There are many benefits to weighted blankets to help children with special needs. They provide a calming effect since they provide kids with a sense of deep pressure — something children with ADHD and autism crave.
Weighted blankets also help with:
When bombarded with their senses, these blankets (and weighted vests) help children process their emotions. Here are some other benefits of weighted blankets.
Helps Them Find Themselves
When your child uses a weighted blanket, it may help them get an understanding of things like their body positions, how their movements work and even their relationship to the world. Weighted blankets allow kids to handle their emotions and sensory processing. They stimulate sensory input kids need to handle their environments or certain situations.
Helps With Sleep
Children with ADHD find it difficult to sit still and focus during the day. Bedtime can pose a problem for some children. Because of their ADHD, many kids find it difficult to fall and stay asleep at night.
Fortunately, weighted blankets provide these children with an all-natural, chemical-free alternative to harmful medications. Occupational therapists have used weighted blankets for years as a natural sleep aid for kids with ADHD. In fact, the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders published a study in 2015 that found when kids used weighted blankets, their sleep time increased. It was easier for them to fall asleep at night and in the morning, they woke up more refreshed.
Helps Them Focus
While wearing a weighted vest, kids with ADHD showed improvement in their:
- Task completion
- In-seat behavior
There were reduced self-stimulatory behaviors like stimming and fidgeting.
If you have a child with Autism, you are probably well familiar with meltdowns. They’re probably something you’re dealing with on an almost daily basis. Meltdowns are quite common in autistic kids whether they’re dealing with unexpected changes or sensory overload and these can be extremely difficult to handle sometimes.
Thankfully, just a simple “hug” from a weighted blanket can help Autistic children calm down from a meltdown. They may even prevent one from happening. Kids with Autism are low in serotonin. Serotonin is an essential chemical that induces relaxation and regulates the mood. Weighted blankets increase the body’s serotonin which helps kids relax and feel more safe and grounded.
Whether your child has Autism, ADHD or any other special need, they may benefit from a weighted blanket. You can talk with their pediatric occupational therapist about the numerous benefits as well as which blanket would suit your child’s personal needs the most since there are many options available.