The Ultimate Use Of Calming Input
For A Restful Sleep
Printed from Sensory-Disorder-Processing website. Author
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.
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 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.
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
Specifically, weighted products are used for several reasons
with children who do not properly process sensory stimuli/input.
The 3 main
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 products are
With blankets, wrappers, and lap pads, a child
...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
...is constantly touching other people and/or breaking things,
...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
...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
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 a way 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
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 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 life saver! 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.
NOTE: PLEASE check with a representative from
DreamCatcher Weighted Blankets at
www.weightedblanket.net (see link below) or your Occupational Therapist for
the correct amount of weight to use. Current research shows 10% of your child's
weight plus one pound as a starting formula, for weighted blankets. But,
ask what is best for YOUR particular child!
Calm the Body, Mind, Senses and Spirit
with a DreamCatcher Weighted Blanket