The Best Weighted Blanket for a Child With Autism
Children are pure joy. They are little bundles of happiness that you just want to cuddle and hold until the end of days. No matter the heartaches or hardships we go through with them, they are our future.
Children with autism are all that and more. However, they also have special needs that need to be taken into consideration. These needs often require the support not only of their parents but also their siblings, teachers and peers. A lot of our customers write in to thank us every day, and to tell us how our weighted blanket for autism helped their kid with their everyday struggles. To learn more about autism, and how a weighted blanket can help your autistic child, read on!
Autism In Australia In 2018
In this day and age, when medical science is more advanced than it ever was, doctors can easily identify when a child has emotional, cognitive, or behavioural differences.
These differences can often fall under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorders, commonly known as autism. There are others, though, such as Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, RLS, and more.
All these conditions 'could' affect a child’s social skills, behaviour, speech, and nonverbal communication. They typically manifest between 2 and 3 years of age and present many challenges, to the child and to the parents.
The Social Care Foundation estimates that 1 in every 100 people in Australia has an autism spectrum disorder – that’s nearly 230,000 – and the condition affects nearly 22 million people worldwide. As for ADHD, around 11% of Australian children struggle with it.
Though researchers are still struggling to understand the causes of autism, there are treatments that may help with certain symptoms such as such as difficulty sleeping and mood disturbances.
Autism weighted blankets, for example, can provide a soothing sensation to reduce anxiety and improve sleep in autistic children.
If you are a struggling parent, we want to help!
Keep reading to find out how weighted blankets can help child with autism with their everyday challenges and symptoms.
Understanding the Basics About Autism
Though most people are familiar with autism on some level, the condition itself is widely misunderstood.
Autism affects each person differently. Some children will have problems with speech and overall communication, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t possess some attributes that far surpass those of children that are considered healthy.
They can excel in specific fields such as music, science, math, or art, which is something you could’ve probably noticed with your own child.
It’s true that the cause of autism is still unknown - scientists strongly suspect that there is a genetic component that combines with environmental factors to affect a child’s development in ways that lead to autism spectrum disorder. Sadly, we’re all still speculating at this point.
While your child with autism may experience communication problems, it’s important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are intellectually impaired.
In fact, new research suggests that while cognitive delays may be present in some children with autism, the two are not medically related.
For example, medication may reduce problems with irritability or aggression, repetitive behaviours, hyperactivity, attention deficits, and anxiety or depression.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may help reduce challenging behaviours and teach coping skills, while educational or occupational therapy and skill-building interventions can improve social, communication, and language skills.
On a day-to-day level, there is much that you can try to reduce anxiety and manage other cognitive-behavioural symptoms.
A weighted blanket, for example, can provide a soothing and calming effect for children with autism both during the day and during sleep.
So, how can an kids weighted blanket help? Children with autism can experience a wide range of challenges each and every day.
You’re often there so you’re the only one who can fully understand the problems they are going through.
For example, they can often have trouble communicating or interacting with other children; they may unintentionally be disruptive or disorderly.
Also, it’s not uncommon for them to engage in repetitive actions that seem strange and worrying to you as a parent.
It’s only natural that you want to do as much as you can to correct those kinds of behaviours. However this is sometimes counter productive to their health.
We suggest learning how to understand these behaviours and communicate appropriately so your child doesn't feel the need to suppress their emotions.
When it comes time for you or your child to relax, autism can sometimes be a road block.
You must understand your child's brain is acting differently to ours. It's overactivity can cause restlessness and insomnia.
This is where a weighted blanket for autism becomes so valuable.
When would you use a weighted blanket?
✔︎ During waking hours, draping the autism weighted blanket across your child’s lap or shoulders can induce a calming sensation. It also triggers the production of serotonin, a hormone that improves mood and reduces anxiety or stress.
✔︎ At night, covering your child with the blanket can simulate deep pressure touch or DPT which will trigger the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep cycle. In addition to increasing melatonin production and promoting healthy sleep.
Deep Pressure Therapy and weighted blankets for autistic children can have a lot of benefits:
- A general sense of calm that lasts several hours
- Improved mood, increased happiness
- Decreased overall anxiety when used regularly
- Improved social interactions
- Better focus and concentration
- Reduced incidence of seizures
- Improved ability to tolerate school environment
- Reduced hypersensitivity to touch
- A decrease in self-injury behaviours
According to Applied Behavior Analysis EDU, deep pressure stimulation (or deep pressure touch) triggers the body to switch from focusing on the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) to focusing the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).
The sympathetic nervous system is the body’s alert system that kicks into high gear during a stressful or dangerous situation.
Children with autism are often stuck in the SNS and even when they do calm down, the slightest thing can re-trigger it. When the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, the body starts to calm down:
- their heart rate slows
- their muscles relax
- the circulation normalizes
- the body starts producing endorphins
- production of cortisol goes down
- serotonin levels go up
These are all the effects of swapping your child’s regular comforter with a weighted blanket for autism!
In addition to improving sleep and providing a calming effect, a weighted blankets used with autistic children can lead to an improved transition time.
Many children with autism struggle when transitioning from one activity to another. Using the blanket for a few minutes when your child returns home from school or comes in from playing outside could help smooth the transition.
Additionally, weighted blankets may provide sensory input to benefit a child with autism who also have sensory processing disorders.
Take a look at this video - Avalon’s mum swears by her weighted therapy blanket, noting that Avalon now sleeps through the night and wakes up much calmer. She also doesn’t need her time-consuming morning routine and occupational therapy, and is ready for new challenges as soon as she gets up!
Struggling to view the video? Click here to watch it on Facebook.
Tips for Shopping for a Weighted Blanket for a Child With Autism
When shopping for a weighted blanket for your child with autism, there are several factors to consider.
- Fabrics are very important - since your child will be using it for the better part of the day, the fabric should be soft and comfortable. It needs to be non-abrasive as that can cause frustration.
Consider the filling - some manufacturers fill their autism weighted blankets with grains like rice or barley which, while natural, can sometimes trigger a reaction in children who are sensitive to grains. A natural, hypoallergenic material is preferable for filling weighted blankets.
- It’s all about the weight - the rule of thumb is to buy a weighted blanket for autism that is approximately 5-15% of your bodyweight. So, if your child weighs 14kg you would look for a blanket that weighs about 2 kg. If you are purchasing a weighted blanket for an adult the same rule applies.
Our weighted blanket for a child with autism is specially designed and made from ultra-soft minky fabric for comfort, with evenly-distributed beads for a gentle, soothing pressure.
They are also machine-washable and covered by our 10-day return policy. Of course, the shipping is totally free within Australia and you can expect the blanket within 5 to 8 days after placing your order!
Don’t lose any time - the sooner you order, the sooner your child will reap the benefits of the Calming Blanket - the best autism weighted blanket on the market!