Weighted Blankets and Special Education…

Weighted blankets, weighted shoulder wraps and weighted lap pads ought to be a staple in both mainstream and special education classrooms.  They are often used in a “quiet room” where a young person can relax from being anxious or stressed.

Often whilst working students will use a weighted lap pad or neck wrap to keep their anxiety down.  The blanket calms them down so that they can focus and do their work.  Teachers actually report that students seek them when things start to overwhelm them.

One teacher said – “Weighted blankets are a fantastic way to calm an anxious or jumpy child.  Not only does it calm them, they are more productive and are able to focus for longer intervals.”

Another teacher – “I am a special education teacher and I know so many children who would benefit from these.  They are so much less stigmatizing than some of the weighted vests on the market that scream……look at me…..there’s something wrong…..again, I love mine.”

and a 3rd – I have them use it when they are overloaded, or in conflict with another kid, or simply frustrated.  I have them use it in any situation where a hug would help, but they don’t want touch.  The blankets provide a long term hug.  They use it when they need to get settled.

Are weighted resources on hand for your child to use in class?

How much difference might they make to your child’s learning experience?

Weighted Blankets and Mental Health…

Weighted blankets are being used in mental health units so that patients can soothe themselves.

A patient with bipolar 1 disorder, anxiety, ADHA, and dyslexia was taught about deep pressure tough strategies to alleviate severe symptoms of sensory over overload and anxiety.

Mental health units using weighted blankets saw a big decline in the use of seclusion and restraint as well as safety sitters.  The primary job of a safety sitter is to keep a patient safe…preventing, self harm, overdosing and suicide.

The reports are that people who used the blankets felt calmer, more grounded, safe and secure.  They also felt more centered, had improved concentration and deceased stress and anxiety.

Many people reported that the weighted blanket worked miracles.

One sensory specialist in this area said:” I have observed that the deep pressure is helpful for patients.  They start to relax, they make increased eye contact and where there was rapid speech…the speech slows down.  They have a general look of physical pain relief.”

Patients report that they have a feeling of being given a big hug.  They also feel less agitated and calmer.  Many patients are receptive to using weighted blankets because they wish to try  different sensory interventions.  After people get to try sensory methods they tend to know what they need..such as a fidget…headphones or a weighted blanket.

Practitioners are constantly seeking ways of funding the blankets so that patients have more resources.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/bslforkids

Weights Lap Pad Blankets for Anxiety…

Overview

Research has shown that Weighted Lap Pads, Weighted Blankets and Weights shoulder wraps can help reduce reduce symptoms and manage conditions for many people who have disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, or autism, weighted blankets may provide a safe alternative to medication or other types of treatment.

Caregivers and professionals in the autism community have a great awareness of their benefits including feeling more secure, improving feeling body awareness, reducing anxiety, and improving sleep.

What are the benefits of a weighted blanket for anxiety?

Weighted blankets can help reduce anxiety in both children and adults. They are safe to use as long as you understand some basic rules.  Autism can be stressful because we encounter situations where we don’t have the skills or brain type to handle them.

This can cause anxiety, anger, sadness or other extreme emotions.  Sometimes it’s simply a change of routine that can cause an extreme out of control feeling.

With sensory processing disorder, sensory messages are not processed in the usual way by the brain.  Other people may focus on one sound and not notice anything else but for a person with Sensory Processing Disorder, all the sensory signals come in which creates an overload and can make you feel like screaming or running away.  At the very least it makes you feel very frustrated because people don’t tend to understand how sensory overload feels.

according to statistics it is common for those with Autism to be under-responsive, needing more stimuli to achieve regulation of the body.

The opposite is also true.  Some people with Autism may be over-responsive or require a calm a calm environment to function optimally.

Weighted blankets help ground your body during sleep because of the feeling of weight or pressure. This process, known as “grounding,”  and may have a deeply calming effect.  People who meditate or work with crystals often talk about grounding themselves to help them feel connected and centered.

The blankets also simulate deep pressure touch (DPT), a type of therapy that uses firm, hands-on pressure to reduce chronic stress and high levels of anxiety.

Studies show that grounding may help reduce nighttime levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Cortisol is produced when your brain thinks you’re under attack, eliciting the fight or flight response. Stress can escalate cortisol levels.

This can have a negative impact upon the immune system. It can also increase blood sugar levels and adversely affect the digestive tract.

Elevated cortisol levels, especially those that don’t drop back down to normal levels naturally, can cause multiple complications. These include:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • weight gain

By providing deep pressure touch, weighted blankets can promote relaxation and help break this cycle. This may trigger the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which are feel-good hormones produced in the brain. These hormones help combat stress, anxiety, and depression.

Weighted blankets are increasingly being used in mental health units so that patients can soothe themselves.

 

What are weighted blankets used for?

The 2008 study on the effects of weighted blankets used with adults found that a high percentage of  people said they had decreased anxiety and felt more relaxed.

Following this study a survey was conducted of over 300 occupational therapists.  The outcome was that weighted blankets helped to improve conditions for people dealing with the following:

  1. Sensory processing disorder (SPD)
  2. Autism
  3. Stress and anxiety
  4. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  5. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  6. Chronic Pain
  7. Major mental illness
  8. Insomnia
  9. Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
  10. Alzheimer’s and dementia
  11. Chemotherapy
  12. Post-surgery
  13. Motor agitation
  14. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  15. Cerebral palsy
  16. Substance and Alcohol detoxing
  17. Rett syndrome
  18. Multiple sclerosis
  19. Apraxia
  20. Fibromyalgia

Weighted blanket help people to different degrees.  The first time that I tried a weighted blanket I felt the results straight away. I felt like my muscles were melting.  It made me feel calm,very relaxed and sleepy.  My anxiety started to go down and I could feel my brain slow down from mental chatter.  It was a lovely safe feeling.

Weighted blankets are so effective that a growing number of hospitals and schools are using them.  I will try to shed a little light on how they work in condition specific posts.