Children with Autism and weighted blankets

Children with Autism and weighted blankets

Posted by Alison Styles on

Sometimes, even just the slightest bit of comfort goes a long way. This is especially true for children who deal with the challenges of being diagnosed with Autism. Children that are afflicted with this mental disorder, deserve all the love and care that you can give, even if it’s just the warm and comforting hug of a weighted blanket.

What is Autism?

Autism is a complex mental disorder. There are many things that a parent with an autistic child will learn along the way. Of course, every child is different, but a lot of the symptoms stay the same.

One of the things that you learn over time, is that children with autism often have trouble sleeping. This can lead to a lot of unnecessary complications. It can make your child cranky and unprepared for the new day.

Snuggling them with a weighted blanket has been proven to help improve their quality of rest, and really, what more can you ask for? Something that helps your child feel safe and calm, although it might not seem like much, goes a long way.

 


How to use Weighted Blankets?

Although it promises amazing results, it’s really not that complicated. As you’ve probably guessed, it’s used in the same way that one would use a regular blanket.

Just allow the weighted blanket to drape over your child’s skin before bedtime. Snuggle them up tightly, loosely, or in whatever way they prefer - and let the blanket do its thing!

Of course, weighted blankets are not just for bedtime. It can also be used to help comfort your child throughout the day. You can wrap the blanket around their shoulders while they do their work, or even let it rest on their lap whilst on a drive.

How does it work?

You might be asking, what makes it different from a regular blanket? Well, the answer is in the name.

The blankets that we’re talking about uses a form of deep-pressure stimulation. It provides the kind of comforting touch that we’ve all been groomed to instinctively crave. I’m certain that you’re familiar with the sensation I’m talking about.

It’s like getting a hug from someone you care about. This kind of touch brings about a sense of relaxation and happiness. It’s warm and cozy and absolutely perfect!

Of course, if you’re looking at this in a more scientific way, then you can look at its effects in the mind. When specific areas of our bodies are touched, our neurons will activate and send signals to the brain. This kind of stimulation puts an immediate stop on the production of cortisol, which is the hormone that is in charge of regulating stress.

With this cease-fire comes other benefits. It has to do with the neurotransmitters called serotonin and dopamine. These help you feel safe and warm, whilst also easing your body into a mode that will allow for restful sleep.

What are the benefits of using weighted blankets for Autism?

● A weighted blanket will help improve the child’s transition to sleep. It’ll calm them down, and prepare their bodies in a way that will allow them to rest peacefully.

● For autistic children that suffer from processing sensory data, weighted blankets become a good sensory input that will help them become more aware of their body.

● Using a weighted blanket can also help improve a child’s focus in the classroom.

Points of Reference

We talked a lot about what it can do for your child, but not necessarily about how it’s proven to do these things. It’s perfectly understandable that you want to make sure that it actually works.

Here are a couple points of reference. In a study that was conducted in 2008, they tested the effects of weighted blankets on sleep. This study found that the production of stress hormones decreased by 33%.

Now, in another study from 2001, they tested out the effects of weighted products on children with attention difficulties. All the subjects received varying results, but all were positive. With the increased efficiency for on-task activities ranging at about 18-25%.

Conclusion

Offering whatever you can for your child, is about as instinctive of a desire as our need for touch. Weighted blankets are a good way of helping your baby get the sleep that they need to start the day right. 

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