Why Weighted Sensory Pressure Vests Have a Calming Effect for Children

CME WebsitesChild Development, Resources, Special Needs Diagnoses, Therapy Options

Sensory pressure vests provide constant, even deep pressure to children when their body is craving this important calming and organizing proprioceptive input. Pressure vests promote self-calming, balance, and increased body awareness by enhancing proprioceptive feedback.  Children with proprioceptive and tactile integration dysfunction benefit from the sensory feedback they receive when wearing the vest, because it gives the child the input their body craves.  Most children love to wear them, because it feels good.

Pressure vests can be used for calming to help the oversensitive child decrease hyper-responsiveness.  The pressure is known to help reduce the response to stimuli. They may be effective for children who exhibit signs of excessive energy, appear restless most of the time, engage in risky jumping, climbing and/or crashing behaviors, have a hard time sitting still at home or at school, have difficulty concentrating on tasks, seem frequently disorganized, crave proprioceptive input, live for recess and frequently enjoy bear hugs and squishing activities.  The benefits of these vests include:

  • Increases body awareness
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Increases focus and concentration
  • Enhances comprehension and learning
  • Dramatically reduces hyperactivity
  • Maximizes benefits of therapy sessions
  • Increases therapy carryover

Many children with sensory processing difficulties show dramatic improvement in their ability to sit still and concentrate on tasks. These vests can be used before or during gross motor, heavy work, table top, classroom, or at-home activities, when their bodies need that extra input in order to perform tasks with sustained concentration.  Weighted vests should be used as part of a sensory diet.

Therapeutic weighted vests can be used for children diagnosed with Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Angelman Syndome, Apraxia, Asperger�s Syndrome (AS), Ataxia, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Dyslexia, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Hypotonia, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD-NOS), Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), Rett Syndrome, Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

Kristen Burke OTR/L