It can be difficult to calm someone suffering from autism who is upset because he or she may not be able to communicate about what is upsetting them. However, techniques involving touch, such as Deep Touch Pressure (DTP), can often help calm and soothe a child or an adult who is on the autism spectrum. Weighted blankets simulate DTP and provide these benefits.
Provide Better Sleep
Some people have trouble going to sleep and staying asleep, especially if they feel restless. However, using a weighted blanket can help put users at ease by calming their nervous systems and easing their restlessness.
Using the blanket can trigger the release of serotonin, a hormone that regulates moods and helps people relax, and which is also converted into another hormone, melatonin, that helps regulate the sleep cycle and helps people sleep better.
Some people with autism have meltdowns due to frustration, sensory overload, or anxiety. Feeling the “hug” of an autism weighted blanket can help shorten or prevent meltdowns because it provides a sense of security. Studies have shown that weighted blankets have helped soothe patients in psychiatric facilities by reducing their anxiety and distress.
Helps in Transitions
Children with autism often have difficulty transitioning from one activity to the next, such as coming in from recess and going back to sitting at their desks to study. However, using a weighted blanket and having a few minutes to unwind can help them return to study periods after being active and possibly overexcited. As a weighted blanket can reduce heartbeat and promotes relaxation, students can transition more easily from one activity to another.
Along with autism, some children may also have problems with anxiety. Using a weighted blanket can reduce anxiety because it provides a warm, secure feeling when children are nervous or apprehensive.
As well as lessening anxiety, weighted blankets can also reduce panic attacks caused by anxiety by providing a child or adult with a sense of security. The blankets provide a natural remedy to anxiety that can help parents avoid administering medications to their children, which can sometimes have unknown side effects.
Children with disorders such as ADHD sometimes find it difficult to focus because they cannot seem to sit still. Fortunately, a weighted blanket can help reduce self-stimulating activities such as squirming or fidgeting due to sensory overload.
The behavior of children with autism who have problems sitting still improved when an autism weighted blanket was used in the classroom. At home,parents can use a weighted blanket when trying to get a child to sit still to complete homework or sit at the dinner table without disrupting the family’s meal.
Weighted blankets can comfort children and adults with autism or have anxiety disorders, insomnia, and a variety of other issues. Some weighted blankets have pockets that allow weights to be added or taken away as needed. The blankets also varyin size from those suitable for small children up to those intended for large adults.