Weighted Down

Kelli over at "There's No Place Like Home" hosts a show and tell every Friday. Hop on over and see her special treasures along with links from others who participate in this fun little activity!

If you follow my posts you will know that I am dedicating the entire month to Autism Awareness on my blog. I decided to continue with the few themed days that I participate in - but use these days to bring autism to the forefront.

This Friday, I wanted to share a "Weighted Vest" I made for our son Zak who is challenged with autism. It is a theory that has held up in a lot of studies that children who are challenged with autism have a hard time feeling the pressure of things ( this explains why sometimes when they go to touch something they push too hard, or pull to forcefully). It is like they do not feel the chair upon which they are sitting - or the ground upon which they are standing.

Some parents have had good success in using weighted vests and blankets to help the child have more weight pressing down upon them - they call this making the child feel 'grounded". I looked into the weighted vests and was not willing to pay the price for something I was unsure would work. So, I decided I would try to make my own weighted vest for Zak and see how he did.

I headed down to the local Goodwill store - (my favorite place to shop) - and purchased a child sized vest that I was sure would fit him but be a bit on the big size for him.

Then I headed to the local Shopko - (Wisconsin's local 'Target') and tried to find something to weight him down with. I was thinking hockey pucks when I entered the store (although the thought of Zak actually having pucks within his reach kind of scared me!) However, in the sporting goods section I found bean bags for yard games. I thought this would be even better because they were soft and would be more comfortable in the vest; and not as destructive in Zak's hands! I purchased a box of those and headed home to try out my new "therapy vest'.

I placed a bean bag in each of the pockets of the vest. So far that is all the weight that he has needed - and YES, we have seen an improvement with him sitting and paying attention better. We leave the vest on for around 30 minutes and then off for a while. (That way he does not acclimate to the weight of the vest). Our therapy times have been much better. He also brings his vest to church and I put it on him before he goes into his Sunday School class. So far, we have seen improvements there also. I use the vest during the preaching time of the church service. Zak knows that when Dad gets done preaching - he can take off the vest.

(Here is a picture of Zak in his SS class with his vest on. I love how it blends into normal looking clothing. You can not really tell that it is a unique vest! :)

Last week we found that he was playing with the bean bags a bit more than normal. I may have to pin the pockets shut so that will not be a problem; but I am happy so far at this little homemade therapy creation we have here.

Thanks so much for stopping by my S&T. I am so glad you did.




Jewelgirl said...

My friends daughter wore this
type of vest for her occupational
therapy, it is amazing how different she played with it on.

Pam said...

How resourceful you are Martie! I do believe this is my first visit here. Your blog is beautiful and so is your precious little boy!

Hootin' Anni said...

This is truly an amazing story you've shared. And if it works like a charm....then, truly, I am very impressed!!!

Take care...hope you have a minute or two to drop by my show n tell!! I'd love to have you visit with me. Today I have something I received, from a special blogging friend!! Come join me?

Happy weekend.

Penless Thoughts said...

This was very interesting information and you found just the right thing for him to wear. What kid doesn't like a vest. Great job.

Simply Heart And Home said...


I am learning so much about autism from reading your blog. The weighted vest makes sense. I am glad you were able to put it together yourself instead of paying too much $$$ for one. Very smart!



Constance said...

What an awesome idea! I used to clean for a family that had a weighted blankket for their autistic son. It had been made for Sawyer by a family member and I think it had either rice or beans in each little square.

Susie said...

I was so interested to read this. I had never heard of the weighted vest theory. You found some very clever ways to make your son's vest.
Thanks for sharing.

MammyT said...

What a clever way to produce a weighted vest. I'm so happy to hear that something so simple has a noticeable effect.

Amy ~ (Life's Small Treasures) said...

What a neat thing! My sister is a Pastor's wife and their church has many children that have autism that come to church and they have set up a whole program just for them. I am going to share your link with her about these vests. I know she will love to read all your posts.

Thanks for sharing

jennifer said...

He is a good looking boy! I believe in shopping the thrift stores too. Just makes sense when trying to save money!


Mimi said...

your posts on autism have been so very interesting and informative...
there is still so much to learn and discover about autism...
you are a wonderful person to share what you are learning with the rest of us...
thank you,

The Apron Queen said...

Late making my rounds. Awesome show & tell! Thank you for making us more aware. Stop by for a plate of Just Peachy Cobbler.

For your daily dose of vintage goodness & a bit of silliness, stop by Confessions of an Apron Queen, the home of Vintage Thingies Thursdays.

Cheryl said...

Wow, how neat. I have never heard of such a thing... I am so glad this seems to be helping your son :-)

Kelli said...

What a wonderful vest, Martie! I'm glad it is helping your son!

Daughter of the King said...

What a great mom you are to pursue all of this Martie...I am sure God will bless all your endeavors.