Benefits of Weighted Blanket for Autism

Is a weighted blanket good for autism, too? The answer is yes. Weighted blankets are ideal for autistic children, and they can be comforted.Let’s take a closer look at: Benefits of Weighted Blanket for Autism.

Individuals affected by autism generally have trouble communicating, they lack social skills, and also show slower cognitive development. They tend to engage in repetitive actions of behavior. Even children as young as 18 months old can display symptoms of autism. Anybody suffering from autism and their families face many challenges every day. As modern-day medical science has advanced, there have been several therapies that have been designed to help people with autism, and particularly children. The weighted blanket can be a huge help to both adults and children having autism.

weighted blanket
weighted blanket

Weight blankets are used frequently by occupational therapists in the autism community to help comfort or calm down a restless or stressed individual. These blankets are of course also used to help with sleep disorders and anxiety issues that are common in people having autism spectrum disorder. Occupational therapists prefer to prescribe a weighted blanket to their patients, as compared to regular blankets. The scientific basis behind weighted blankets is, however, few and lacking.

There is a lack of research studies performed on the direct use of weighted blankets as a calming tool or a sleeping aid for children. Many therapists cite a study conducted in 1999 which looked into the benefits of deep pressure stimulation using a ‘hug machine’. The machine belonged to Temple Grandin, who is an adult living with autism and an active advocate for the autism community. The study found that indeed deep pressure stimulation was beneficial to people with autism. Many other recent studies have also proven the same fact. However, the fact that weighted blankets actually provide deep pressure stimulation is yet to be proven by any study.

Rather than showing any direct correlation, most studies just skirt around the fact that the weighted blanket provides a similar kind of pressure that the ‘hug machine’ provided in the 1999 study. These studies simply assume that more weight automatically means more pressure.

One of the largest studies that were specific to the use of weighted blankets in autism sufferers, was conducted on 67 autistic children between the ages of 5 to 16 years old. The children in the study who had severe sleep disorder did not show any significant improvement in the following criteria: total sleep time, the frequency of waking, or the time taken to fall asleep. Nevertheless, both the participants and their families opted for using a weighted blanket rather than a regular one.

Another study conducted only on adults showed a significant reduction (63 percent) in stress levels. Over 75 percent of these participants opted to choose the weighted blanket for feeling calm. The study also monitored vital signs and the symptoms of distress. The only conclusion from this study was that weighted blankets were safe to use.

In fact, in Canada, there was a death in 2008 that was attributed to the improper use of a weighted blanket on an autistic child. Following this, the Autism Society of Canada issued a warning on the use of weighted blankets. Proper guidelines were put in place to ensure the safe use of weighted blankets as sleeping aids and stress relievers.

However, subjectively, all the participants (both adults and children) in these various studies said that they felt safer and calmer when using a weighted blanket.

Can weighted blanket for add?Weighted blankets are also useful for ADHD children. But if your child is over a year old, I don’t recommend it.Can weighted blankets be used for anxious people? Of course, weighted blankets are perfect for people with insomnia and anxiety. If you have someone like this around you, you may as well share our CLXM weighted blanket with him.

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