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The Benefits of Weighted Blankets for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) describes five disorders that fall under the category of pervasive developmental disorders, and they include:

  1. Autism
  2. Asperger Syndrome
  3. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
  4. Rett Syndrome
  5. Pervasive Development Disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

Children afflicted with one of these disorders typically have problems communicating, engage in repetitive actions or behaviors, lack social skills and show slow cognitive development. Symptoms of ASD can be seen in children as young as 18 months old.  

These children and their parents face many challenges each and every day, and while there are several treatments and therapies designed specifically for children with ASD, the Mosaic Weighted Blanket® can be an enormous help to both the patients and their families.

When the child is awake, drape it across his lap or around his shoulders. The deep pressure touch stimulation brought about by the blanket will produce serotonin in the child, which is a hormone that will help to calm him down and produce a happier frame of mind.

At bedtime, cover your little one with the weighted blanket to once again help the production of serotonin, which will lead to the production of melatonin--the hormone that helps us achieve a peaceful, restful night's sleep.

Autism is a complex disorder, and there is still much research to be done before it's fully understood. The term actually covers a number of disorders on the autism spectrum, and, even within finer categories along that spectrum, autism affects each person differently. Typically, autism is apparent by age two, and changes and/or impairs social development, communication skills, and sensory processing. It is four times more likely to affect boys than girls, but children of all races, classes and social groups can be affected. It can be a very challenging disorder to deal with, both for the people who have it and for their caretakers.

Fortunately, weighted blankets may be of some help in managing common manifestations of autism spectrum disorders. Why use weighted blankets for autism? Weighted therapy blankets allow for something called deep pressure touch stimulation, which in turn produces serotonin, a neurotransmitter thought to be very influential on mood (as well as appetite, sleep, memory, and learning). Many parents find that draping a weighted blanket across the lap or shoulders of a child with autism helps him or her to feel more secure and stay calm throughout the day.

Many parents also find that using weighted blankets for autism can help their children with sleep disruption at night. Sleep disturbances are extremely common for people of all ages with autism. These disturbances might include sleep latency (taking more than an hour to fall asleep after the lights are out), getting fewer than seven hours of continuous sleep, or other struggles to get restful sleep. Weighted therapy blankets can help children to fall asleep more quickly, stay asleep for longer, and get more restful sleep. This is probably due to a combination of the physical weight of the blanket, which discourages tossing and turning without being too restrictive or warm, and the natural production of sleep-related chemicals in the body caused by pressure.

An inexpensive weighted blanket also offers quite a bit of savings when compared to other therapies, and carries no side effects. And, even better, affordable weighted blankets are often eligible for reimbursement under insurance plans.