All of a sudden, after fraction of seconds, everyone heard John shouting, being physically aggressive on child sitting next to him and crying without listening to anyone. He also bitten the support assistant who tried to stop him from hitting. Due to extreme kicking, hitting, pushing and biting behaviour (physical violence) he was restrained by two male staff members.
Weighted blankets are non-invasive, non-pharmacological and convenient
Study done by Paul Gringras et.al (July, 2014) concluded that children and parents preferred weighted blanket over non-weighted blanket at night time. Parents reported that their child’s behaviour was much calmer and improved within a short periods of time.
Basic Information regarding Weighted Blanket & other weighted Items:
- Blanket’s weight should not be too heavy or light when purchased or made by hand at home.
- Weight should be evenly distributed throughout the fabric so as to provide tactile stimulation and proprioceptive feedback across the body.
- Weighted stuffed animals, dolls and other modalities are also available in market for little ones and toddlers.
- Make sure that weighted item is washed properly at frequent intervals to stop infection issues.
- Some people use it in state of crisis (as in case of John) whereas some people use it as Prevention. Most times parents are aware when and where their child can have sensory difficulties, anxieties or meltdowns. So using weighted item before situation goes out of control can lead to smart parenting as well as prevention or delay of bad behaviour.
- Olsen and Moulton (2004) conducted a survey of school-based occupational therapists using weighted vests. According to some of therapists 2% to 10% of child’s body weight was sufficient enough to be worn. The duration of wearing vest varied from 10 minutes to 45 minutes..
- For every child weight of weighted blanket is different and which has to be adapted depending upon child’s sensitivities and type of input more needed (tactile, proprioceptive).
- It is MUST to involve healthcare professional and ensure, whether weighted item is suitable for child to wear or not. Consultation from Occupational Therapist is important to obtain.
- Child should be willing to wear vest, belt, blanket or any weighted item before applying this sensory strategy. His/her consent is must.
- Child should easily come in and out of blanket without any hassles.
- Child should always be SUPERVISED while using any weighted item by an adult.
- Rolling the child in blanket should be done under therapist’s supervision only.
- Keep a check of vital signs while using blanket.
- Child’s head should never be or be able to be covered in blanket.
- Blanket should always be in proportion with child’s height and weight.