A is for autism

Today, I am starting two blogging challenges for the month of April: the Ultimate Blogging Challenge and the A to Z challenge. Hence, most of my blog posts will have a letter of the day. Apparently, using the alphabet is a popular thing. Sue Grafton has been writing a whole series of novels, all of which feature the female private investigator, Kinsey Milhone. Each one begins with a letter of the alphabet… A is for alibi and onward. Her as-of-yet untitled “Y” book will come out this summer and “Z” will follow later.

So… today, I start with the letter “A.” A for autism. April is autism awareness month. On March 7th, I went to a support group meeting for families of kids with autism here in Grand Island. There was a fascinating display and discussion about weighted blankets and vests. Weighted blankets are very helpful for people who have either autism or sensory processing disorder. 
These are weighted blankets. They are small and can cover a lap. They are warm and comforting. When you have a sensory processing disorder, like I do, a weighted blanket can feel like a firm hug. A firm hug is very calming, whereas light tough, such as someone brushing past me, can feel distressing, like ants crawling on my skin. A weighted blanket can help people with sensory processing disorder, autism, attention deficit disorder, anxiety, and insomnia.

The weights used to give the blankets their heft comes from plastic beads that are sewn into the blankets. Glass beads are another option.

Another option for a restful sleep is to crawl under heavy hand-crocheted afghans. I have a bunch that I (or friends) have made. At night, I pile them up on top of me and, at once, I feel as if I am enveloped in a nice, soft hug. 

These are weighted vests. They are very small, as they are designed for children with autism. Four or six ounce pouches are put into the vests.  The purpose of these vests is to provide constant input and deep pressure stimulation, which is very helpful and feels good.

8 thoughts on “A is for autism”

  1. I, personally, loved the wool blankets I grew up with, because they were heavy, and were soothing. I, when young, had some sensory issues – I still do.

  2. My youngest daughter experiences high functioning autism spectrum disorder. Currently she has two of these blankets, about 2-3 times the size of the lap ones you've shown here – one at dad's and one at my place. At my place she uses that blanket over two throw blankets and under a lightweight comforter and a heavy one…she also has me put an arm over her for her to fall asleep. She's 8.

  3. I have sensory issues about very light touches too, and often sit with a pillow in my lap because I just feel more comfortable, I wonder if a weighted blanket would work too?

  4. Very informative about the weighted blankets. My sister's grandson is autistic, I'm going to share this with her. Thank you and great to see you back in the challenge(s).

  5. peppylady (Dora)

    Never heard of a weighted blanket. If it help and give comfort I would call it good thing.
    Coffee i son

  6. That is great information about the blankets and vests, specifically how you use your crocheted blankets. When I was supervisor in a nursing home, we had 'tugging' blankets, similar idea, for severely demented patients. Thank you, see you in the challenge.

  7. Vancity Girlfriends

    That is such a grand gesture and I learned something new. I didn't know that weighted blankets could help with so much.

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