Kid's Work Therapy Blog

Weighted Blanket: An Introduction

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What is a weighted blanket?

Weighted blankets are therapeutic blankets used in occupational therapy and can be used just about anywhere. Children and adults can utilize them when going to bed, watching television, reading a book, riding in a car, and much more. Those who benefit from the use of weighted blankets are children and adults with autism, stress, anxiety, or sensory disorders (Hochman 2014). Most weighted blankets are made with tiny plastic pellets and are custom made to a person’s weight. The blankets should weigh 10% of a person’s weight (Kingston 2016). For example, a 40-pound child should receive a 4 pound weighted blanket. Weighted blankets can be purchased online or handmade. There are many different weighted blankets to choose from. They vary in size, fabric choice, material used as weight, weight of blanket, etc.

What does a weighted blanket provide?

The weight of the blanket offers deep pressure and is linked to deep pressure therapy. The result of the deep pressure causes serotonin and dopamine to be released from the brain. Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters that give the feeling of calmness and improve mood. Serotonin is later converted into melatonin known for regulating sleep (Kingston 2016). When an individual chooses to use a weight blanket it provides comfort and can make him or her feel safe (Champagne, Mullen, and Dickson 2007).

Directions: Place weighted blanket over front of person or wrapped around person for duration of activity.

Washing directions: Machine wash cold and hang to dry.

References

Champagne, Tina, Brian Mullen, and Debra Dickson. “Exploring the Safety and Effectiveness of  the Use of Weighted Blankets with Adult Populations.” 2007 American Occupational Therapy Association’s Annual Conference Presentation. 2007. Presentation.

Hochman, David. “Weighted Blankets Can Help More Than Just Sleep Problems.” Forbes Magazine. Forbes Life., 25 Apr. 2014. Web. 14 Jul. 2016.

Kingston, Anne. “Forty Pounds Of Sheer Bliss.” Maclean’s 129.4 (2016): 59. Academic Search    Premier. Web. 14 Jul. 2016.

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