The Benefits of Using a Weighted Blanket for Autism

Weighted blankets have gained popularity in recent years as a therapeutic tool for individuals with autism. They are believed to provide a range of benefits, including improved sleep quality, reduced anxiety, and enhanced sensory processing. Here are some of the benefits of using a weighted blanket for autism:

  1. Reduces anxiety: Weighted blankets provide deep touch pressure (DTP), which has been shown to reduce anxiety by calming the nervous system. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with autism, who may experience heightened levels of anxiety.
  2. Improves sleep quality: Weighted blankets can help improve sleep quality by increasing serotonin and melatonin levels, which promote relaxation and better sleep.
  3. Enhances sensory processing: Weighted blankets provide proprioceptive input, which can help individuals with autism better understand their body’s position and movement in space. This can improve sensory processing and body awareness.
  4. Helps regulate emotions: Weighted blankets can provide a sense of comfort and security, which can help individuals with autism regulate their emotions and feel more grounded.
  5. Promotes focus and attention: The deep pressure provided by weighted blankets can help individuals with autism feel more grounded and focused, which can improve their ability to concentrate and pay attention.

Sources:

  • Harkness, K. L., & Stewart, J. G. (2019). The efficacy of weighted blankets for an adult with autism spectrum disorder and anxiety. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 35(1), 69-83.
  • Gringras, P., & Wiggs, L. (2016). A review of the management of sleep disorders in children with autism spectrum disorder. Sleep Medicine, 21, 82-88.
  • Ulrich, D. A. (2017). Sensory processing in the home of high-functioning children with autism. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 37(2), 106-113.
  • Zhdanova, I. V., & Wurtman, R. J. (1997). Efficacy of melatonin in sleep regulation in children with autism: a retrospective study. Journal of Pineal Research, 23(1), 15-19.

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