Raising a child with autism can be challenging.
Did you know using a weighted blanket can lessen the adversaries in this demanding parenthood?
In this article, we will discuss the positive impact of a weighted blanket for autism.
What is a Weighted Blanket?
Weighted blankets simply are blankets that bear extra weight for sensory input. This extra weight is added by sewing plastic, glass or metal pellets into quilts.
They apply deep pressure therapy to the user’s body and alleviate the struggles of behavioral and sensory processing disorders.
Top 3 Best Weighted Blanket for Autism in 2017
There are weighted blankets available in the market in many sizes and weights made by different brands. It can be hard to choose just one out of this clutter.
In this segment, we will share our best picks of weighted blankets for users with Autism.
Lifetime Sensory Solutions brings the best-weighted blankets for kids to the table. This 5-foot twin blanket is available in different weights from 4 lb to 15 lb. The variety of weights make it suitable for both children and adults.
Lifetime Sensory Solutions leaves a window open for customization too.
The top fabric is 100% cotton. The fabric on the bottom is a blend of cotton and poly to ensure a smoother texture for sensitive skins. Both the materials are breathable. It is filled with plastic pellets in even squares across the blanket.
The blanket is washable and dry able.
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For those who are still not known about the fact, YnM is a renown weighted blanket manufacturer company that has gained its fame for providing top quality weighted blankets at a very reasonable price. This is the weighted blanket for autism affected people, created by them.
If we straightly delve into the specs – YnM makes weighted blankets ranging from 5 lb to 25 lb for users of different body weights. This variation of weight ensures the availability of weighted blanket for almost every body type
The fabric here is 100% cotton on both top and bottom.
It comes in 16 different colors. Duvets are sold separately. Since generally, it will be used by an infant or a child, color options are an added convenience. Children love to be surrounded by their favorite colors.
The blanket is weighted with sand pellets into equal sized compartments. Some find sand pellet fillings more comfortable than plastic ones. Here the preference varies. Most people find sand pellets most comforting but if you are not one of them, it could be; you might check other options below or the first one reviewed in the article.
The blanket machine washable but it’s better to let it dry naturally.
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This blanket by SansaCalm is specially designed for adults who suffer from sensory disorders. It comes in four weight variants from 12 lb to 18 lb.
The fully cotton clad blanket is weighted with plastic pellets, evenly across the surface of the blanket. The main key point here is the orientation of the weight. In Every weighted blanket, weights are evenly distributed at the very first place. But the structure of the weighted blanket do not always support this even distribution and with time, the orientation fails. Here, in SensaCalm weighted blanket, the texture and blanket structure supports the even distribution. Since it is an important thing to consider for a weighted blanket; and it will be used mostly by an autism affected child, this is really a great thing!
Hypoallergenic fiberfill is used to give the blanket a fluffy feel. Children love fluffiness.
If the user prefers to sleep with a significant amount of extra weight that simulates a full body hug, this could be the perfect fit.
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Importance of a Weighted Blanket For Autism
ASD or autism spectrum disorder refers to a variety of forms autism can exist in.
Typically the symptoms start surfacing when the child is a few months old. For some, it can take a few years. The precise causes of this disorder are still unknown to date.
Usually, the person with autism lacks communication skills, verbal and non-verbal. Many remain non-verbal all their lives. Some start talking later in the later years of their lives. The degree of the symptoms varies with each child.There is more to it than poor speech and language development.
People who have autism tend to have difficulty interacting with others and building relationships. They show a little imagination. They are prone to repetitive gestures. Oftentimes, their sensory development gets interrupted too.
Sometimes they are not able to feel their bodies. It causes them to have a clumsy or stiff body language. When they dislike something or a situation, a chain of negative reactions and hyperactivity may occur. Constantly screaming and crying could be an example.
This delicacy of body and mind – this is where weighted blankets have a difference to make.
In raising a kid with autism, parents seek help from supplements for minimizing the challenges. Giving your child too many supplements could do more harm than good. A weighted blanket is the non-drug way to an easier life for both you and your kids.
The following benefits can be cultivated through the use of weighted blankets.
