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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Weighted Vests, Weighted Blankets, and other Proprioceptive Sensory Solutions

Dovi's biggest sensory issue remains his difficulty "finding himself" in space. The running around, squishing things and throwing things are all stimming techniques he uses because of his need to feel where he is. Children with sensory processing disorder and autism often don't 'feel' things the way we do. They need deep pressure massages to feel stuff. That's why Dovi thinks he can jump off tables without getting "hurt". He doesn't feel pain quickly. When he hurts himself and cries, then I know that the has definitely hurt himself and didn't just get a phantom booboo. B"H he has stopped having sensory meltdowns, for the most part - except when he occasionally wakes at about midnight crying for reasons we can't figure out - but at the chronological age of this part of the story,  2 1/2 - we were trying to figure out how to calm him down from his poor, bitter crying jags where we simply could not figure out what was bothering him. I noticed during his sessions at EECs OT gym that he seemed to calm down a lot when weights were put on him, and it also slowed him down from his manic jumping, spinning, and running. So I set out to find a weighted vest and a weighted blanket, first and foremost.

Unfortunately, they are far from cheap. Currently at TABAC he also wears an excellent deep pressure weighted vest that provides him with the sensory input he needs to sit calmly in his chair and do work. I'm not sure where they purchased it or what it's called. The one I purchased was from and cost about $80. Unfortunately, I searched their site now and don't see anything for a manageable price there.

Thankfully, however, apparently Fun and Function does have an affordable weighted vest, in the $50.00 - $70.00 range.

Also, on closer look, it seems that Abilitations has some weighted Tank Tops for about $26.00, if that's enough for you.

There are several other weighted vest options on Amazon through Fun and Function and some other stores; take a look at the link.

Here is a photo of Dovi wearing the Abilitations Weighted Vest. He is inside the breakfront where I was busy cleaning for Pesach... ha.

As for the weighted blanket, that didn't come cheap either. And funnily enough - Dovi doesn't really need it. He throws blankets off himself, and he throws this one off too. Either the weights arent distributed well, or he doesnt like how it feels, or he just doesnt need the weighted blanket. He could probably use a wrapping/swaddling technique rather than weights on himself. But I did try to use the blanket with him from time to time. For now, it remains up on a high shelf somewhere.

Here is an amazon link to weighted blankets, if that's something you're looking for.

We bought some other things in that Abilitations order - things that were helpful for Dovi's under-sensitivity to touch.  One of the most basic items used to calm down a child with sensory processing disorder is the sensory brush. Chaim's OT had used it with him when he was getting OT as a baby - and he didnt even have SPD, it just helped him focus better. I don't use it so much anymore on Dovi, but it was an essential item to take along with me during large, noisy family outings such as Purim. Brushing his hands and feet often took the edge off the 'crazy feeling.   I
also got him a vibrating back massager and vibrating hair brush; I found the vibrating hair brush didnt make much of a difference, but the vibrating back massager often did.

Last summer Dovi had an excellent special ed therapist who taught me how to do deep pressure massages on his back and legs which calmed him down instantaneously and helped him concentrate on doing work and learning. She also came up with a genius idea: She purchased a 10 pound bag of rice and put it into a pillowcase. She put this pillowcase down on Dovi's lap during their learning sessions and she was amazed at how calm he was. Recently I bought a weighted lap pad, but I miscalculated the weight; I had not realized that 8 pounds of gel in a lap pad is not the same thing as 10 pounds of rice. It was way too heavy. I recently returned it to Amazon and it cost me 11 dollars to return ship it!!! At some point when Dovi's SSI coffers are refilled I hope to buy a less heavy version of the weighted lap pad.

Fun and Function really has some amazing innovations, and most of it is available on amazon. Here is a link to their amazon storefront; if you end up buying anything from them, I will make a small commission, which will, of course, go straight to Dovi's fund. So if you're planning to buy any sensory products on Amazon, please use one of my links.

Most of Dovi's proprioceptive stimming involves using his hands to.... basically destroy the house. I will discuss some solutions to that in a future post. For now, I'm starting to get very tired... I've been posting all night; I updated all four of my blogs! A gitteh voch.



  1. "Wilma" hated wearing a weighted vest so when she outgrew the first one and the PT forgot to submit the measurements to get the second one, I didn't bother following up. When she WAS willing to wear it I saw NO difference in her behaviors. We switched her meds for the 5th time last week though and MIGHT FINALLY be starting to see some improvement......

  2. I got for my son a proprieceptive vest, it's made of a Lycra material that I think is meant to make the child feel where he is in space. He has been ding much better since he started wearing it. And best of all I got it through Medicaid.

    1. Wow, sounds wonderful. Good for you that you were able to get it thru medicaid! how did you do that???

  3. Just want to say thanks for this blog - I'm totally fascinated, and in awe of how much you have done for him and how much B"H these days we can understand of what he needs (not everything, of course, but thank God there is some understanding and some resources). Wow.

    1. Thank you Miriam! Supportive comments are really appreciated!

  4. As a special ed teacher working with students with autism I found your blog fascinating, and very insightful. You might want to look into the Speo suit, which helps children know where they are in their enviorment. I have seen a huge difference in the students who have the suit, its very expensive but sometimes medcaid waiver will pay for it.
    Hatzlachah rabbah

    1. Thank you! I have never hear of it but will look into it. It's funny, I jsut told my husband we need to get Dovi some kind of swaddling suit for his age, bc in his bed tent he tends to hang over the side so that he is tightly swaddled by the excess part of the tent.

  5. I have such a vest for my. Son and have seen ya major difference since he started wearing it. U can get it through Medicaid through Lorelei or advantage orthotics but u need a good justification from your ot, which I'm urge u can get. (I've introduced myself to u beginning of this week.


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