Can A Weighted Blanket Help Combat ADHD Symptoms?
The CDC estimates that around 11 percent of American children, ages 4 to 17, have ADHD. That’s 6.4 million kids in the US alone.
Kids with ADHD have a hard time in school, especially if they go undiagnosed. Some people may see a child with ADHD as simply a child with a lot of energy. However, these behavior issues are a bit more complex than that.
These children have sensory processing issues. Their brain over-responds to external stimuli, making it hard to adjust to even the slightest change in their environment.
This glitch in their brain manifests itself through fidgeting, hyperactivity, and mood swings. Insomnia is also common and many children have daytime sleepiness.
Many therapists recommend a “sensory diet” to go hand-in-hand with medication. This personalized plan provides sensory input to calm an overactive nervous system.
An easy, comfortable way to administer sensory input is a weighted blanket. What Is a Weighted Blanket?
Designed to weigh 10% of your child’s body weight, weighted blankets use Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) to compress the body’s sensory receptors.
Research shows that almost immediately, breathing and heart rate slow down, and serotonin levels rise. This hormone is the body’s “happy hormone” and is responsible for mood, social behavior, and sleep.
Children with ADHD have low serotonin levels. Medications like Ritalin and Adderall give serotonin boosts and this is why they are so effective. However, weighted blankets and DTP are natural. This means that they can get a serotonin boost, without taking more medication.
Serotonin is also responsible for the production of melatonin. This hormone tells the body when it is time to go to sleep. When melatonin production is high, sleep is deeper and more restful.
These combined effects not only soothe the nervous system but calm the mind.
A calm state allows the brain to organize incoming sensory input and adapt to changes in the environment. Once your child reaches this point, they begin to stop seeking stimulation. They are able to settle down and improve their attention span. When Can I Use a Weighted Blanket?
For children with ADHD, weighted blankets have profound effects. They can be used in a variety of situations, including:
• Before bed time
• Transitioning from high to low energy activates
• Long car rides
• In the class room or while doing homework
Many children begin to understand when they need their weighted blanket. Whether it’s before homework or bed time, or during a meltdown, they learn to calm themselves down.
We would love to hear the ways a weighted blanket has helped you or your child. Please leave your comments below!
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