Archives for the month of: December, 2014

iStock_000011382518_LargeHave you ever heard of weighted blankets? This revolutionary tool provides pressure and sensory input, similar to a good hug. It is made of plastic pellets, evenly distributed in a quilted pattern in order to provide a widespread sensation of pressure. Studies have proven that the pressure provided by hugs or weighted tools enables the release of serotonin, a hormone that calms and relaxes the body. It also stimulates oxytocin, a hormone that promotes feeling of contentment and willingness of social bonding, among others.

This sensation is particularly valuable for individuals affected by autism and other sensory seeking individuals. They can use weighted blankets as a calming tool or simply as a regular blanket at night. During the day, you can try using it when you feel anxious, aggressive or just want to be comfortable. Sit and wrap yourself in your blanket or lay down and stay there a few minutes to hours, as long as you feel the benefits. At night, weighted blankets used in place of regular blankets will help you go to sleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Pay attention to buy a washable blanket made with non-toxic materials, as it is not always the case. As for the color, your child may appreciate the calming effect of solid blue. Some blankets have the ability to be warmed in your dryer or cooled in your freezer, thus providing the additional benefit of adapting to your child’s favorite temperature. Fringes can provide additional sensory input too, enabling the person to run their fingers around and play with them. The suggested blanket weight is 10% of your weight plus 1 lb. but it is best to check with your physician or therapist.

blanket girl in chair - WB turtle blanket (1) - WB two sided  blue blanket 2 (1) - WB

Weighted vests and weighted lap pads are also on the market, providing a different kind of pressure for sensory seeking individuals. Find your favorite weighted tool today!

Here are some interesting reads if you are interested to understand better the benefits of pressure:


Good afternoon! Today we are happy to share some valuable advice on educational toys by Cathy from Bountifulplate! Cathy is a homemaker/wife and a mother to a 10-year old son with Autism and ADHD, an 18-year old daughter who is a college freshman and a stepson who is 30. Originally from Maryland, she has lived in the Midwest for 13 years.

Cathy and Dominic

tt puzzle 4My 10-year old son, Dominic, can put together 500-piece puzzles. When we first discovered he could do that, we asked everyone we knew to get him puzzles with several hundred pieces for birthday and Christmas gifts. Well, guess what? He frequently goes back to the wooden puzzles we gave him when he was a toddler that have ten pieces or less. He will sit on the floor for hours and hours and put them together over and over and over again. For children with Autism, like Dominic, it’s all about the routine, order and sameness!!! When we travel, I have even been known to bring his favorite puzzles along. 🙂 Why not? It brings him some familiarity.

3691Dominic can also recall when a certain special event happened, including the month and day of the week. I think this is a skill known as “calendar calculation.” We didn’t even know he had this skill until a few months ago. He loves any kind of matching game – it’s a favorite thing for him to do! He’s also fascinated by dominoes, though I think sometimes, he would rather blow them down than try and match them!

Puzzles and matching games teach your child so much, like visual perception, memory, fine motor, critical thinking, sequencing, reasoning, planning and logic skills. These are important skills that will serve them for a lifetime. Did you ever think that so many awesome things were going on while your child was playing with a puzzle or a matching game? Amazing, isn’t it? Your child will think that they are “playing,” when in actuality, so many awesome “teachable” moments are going on!

Cathy B.

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