Weighted Blankets by Lucy Horsley
Hello, my name is Lucy and I have been making weighted blankets now for two years.
I originally made my own blankets for my autistic son as the commercial ones were so expensive. I have made many sizes and
weights including blankets for adults too.
I also make lap blankets for sitting activities as well as neck (snake) weights. I can make these neutral for multi user use in
schools or individualised for single users. The blankets are all double stitched and secure. Inside are white, high density plastic
beads, traditionally used in bears and porcelain dolls. They comply with safety standard CE & BS5853. The weight of each
blanket is made appropriate to the user as this gives enough sensory input without too much weight on the child. I am planning
to develop new wrist, ankle, arm and hand weights to help with fine motor skills.
Weighted therapy is the use of weighted products to apply pressure to the body, stimulating the proprioceptors found in the
muscles, enabling those who are “sensory seeking” to relax, focus and have a greater awareness of their body.
The proprioceptive sense gives us information about our body’s position and movement via receptors on the skin, in the muscles,
joints and ligaments. Those with a poor proprioceptive sense have difficulty interpreting these sensations often resulting in
behaviour that gives them sensory feedback – for example jumping on a trampoline, chewing, spinning, running etc with
seemingly limitless reserves of energy! They have great difficulty switching off and usually do not sleep well at night.
This “sensory seeking” behaviour can be calmed and controlled by the use of weighted therapy and the application of deep
pressure through the use of weighted blankets, weighted belts, weighted jackets or by wrapping tightly in a compression vest.
It is thought that the pressure also helps to release naturally occurring serotonin in the body, which is then converted to
melatonin. This is believed to help our bodies relax and rest.
Weighted therapy is becoming widely recommended in the UK by Paediatricians and Occupational Therapists who work with
children, adolescents and adults with Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, ADHD, Dyspraxia, Cerebral Palsy, Prader-Willi syndrome,
Retts syndrome, Downs syndrome and Sensory Processing Disorder. It is widely used as a safe and effective treatment for
sensory integration and has been recommended for use in schools, hospitals and the home setting.
Weighted Therapy can benefit those who:
- have difficulty unwinding, relaxing and sleeping
- have a short attention span and are easily distracted
- show tactile sensitivity - ie a need to touch everything or are resistant to touch
- have a poor awareness of their body or body position display self stimulatory behaviour such as rocking, twirling and chewing
Weighted blankets can benefit anyone and have also been known to help those who suffer with sleep issues due to anxiety,
restlessness, muscle fatigue and sleepwalking.
The suggested weight for a therapy blanket is 10% of the person's body weight. My blankets are custom made to meet your
needs. I can also provide you with a fabric to match your child's favourite interest, which can help them bond with the blanket
even more. Obviously weighted therapy has different effects on different children, and some may not benefit from the