By Alison Wyatt – Occupational Therapist
Weighted blankets can help those with a poor proprioceptive sense and are “sensory seeking”. A poor proprioceptive sense can be described as a lack of body awareness and a poor sense of where your limbs are in relation to the rest of your body. A Weighted Blanket applies deep pressure which has been found to calm the body and help the user feel more in tune with their body. This in turns helps relaxation and a sense of well being and can help sleep.
Signs of a poor proprioceptive sense are; clumsiness, rough play, poor fine motor skills, repetitive behaviours such as spinning, rocking and fidgeting, mouthing and chewing on clothes, pens, fingers etc, Poor co-ordination, Difficulty dealing with change and transition.
Who are weighted blankets suitable for?
- Children with ASD
- Children with Sensory Processing Disorder
- Sensory Seekers
- Those who have difficulty unwinding, relaxing and sleeping
- Those who have a short attention span and are easily distracted
- Those who show tactile sensitivity
- Those who have a poor awareness of their body or body position
- Those who display self-stimulatory behaviour such as rocking, twirling and chewing
What weight do I need?
Occupational Therapists recommend a weighted item (blanket/lap pad/vest) is 10% of the person’s body weight, plus 1-2Ib
|Persons Weight||Suitable weight||Persons weight||Suitable weight|
|2-3 stone (12-19kg)||1kg||6-8 stone (38-51kg)||4.5kg|
|3-4 stone (19-25kg)||2.5kg||8-10 stone (51-64kg)||6kg|
|4-5 stone (25-32kg)||3kg||10-12 stone (64-78kg)||7kg|
|5-6 stone (32-38kg)||3.5kg||12 stone (78kg+)||8kg|
What type of weighted item?
Blanket – comes in various sizes to be draped around the shoulders, over the knees or to cover the child whilst laying down.
Lap pad – square or rectangular weighted pads that are used on children’s laps whilst they are sat at the table/ desk or in the car to aid concentration and reduce fidgeting.
Other weighted items such as weighted hoodies or backpacks are also commercially available.
- Weighted items aren’t suitable for babies, children or adults who cannot move independently.
- Ensure that the blanket does not cover the users face and never use the blanket as a restraint. The user should be supervised and be able to self-remove the blanket.
- Ensure that the blanket is the correct weight for the user – please see the weight guide above. You should not exceed the blanket weight recommended below unless instructed by a qualified health professional such as your Occupational Therapist.
- Check the blanket on a regular basis for signs of wear & tear. If threads are coming loose or there are signs of beads escaping you should stop using the blanket immediately.
Hand Wash or Machine wash on a cool wash (30-40 degrees C) and allow to dry naturally. Do not tumble dry. Do not Iron. Do not Dry Clean.
For more information or advice contact: firstname.lastname@example.org