Why do autistic kids like heavy blankets?

In the autism community, weighted blankets are often used by occupational therapists (OTs) to help calm or comfort restless or stressed individuals. They’re also used to help with the sleep and anxiety issues that are common in people with autism spectrum disorder.

What does a weighted blanket do for sensory issues?

Adding weight/pressure to our large muscle groups (with a weighted blanket) activates the body’s proprioceptive sensory system. Activating this system increases both dopamine and serotonin in the brain, helping people to feel more emotionally regulated, calm and in better control of their emotions and behaviors.

Are weighted blankets for special needs?

While weighted blankets are perhaps most closely associated with autism and sensory processing disorder, they may also help ease the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, insomnia and a wide range of other conditions in both children and adults.

Why do toddlers use weighted blankets?

Weighted blankets give proprioceptive (body awareness) and tactile input. Because children with sensory-related difficulties tend to not process information from their senses as well as others, this added input can help stabilize their bodies and minds and provide a calming, relaxing effect.

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Who should not use a weighted blanket?

As a general rule, weighted blankets are safe for healthy adults, older children, and teenagers. Weighted blankets, however, should not be used for toddlers under age 2, as they may pose a suffocation risk. Even older children with developmental disabilities or delays may be at risk of suffocation.

Who shouldn’t use a weighted blanket?

A weighted blanket may be unsuitable for people with certain medical conditions, including chronic respiratory or circulatory issues, asthma, low blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and claustrophobia.

How do weighted blankets help autistic children?

Occupational therapists, for example, sometimes recommend a weighted blanket for autism. They can provide some relief from sleep disorders, sometimes caused by anxiety, that people with autism often experience. The weighted blankets can offer deep pressure stimulation which relaxes and calms people with autism.

How heavy should a weighted blanket be for a child?

The general weighted blanket recommendation for children is 10 percent of your body weight, plus one to two pounds. It’s important to choose the right weight for children so that they stay safe and get the most benefits.

How do you use a weighted blanket for kids?

Try using a weighted blanket with your child gradually, and helping them to understand what the pressure feels like little by little. You can place it over both of your laps during storytime or on movie night, and explain that the blanket is helping their mind calm down and their body feel relaxed.

Can a 3 year old sleep with a weighted blanket?

Please be advised that weighted blankets are not recommended for children under the age of 2 years old. So, when we refer to toddlers in this article, we are referring to children ages 2-3 years old. Keeping this in mind, be sure to use a safe weight.

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How heavy should a weighted blanket be for a 5 year old?

5. Weight

Child’s Weight Age Weighted Blanket
36 – 45 lbs 4-5 8 pounds
46 – 70 lbs 6-10 12 pounds
71 – 140 lbs 11-15 16 pounds
141 and up 16 and up 25 pounds

Can a child use a weighted blanket all night?

Most blankets come with an age range of 4 years and up, but Dr. Landa doesn’t recommend that any kids use them while sleeping, as they can be too heavy for a child to move. If your little one can’t push his blanket out of the way in the night, his air access may be limited, which could lead to suffocation.