# Better Sleep: People with Autism have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Using a weighted blanket causes the brain to release Serotonin, a chemical that facilitates relaxation. Serotonin naturally converts itself to melanin – the chemical that is responsible for a sleeping schedule.
Many people with Autism are naturally low on both chemicals which cause them to have an irregular sleep schedule. A sleep-deprived person struggles with productivity and a calm state of mind. It can be difficult for the parents as well.
Thanks to weighted blankets, they help our bodies to relax and fall into a sound sleep. Using a weighted blanket can make an autistic person well rested and better prepared for his day.
# Improved Focus: People with autism face difficulty learning. Sometimes they are too easily distracted to learn. Sometimes they feel hyperactive and throw a fit.
Using a weighted blanket stabilizes their nervous systems and increases their ability to focus. Studies show deep touch pressure helps children improve significantly in classroom performance.
# Improved Sensory Processing: People with autism have a hard time to process information that is received through the senses. Sometimes they don’t have a clear idea of the dimensions of their bodies. This causes them to have a poor body coordination. Clumsiness, tripping over things and odd body language are examples of that.
Weighted blankets provide deep touch simulation on their bodies. It allows them to feel the weight of their own bodies and improve their sensory processing functions.
# Limited Self Stimulatory Behavior: Due to a turbulent nervous system, people with autism often engage themselves in self-stimulatory behavior like flicking their fingers in a repetitive pattern or fidgeting. By ensuring rest and calmness, weighted blankets can limit these ticks.
# Smooth Transition: Getting a person with autism to switch from high energy to low energy tasks can be a challenge. When they have been physically active, they may be unwilling to transition to tasks that require low energy but good focus – like sitting down peacefully for a moment or reading.
Using a weighted blanket can slowly ground them and get them into a more calm state of mind.
# Good Mood: A person who has Autism can be quick to anger. They can go displaying negative reactions for hours at a time which can be exhausting for both the person and the parent.
Applying deep touch pressure helps the brain release another neurotransmitter along with Serotonin – Dopamine. We know it as the chemical that generates the feeling of being happy.
The deep pressure therapy also decreases the Cortisol levels in the body, which is responsible for generating stress. This way weighted blankets can reduce anxiety and stress in the autistic person and help them be in a better mood.
How to Make a Weighted Blanket?
If you would rather make a weighted blanket for your child or loved one than spending money to purchase one, you’ll need a few things.
But before getting the materials listed below, you should decide on the suitable size, weight and fabric for the user. And a precaution, this will be kind of hard for you if you are new at this and are not so good with sewing.
- Enough pellets for your desired weight
- Enough fabric and filling for your desired size
- Measuring tape
- Sewing kit: threads, needles, scissors and sewing machine
If you attempt to make a specialized blanket on your own, you should have some sewing experience. We will provide a step by step guide for the process.
- Measure and cut the fabric according to your desired size.
- Sew the top and bottom fabric together on three sides, leaving one side open for filling.
- Turn it inside out.
- Divide the area of your blanket into even squares for an equal distribution of weight across the blanket.
- Sew over the horizontal lines of the columns.
- Fill the first column of squares with your desired portion of pellets. Make sure each square contains an equal amount of pellets.
- Close each square by sewing up the vertical line.
- Repeat until all the squares are filled and closed.
You can make a weighted blanket by yourself by following the above-mentioned guide. But following these instructions may be a lot harder than you think it is if you’re not handy with a sewing kit. Even if you succeed in making one, a hazard in the measurements can turn it into a failed endeavor.
Therefore, in most cases, we would recommend you pick and purchase one from the variety of weighted blankets in the market. It brings us to our next segment.
For a brief instruction follow this guide from WikiHow.
Weighted blankets have been subtly improving the lives of people with Autism by providing restfulness, relaxation and a stabilized state of mind and body. They are a great alternative to drug supplements and very simple to implement compared to pills.
The benefits of a right-sized weighted blanket surpass the individual and touch the whole household. If your loved one has Autism, get them a weighted blanket to help them cope with daily challenges in a constructive way.