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How Weighted Blankets help with Autism?
Is it a struggle for your child with autism to relax and fall asleep? A therapeutic weighted blanket, also known as a sensory blanket, may be what your child needs to help reduce anxiety. Weighted blankets can help bring a sense of calm. Learn how anxiety and sleep deregulation can affect children with autism. If you're the parent of a child with autism, your doctor or occupational therapist may have recommended you try using a weighted blanket. Studies have shown that weighted blankets may help children with autism.
Lets us understand Autism in detail!
A quick glance at Autism!
The CDC now estimates that 1 in every 68 children is born with some form of autism. They may struggle with communication, or repeating certain behaviors. They may get upset when there is a change in routine, or have a hard time in social situations.
For children with autism, filtering sensory input is challenging. This is because there is a malfunction in one of their senses. The nervous system sends an abnormal number of neural signals to the brain.
Because the brain has hard time organizing sensory information, it does not receive the correct information from the senses. This makes your child’s brain and body feel unsafe, and survival mode kicks in. However, many children with autism lack the tools to soothe this “fight or flight” response on their own.
This is where a weighted blanket can be useful.
The added weighted of the blanket immediately calms the nervous system. This proprioceptive input also has an organizing effect on the brain. These combined effects provide your child with the tools they need to self-soothe before or during a meltdown.
Autism and Weighted Blanket
Occupational therapists and other medical professionals who treat autism have used weighted blankets, weighted vests, weighted lap pads and similar tools for years. Weighted blankets are sewn with small, evenly distributed pockets that contain polypropylene pellets. These pellets add weight, which allows the blanket to provide firm but gentle pressure to the whole body. Generally, weighted blankets are made with about 10 percent of the user’s body weight, plus a couple pounds.
There are a number of ways in which a weighted blanket may help children with autism.
Increased Spatial Awareness
Imitates a Hug
Get More Restful Sleep
Improve Focus at School
Reduce the Frequency of Meltdowns
Weighted blankets are a great, natural supplement to an existing treatment plan for children with autism.