Sensory Processing

Weigths and other weigthed materials

Weights and other weighted or pressure materials


Wrist or ankle weights.  For children a weight of 500 grams around the ankle or wrist is heavy enough. They are available in sports stores and other stores selling fitness articles. You can also look on the internet under: wrist weights. For suggestions for games you can look at the use of weights.

From 2012 an inflatable deep pressure vest has been available. No weights are used. When the vest is inflated, it applies a comfortable hug-like deep pressure around the torso. The vests are lightweight and can be worn underneath personal clothing or zipped inside a matching Squease hoodie.

The vest is inflated by squeezing a hand pump, allowing the wearer to regulate and apply soothing pressure in everyday situations that may lead to anxiety, stress or sensory overload - whether that is at home, at school, or on-the-move.

For people with sensory difficulties, who find dealing with change, busy environments or contact with other people to be highly stressful, applying pressure to the upper body may be calming, increase body awareness or improve attention and focus.

 

Infatable pressure vest  for people with sensory difficulies.

Inflatable pressure vest

In the image the pressure vest is worn without the hooded top during the sensory processing course in The Netherlands. The vest is available from Squease. Contact details can be found at the supplier’s page.


Weigthed vest and blankets. Weighted vests or blankets are rather difficult to obtain. You can search fot them on the internet, or contact a therapist. The weights and the other weighted materials are intended to be used for play-activities. Make sure children are monitored at all times when using a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are a therapeutic modality, and must be used only under the advice and direction of a health professional.

Travelpillow

       Travel pillows used as weights.

  • A tip from Mieke Bindels, physiotherapist. As an alternative for weighted vests, it is also possible to use a travel pillow filled with sand. I have filled them, one with 1 kilo, one with 2 kilos, that is as heavy as they should be. The filling itself is a tricky job. I used a funnel with a straw attached to its end to keep the valve open. It takes a little patience, but it can be done. Afterwards you stick the tip cap into the valve with strong glue to make sure children cannot go and scatter the sand about. Another possibility is to cut off one corner of the pillow, fill it up, fold the corner inwards and stick it together with glue.sed a funnel with a straw attached to its end to keep the valve open. It takes a little patience, but it can be done. 


Heavy cuddly toy and other heavy toys.  For many children with sensory processing disorder it is comfortable to play with a heavier cuddly toy, there is simply more to feel. Suitable very well for children with ADHD, autism or a mental handicap. Also fun to hide under. For ideas for games see: hiding under cuddly toys. Of course you can add more weight to a cuddly animal yourself by stuffing it with all kinds of materials, like chestnuts, beans, rice or macaroni. When you use smaller substances like rice, I advise you to put the rice in a plastic bag or several plastic bags first, before putting it in the toy. For suggestions for games see hiding under cuddly toys.. 
  • A suggestion made by Patricia Stockmann, occupational therapist. Children suffering from sensory processing disorder often enjoy playing with heavy materials. These are easy to make yourself by filling empty plastic bottles (for example from cleaning materials)with sand. We advise you to glue the cap onto the bottle, so that you do not run the risk of spreading the sand all over your house. It is also possible to use the transparant plastic bottles and fill them with sand or other materials, like water, rice, beans or coloured stones. You can change the colour of the water by adding some water paint. This makes the material not only heavy, but pleasant to look as well. 


Research. In the American Journal of Occupational Therapy three articles were published on the use of weighted vests. The results do not completely met with each other. So the use of the heavy materials have to be evaluated individually.  In the same Journal is another article on exercising pressure, which is somewhat similar to the use of a weighted blanket.






The weights and the other weighted materials are intended to be used for play-activities. Make sure children are monitored at all times when using a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are a therapeutic modality, and must be used only under the advice and direction of a health professional.

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