Do you have a child diagnosed with Autism? Maybe your child is showing signs that they have autism but you have been unable to get a diagnosis from a healthcare professional. Whatever your stage or situation, we’re sure that you want what’s best for your loved one and want to help ease their symptoms. Well, this is where weighted blankets for kids with autism come in.
Having a weighted blanket for kids with Autism can be a very useful tool for caring for a child with Autism. A weighted blanket is simply a blanket with weighted pellets. This is what makes it a therapeutic device for many.
Many parents of children with Autism have sung the many praises of using weighted blankets as a therapeutic device. Weighted blankets have helped calm the children down. However, it’s important to know what exactly is right for your child’s needs. If you are wondering are weighted blankets only for autism then think again. These blankets can help with many symptoms that are associated with similar issues found on the autistic spectrum such as sensory processing disorder and anxiety.
With so many different types out there, which one is right for me? Why do autistic kids like weighted blankets? Also, what’s the science behind it, and why should I believe it? As a parent, it’s important to know these questions, and more, before coming to the conclusion to buy a weighted blanket. However, thankfully, with the help of this comprehensive article, you’ll be able to make a well-informed decision for your child!
Disclaimer: The tips and recommendations given here are intended to be used as guidelines. Do not replace our advice for a registered health professional or therapist’s advice. It’s best to consult with a healthcare professional if you have a special condition.
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The Science Behind It
LifeScience states that weighted blankets have been used in occupational therapy for a while now. In this type of occupational therapy, called “sensory integration therapy”, people with Autism or other similar disorders are encouraged to focus on certain “sensory experiences”.
It is said that this can help the patient’s ability to regulate their overall mood and in turn their behavior, aiding greatly in the overall therapy experience for the patient. Occupational Therapist Teresa May-Benson looks more into this.
Overall, May-Benson states that it’s a personal decision, using a weighted blanket as a therapy technique. If you feel that it could be beneficial to your child, it’s definitely worth giving a try.
Another article, this one by Healthline, speaks on the rise of the popularity of Weighted Blanket, especially in therapeutic ways.
A famous study in 1999 used a machine by Temple Grandin, Autism advocate who is on the spectrum themselves, called “The Hug Machine”. This study made strides in sensory integration therapy, and ultimately, found “deep pressure stimulation to be beneficial to people with Autism.”
This study consisted of 67 children diagnosed with Autism, from ages 5 to 16. In the end, both participants and their parents, when given the choice between a weighted blanket or a normal blanket, giving the weighted blanket an obvious preference for both child and parent alike.
Now that we have answered what does a weighted blanket does for a child with autism, it’s time to think about whether a weighted blanket is the right choice for you. Various factors, such as age and where your child is on the spectrum all come into play when deciding if to use a weighted blanket, and this simple questionnaire is perfect for learning if these blankets are right for you!
The first thing to know is how old your child is. For children aged 9 and younger, get a lightweight blanket. A good note of rule is to get 10% to 12% of the child’s body weight.
Secondly, does your child have Autism? If so, it’s important to understand the risks of these blankets, especially for younger users. Get the right weight and size.
Next, an important question is, specifically, how much does your child weigh? This information is vital. Using the 10 to 12% body weight mentioned earlier, you can figure out what blanket is perfect for your child’s needs.
Lastly, does your child like physical contact, or prefers their personal space? This is great to take into account, especially since Sensory Integration Therapy is mainly based around the touch sense. Make sure that a weighted blanket is something your child would like before investing.
Are Weighted Blankets Only for Autism?
Originally, they were produced to help people with autism but things changed. Weighted blankets have proven to help with other disorders. This list below is not exhaustive, however, It does show a wide variety of uses:
- Sensory Processing Disorder – Believed to be on the spectrum scale, weighted blankets work well for those suffering from sensory overload. When a child (or adult) is unable to process stimulus from their surroundings, the light pressure felt from a weighted blanket can distract their mind and help them to focus on something.
- Sleep Disturbances – The weight of one of these blankets at night is enough to help people move from light sleep to deep sleep very easily. The increase of oxytocin produced by the pressure on your body helps to aid relaxation and as such keeps you in a deeper sleep for longer.
- Restless leg syndrome – Again this is down to the sheer weight being applied to your limbs to stop the from feeling restless. You will find that as they are stimulated throughout the night that you will suffer less throughout the day as well.
Weighted blankets have not always been widely available and while many companies now provide them for a fraction of their original price, they don’t always have the quality that they should. When buying a blanket such as this, it is really important to try and buy the best you can for your budget. Looking at the materials such as the quality of the filling, the weighted beads, and the outer layer is important when making such an important purchase. You not only want to make sure that it is safe for your child but you also want to know that your weighted blanket is going to last.
So Which One Is For Me?
All safety precautions aside, weighted blankets are a great choice for those with children that have Autism. However, choosing the right one for your child is vital.
Choosing for an Autistic child can be difficult, as their moods and preferences seem to change indefinitely, however, making sure that it’s one that they’ll love is important, so try shopping with your child, to ensure that you pick the right one for them.
As well as this, make sure that you get the right weight for your child, as getting the wrong weight can be dangerous for the child. As mentioned before, using the rule of thumb 10 to 12% of the child’s body weight is a great way to make sure that you’re getting the right size for them.
After answering the questions in the questionnaire, it’s important to take those findings and implement them in your weighted blanket search. Keeping this in mind, taking all of these things into consideration will ensure your success in finding the perfect weighted blanket.
The benefits, while arguable, are vast and can certainly provide a better night’s sleep for your child. There’s a reason that so many parents swear by weighted blankets for their children who are on the spectrum. We hope that we have answered the question “why do weighted blankets work for autism” and you are now more informed.
Whether you want to help ease your child’s anxieties, decrease the levels of sensory overload, or simply want your little one to get a better night’s sleep, the weighted blankets for children with autism are certainly going to make a positive impact to both yours and your child’s life. As the facts and information have shown above, these blankets will help a huge amount which has already been proven by the multitudes of children already benefiting from them.
Decided that a weighted blanket is right for you? Well, look no further than the great deals over at Namaste Blankets! These blankets not only are some of the highest-quality blankets out there, but their selection of weighted blankets will be sure to please! From children with autism to adults with post-traumatic stress disorder, these blankets can help so many people in so many ways.
Overall, the choice of having weighted blankets for kids with autism is beneficial. With great benefits, such as decreased anxiety, and an overall improvement in emotional behavior, it’s hard not to try it out for yourself!