Temple Grandin, a professor with Autism, invented a “squeezing machine” to help her with her own distinct sensory needs.
In 1992, Dr. Grandin published a paper titled “Calming Effects of Deep Touch Pressure in Patients with Autistic Disorder, College Students, and Animals” in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.
Dr. Grandin concluded “It appears that the squeeze machine may be beneficial to some children with autistic disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and is of little value to others. Serious side effects appear to be minimal. In treatment of children with autism, a very heterogeneous disorder, it is well-known that a treatment that works for one individual may be useless for another. It is possible that the squeeze machine will be most beneficial to those autistic people who have problems with over-sensitivity to sensory stimulation… Some individuals with autism, who have greater cognitive problems and relatively few sensory problems, may be less likely to benefit.”
Dr. Grandin’s squeezing machine applied adjustable pressure that simulates the feeling of being hugged. People with sensory disorders, Autism and Aspergers especially feel more comfortable with weight being pressed against them. The deep pressure from the weight of these special blankets causes the body to produce serotonin and endorphins, which are the chemicals our bodies naturally use to feel relaxed or calm.
The weighted blanket has been found to comfort these disorders and situations
•ASD (AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER)
•ADD / ADHD
•BRAIN TRAUMA INJURIES
•FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME
•OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER
•POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
•RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME
•SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER
Karen Moore, OTR/L, an occupational therapist in Franconia, N.H. “In psychiatric care, weighted blankets are one of our most powerful tools for helping people who are anxious, upset, and possibly on the verge of losing control.
“These blankets work by providing input to the deep pressure touch receptors throughout the body,” Moore says. “Deep pressure touch helps the body relax. Like a firm hug, weighted blankets help us feel secure, grounded, and safe.” Moore says this is the reason many people like to sleep under a comforter even in summer.
Since not everyone can have their own squeezing machine, weighted blankets are a peaceful solution. There are many options on the market for these weighted blanket. The blankets can be made with pockets and various weight amounts that can be adjusted to accommodate the persons comfort level. The pockets are placed in different areas so pressure can be applied to the welcomed areas. Weights can be placed upon the chest area and not the belly, for example.
Other blankets can be purchased that use polypropylene pellets (commonly found in toys) and Pollyfill pillow stuffing, which are both hypoallergenic and non toxic. This filling option is not removable, but the weight of the blanket can be chosen at the time of ordering. The filling is placed within square pockets sown together to create the blanket.
Another natural option for weighted blanket filling is organic millet (birdseed).Again, this filling is not removable or adjustable but can be chosen at the time of order.
This chart will help you determine the size and weight suggested for the users height and weight
User Height User Weight Blanket Size Blanket Weight
34″ 37.5 lbs 30″ x 40″ 5 lbs
42″ 37.5 lbs 36″ x 48″ 5 lbs
50″ 52.5 lbs 42″ x 56″ 7 lbs
54″ 112.5 lbs 41″ x 60″ 15 lbs
70″ 187 lbs 56″ x 76″ 25 lbs
Some therapist are concerned that people may become acclimated with the weighted blankets and find the benefits of the blanket lessen. It is recommended that the weighted blankets be used based on the circumstances/behaviors with an on/off method. Allowing the behavior or activity to dictate the amount of time the blanket is needed. Source: