted to chime in and agree with the dentist vest thingy...HA!.... maybe me, you and Kerry are all wierd! lol.. it IS calming... so maybe something like that would work... I dunno :) good luck though!

Jodi said...

Kerry and Amanda, Haha. . .we're three of a kind. :)

Heather @ boy, girl, and a pug said...

I had several students try a weighted vest and a weighted lap animal. The vest did not seem to work as well as the lap animal. It just sat across their lap and was something they could rub or pet as needed. I think for the weighted best the OT just used a sleeveless jacket and sewed fishing weights onto it. For a lap weight you could try a pillow with beans and add some fishing weights into it to make it heavier.

I know something that soothes Ella are things made with soft satin material. She loves the tags on her babies or animals. She will rub that in between her fingers of one hand and suck her thumb with the other hand. All kids sooth differently. You'll find something that works for Olivia.

PS You might check out etsy for a weighted vest or lap pillow. Never looked for one there, but you might be able to find one.