February 15, 2011

Therapy Tuesday: Now I weigh me down

Grant received his weighted vest a little over a week ago. The weight of the vest is 8% of his body weight. The purpose of the vest is to provide a form of input Grant's body craves. The website, Sensory Processing Disorder, explains it well:
Weighted vests are frequently an essential ingredient in a sensory diet. The reason these vests work so well is because they provide constant, even, deep pressure input to [the] child when his body is craving this important calming and organizing proprioceptive input... Many children with sensory processing disorders, autism, or ADHD show dramatic improvement in their ability to sit still and concentrate on tasks. These vests can be used before or during gross motor, heavy work, table top, classroom, or at-home activities, when their bodies need that extra input in order to perform tasks with sustained concentration.

The first phase of the therapy is to wear the vest for 20 minutes of every hour (20 minutes on then 40 minutes off) all throughout the day, except when he is sleeping of course. We live by the clock at our house. At this point we have not seen any major or "dramatic" improvements with Grant's focus or performance, but it is early. It definitely calms him down though. Typically, this phase lasts approximately two weeks to two months (depending on the need). Grant's therapists think a pressure suit (to be explained in another blog post) may be the best way to go for him. The weighted vest, as typically used after phase one, will  then be used for individual situations such as right before going to a restaurant or church or if he is showing symptoms of getting "out of sorts".

Grant's vest was purchased from a consignment store and then "outfitted" with pockets of weights by a local church ministry called Wrapped in Love.

 Grant's weighted Elmo blanket (also made by Wrapped in Love Ministry)

Often children with sensory processing disorder have a difficult time sleeping through the night. A weighted blanket can help calm their bodies and sooth them to sleep. Thankfully, Grant does not usually have much difficulty sleeping through the night. We often wrap the blanket around him while reading bedtime stories to calm his legs and help orient himself before going to sleep.

Here is the other side of the weighted blanket. You can see the pockets of weights sewn into center of the blanket.

Note added July 17, 2011: Since this post Grant has developed another symptom of Fragile X Syndrome - difficulty sleeping through the night. The weighted items continue to be a big piece of Grant's sensory diet and is use through the night now. You can read more about Fragile X and Sleep by clicking here. 



  1. Karen:

    I can see how the extra weight would be comforting. You'll often find me with an extra blanket tossed across my legs (even if I'm not cold) during the day, and I have an extra blanket across my shoulders at night. I just "need" the weight of it. As Grant progresses in his therapy, will he ever reach a point where he doesn't need the vest anymore?

  2. You convey this information so well Karen! I know many who find your blog will be blessed and encouraged by your love for Grant and the Lord, and your research and super info!

    Praying for you guys! ~Sam

  3. Grant is one styling' little boy!! :) and I love that blanket! So cute and snuggly looking!!

  4. I really like your blog! I love the idea of "Therapy Tuesdays," I might start doing that too!

  5. I love the vest, it looks normal!! I'm trying to convert a similar vest, could you help answer a few questions?? 1. How is the weight distributed, is it even throughout the vest inside of the horizontal channels, or is it all on the top or bottom?? 2. Can you adjust the amount of the weight, is there pockets for the weights, or is it all permanently sewn in?


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