As a mom I’m always trying to find ways to help my kids with their difficulties. Every mom does, right? My kids just happen to have Aspergers so their difficulties are different than the average child.
Part of the issues for kids on the spectrum is sensory issues. Touch, taste, smell, sound and site. They are more sensitive to one or all of the senses. Computer boy has been overly sensitive since he was a baby. We had a few years where we couldn’t even touch his hair without him freaking out. Sound and light have always been a problem for him. We used to travel with his sheets because he couldn’t stand the feel of anything else.
He grew out of some of it, but he still can’t stay in the house if any smell is too strong AND he can’t stand elastic around his waist, he is the skinniest thing ever but he wears size 14 underwear. And he has a hard time sleeping, he usually gets up around 3 (I know because that’s usually when I go to bed) and can’t get back to sleep.
Lego boy was never overly sensitive, but he’s always liked enclosed spaces. We used to find him asleep in his closet, door closed, or even under the bed! He finds it soothing. In kindergarten he practically lived in a body sock. Lately he’s been overly excited and hard to calm down so we’ve been trying EVERYTHING we can.
The reader never had sensory sensitivities, but she has a lot of ADD issues. I don’t think she’s SAT through a complete dinner since… EVER. She sits half on the chair ready to jump up at a moments notice, and has since she was a baby. She usually gets up a few times during a meal AND a few times at night bouncing around the room.
So what can help? We hate drugging our children, I mean I’m grateful for modern medicine and I will use it as a last resort, but I’m nervous to use drugs on children. I don’t think the research has been going on long enough to really test the effects long term and how it effects their growth.
SO what else can we try? During my research I came across weighted blankets as an option. But there are so many options! Fabrics, weights, sizes, and because they are so expensive I didn’t want to spend a ton and have it be the wrong fit. I was thrilled when a friend of mine started comfort weighted blankets so I could ask more questions.
The reason Weighted blankets work is because it’s Deep Pressure, like a firm hug or swaddling. It helps with sensory overload, reduces anxiety, stress and frustration.
The effect of Deep Pressure Touch Stimulation (DPTS) can be similar to a full body massage, relieving aches and pains in muscles and joints. For children or adults that don’t like to be touched this is a great option (personally I’d take the massage but the idea of a massage would have the opposite effect on my husband).
DPTS helps release Serotonin in the brain, which naturally calms and soothes. So it can help calming a child down even in the midst of a major freak out. And even when they aren’t having a melt down it can help with sensory perception, helping them deal with normal day to day anxieties or social situations.
And finally Serotonin transforms into Melatonin, and Melatonin is what helps us feel tired and go to sleep, or re-fall asleep when waking up in the middle of the night! Our kids have difficulty falling asleep and they’ve been taking melatonin for years (under the supervision of our Pediatrician of course).
ANYWAY, so we were anxious to try it and were thrilled to get a medium blanket in the mail to try out. Our main focus was Lego boy so we got one to match his weight (you get the blanket to match the child’s weight) but we also tried it with Computer boy and The Reader over the last few months.
Okay, all those reasons are why I wanted to try it, but it sounds too good to be true, could it really help? What did we think of it when we finally tried one out? We’re totally sold! In fact I’m going to let the two older kids each pick out their own fabric and design their own now!
Lego Boy has been more quick to anger this year and more frustrated and the blanket totally helped. The last week we’ve had LICE at our house so the blanket was all bagged up with everything else and I totally noticed a difference. I can’t wait to break it out again today (thankfully it’s machine washable!)
Computer Boy slept better the nights he got to use it and The Reader actually sat through a meal! (She’s still getting up and jumping all night, hoping getting her her own the right weight will help with that) After watching the Temple Grandin movie my oldest told me she wanted her own hug machine, we can’t do that but this is a great, more manageable, option.
Honestly my husband wants one for night too and I totally have restless leg syndrome so I want to try it as well! My college roommate hated listening to me rub my legs together all night, how cool would it be if this helps that, maybe I’ll get more than 5-6 hours of sleep a night!
Here is a list of diagnosis/issues/syndromes that a weighted blanket as been shown to help:
- Aggressive Behaviors
- Bi-Polar Disorder
- Brain Trauma Injuries
- Cerebral Palsy
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Sensory Processing Disorder
Any sound familiar to you? I’m thinking Christmas for the WHOLE FAMILY right here! Have I sold you all yet?
I have some GREAT news, The amazing team at Comfort Weighted Blankets is giving away a small, 4 lb. weighted blanket!