Weighted blankets are affordable tools that nearly any child with special needs should have. Sensory Goods is a company that designs these blankets to help individuals with developmental disorders, including those with autism and sensory integration needs.
Weighted blankets are the biggest product for Sensory Goods, and these blankets help children relax, sleep, or calm down during a meltdown.
How They Work
Weighted blankets put pressure on the body, and this sensory experience helps individuals relax. Children with autism or other sensory disorder like the sensation of being hugged or squeezed, and these blankets provide that sensation for them. For children who are hyperactive, these blankets provide a calming feeling. Some parents have noted that within fifteen seconds of wrapping their children in the blankets, their child would fall asleep. For individuals with special needs, the blanket does the work of comforting and providing sensory input. The weight in each blanket is distributed evenly within a quilted pattern, and small plastic pellets or glass beads provide the weight.
Plastic Vs. Glass Beads
Some companies use food products such as rice as a filling for weighted blankets. However, these food products collect bacteria, and the blanket is impossible to wash. Sensory Goods uses plastic pellets or glass beads, and the glass bead option is highly recommended. The glass beads are so small that they cannot break, and it makes for a nicer and softer material. One cup of the glass beads weighs as much as three cups of the plastic beads, so the blanket is smaller — an onlooker cannot necessarily tell it is a weighted blanket, and it prevents children from being picked on when their peers notice a larger blanket. Additionally, all the therapists and children who first tested the blankets picked the glass bead blanket over the ones with plastic beads.
Weighted blankets come in cotton or fleece varieties. The cotton blankets have a flannel side for the winter months, and the cotton is good for summer. The flannel and fleece blankets are more durable, and the heavier weight of the fabric is better suited for those who like extra heat. These blankets help individuals with special needs at night, and they are more likely to sleep through the night. When your special needs child sleeps through the night, so do you, which benefits every person in the household. Additionally, when children get a good night’s sleep, they concentrate better the next day. Not only do the blankets help at night, but also they provide a way for a child to relax or calm down during the day or in the midst of a tantrum or meltdown.