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The Benefits Of Weighted Jackets For Autism & Sensory Integration
What Are Weighted Jackets?
So, what are weighted jackets and how do they benefit children with Autism?
Firstly, not every child on the autistic spectrum will benefit from a weighted jacket or compression vest.
Weight and compression help those with sensory processing disorder (SPD) which often accompanies autism.
However, some people can also have SPD but are not on the autistic spectrum.
SPD can show itself in different ways. It often affects the proprioceptive sense, which is our sense of body position. It also affects the vestibular sense which is our movement sense.
Those with poor body awareness and a lacking of that instinctive sense of where the body and limbs are in relation to everything else, will often maintain constant movement in order to “feel” where their body is.
Someone with SPD once described lying on a bed, looking down and seeing their body but feeling completely disconnected from it as if it didn’t belong to them.
Only moving their arms & legs would reconnect them to their own body.
In younger children this often manifests itself in constant running, fidgeting or stimming such as twirling, chewing etc. My son developed a love of activities such as trampolining.
Benefits Of Wearing A Weighted Jacket
This sensory seeking behaviour can present challenges both at home and in school.
The weight in a weighted jacket applies deep pressure to the body enabling the wearer to feel more in tune with their body.
This in turn helps to calm, reduce anxiety and allow increased focus and concentration.
The reduction of anxiety by wearing a weighted jacket is a key benefit.
We recently met a student in mainstream education and taking GCSEs, who tried several weighted jackets in our office.
She explained how they were of enormous comfort, making her feel more relaxed and able to sit still without fidgeting.
We understand that many teenagers do not want to stand out and appear different (and as parents neither do we!).
All of our weighted jackets contain 7 pockets (the hoody has 8 as it has one in the hood).
The 2 most important are on the shoulders as weight here gives a real sense of deep pressure.
Additional weight can be added in the 5 pockets around the torso. All weights are removable.
Weighted Jacket Guidelines
As a rule we recommend that a weighted jacket should not exceed 5% of the user’s bodyweight so this is roughly the weight we supply with each weighted jacket.
We recommend that you consult with your Occupational Therapist and you can add or remove weight as required.
We make weighted jackets in all sizes from small children (about 5 years old) right up to large adult.
All of our jackets are made by ourselves and are manufactured in accordance with CE and MHRA (Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Authority) guidelines.
One of our most popular is our fleece waistcoat which is good looking and flexible. It is available in navy blue and in sizes from small child to large adult.