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Weighted Vests

Posted by on Jun. 27, 2010 at 5:36 PM
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Any advice on weighted vests. Do they work and how much do they cost? The ones I was looking at online were from $70-$100. Is this normal? Any advice would be helpful.

Thanks in advance.



by on Jun. 27, 2010 at 5:36 PM
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by Member on Jun. 27, 2010 at 6:59 PM

My 8 yr old ds love his. He wears it everyday and it seems to calm him down. The school provided one for him, but we are looking for one that is a little nicer and less obstrusive, so yes the prices you are looking at are right. Hope this helps.

by on Jun. 29, 2010 at 12:16 PM My 3 1/2 year old has tried weights on his ankles...they school bought him a pressure vest instead of a weighted one. His OT believes he would benefit from it. The ankle weights changed a lot...we need to get them for home and it's been awhle since we have tried it again.

by Member on Jun. 29, 2010 at 12:42 PM

Our OT suggested we make a weighted vest by buying a fishing vest (or any vest with velcro pockets) and filling the pockets with Washers.  Much cheaper that way.

by New Member on Jun. 29, 2010 at 9:09 PM

Actually these are fairly easy to make. We did this with my son. We basically made pockets into a vest and added ziploc bags of different weights and velcroed it shut. Kinda difficult to explain on the computer. You can message me if you need some help or plans.

by Group Admin on Jun. 30, 2010 at 10:31 AM

Cheaper verison is at Walmart in the exercise area. It's a vest you can add or subtract pounds to. It only works if your child needs deep pressure therapy though. My son loves it.

As he grows you can add the weights to it. Last I checked it was 20-25 bucks. Or you can make a weighted blanket as well. 

My son has a blanket because that's what he prefers.

 I'm Jess...wife to Jared...Mama of 4. 3ofmyown+1ofhis=4kids:   Amanda (sd) 10, Amethyst  7 (Pdd-Nos), Isaac 5 (Autism and Epilepsy) & Elijah 3.  I support Nursing In Public and am anti-vaccines.

by Member on Jun. 30, 2010 at 10:56 AM


by Member on Jun. 30, 2010 at 6:12 PM

What are these vests suppose to do?

by Member on Jun. 30, 2010 at 10:28 PM

They can help.  Depends what is better for your son weighted or compression vest.  That price is normal.  we payed 89 for a 2lb vest for austin


by Group Admin on Jul. 1, 2010 at 12:34 PM
Sensory Integration (SI) is based on the theory of the normal neurological process to integrate or organize all of our natural senses in a harmonious whole to survive, learn and to function smoothly. Typical individuals with an intact nervous system have the ability to be aware of time, place and person all at once this is called proprioception or referred to as the position sense. 


In addition, they also have the ability to psychologically or organically determine and mix there 5 senses (Seeing, Hearing, Touching, Tasting and Smelling). 

Children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) or Dysfunction of Sensory Integration (DSI) and other developmental disabilities many times do not display these abilities. Most children with Dysfunction of Sensory Integration (DSI) can only handle one or two senses at a time. The can have unusually high or unusually low activity levels. When their senses are over-sensitive or under responsive they can act out certain behaviors to help them make sense of their world such as seeking out deep pressure, bouncing, running in patterns, head rocking, poor coordination, chewing on shirt, etc. 

Weighted Vests were designed to provide proprioceptive input (the unconscious awareness of sensations coming from receptors in one's joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments) and deep pressure to add weight to the body in the hopes that this will give the child's body enough delay time in their thought process to calm and make logical sense of their environment. Weighted Vests such as The In Your Pocket™ “Signature” Vest also help with the position sense and body awareness through the sense of touch. The weights are evenly distributed around the body and help the child become aware of their body and its movements. 

2. What are the benefits/downsides to using a weighted vest?

Benefits: First and foremost weighted vest therapy is a non-invasive therapeutic opportunity for the family, teacher, therapist and child. It can allow the child to understand their relationship to the world. To provide information about the child's movements and positions of the body. It can also be comforting and calming to the child. And when used according to each individual child's needs it can be a method to help modify behavior and increase feelings of safety. 

Downsides: Some therapists feel that the vest should be limited in the amount of time it is worn because a child might accommodate to it. I don't agree with this completely. Each child is different and you must use the vest based on the circumstances or behavior(s) you are trying to help. When used this way, the behavior or activity dictates the amount of time the vest is needed. 

If used as a time on/time off method or part of a time intensive sensory diet the caretaker's compliance can decrease and the full benefits of the vest are not seen. 

Some therapists and teachers don't like to use the vest because they have to struggle to get it on and keep it on. My thoughts on this although not scientifically proven but scientifically based is that children are receiving pleasure from the behavior that indicated the need for the use of the vest. The use of the vest forces their body to come down from a natural high and helps their autonomic nervous system to slow thing downs. Here begins the struggle. Think of it as giving an antidote to an addict on a high. They would fight too! 

3. There are many weighted products on the market, why do you recommend the use of a vest? 

The main reason there are so many weighted products on the market is because no singular item on the menu fits all. 

For example, some weighted lap pads work well for children who are having difficulty sitting in a classroom, at a desk or on the floor in a circle for classroom story time. The weight over the legs helps them feel the back of the legs and buttocks in relationship to the item they are sitting on and gives them grounding. A weighted Blanket may be necessary for child who has sleep difficulties or those that need to be held tight to calm down from over stimulation or a tantrum. 

Weighted vests are used to help a child with his body in relation to real time and through proprioception provide the needed stimuli to the body and body awareness feedback. 

4. As a consumer, why should I choose an "In Your Pocket™” vest over other commercial weighted vests?

First, let me say that there is probably a need for most of the weighted products currently on the market including other vests. Some vests are made to fit snug for a tight feeling, and are known as deep pressure vests and some vests are designed to hold more weight to be used only in therapeutic environments. 

The In Your Pocket™ Weighted Vest and garments are designed for the consumer, i.e. parent's, teachers and therapists that want to have a therapeutic item in a non therapeutic setting such as the classroom, at the mall, at church. “From Therapy to Reality”

Children with SPD are typical children with processing issues. They understand much and have feelings too! They may not express themselves like we consider to be the norm in our society but they have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Making a therapeutic garment look like regular, fun clothing can do that. 

Now why should the In Your Pocket Designs vest be used instead of other vests? In designing the vest, I looked first at the child. What do children do? Play and learn how to control their world. As an infant all you have to do is cry and someone magically appears to fix what might be bothering you. As a child grows they begin to realize that someone is not always there and they have the natural curiosity to seek out on there own. Children with SPD are no different but by age two it is many times evident that their lack of body awareness is different than other 2 year olds. The lack of fear or the over reaction of fear is different. The under reaction to other issues may be evident. 

Because the vest was designed to be used in most life situations (the other hours of the day when the child is not in therapy) I started secondly with the regular garment idea. 

Next looking at how a child moves, sits, runs and postures, I decided to design the vest to fit their lifestyle. The vest is shorter than others on the market because I didn't want the vest to impede the child's normal movement. The weights are place at the center of gravity which provides the added effect of balance and vestibular system control. The pockets for the weights are placed on the inside of the vest and are not visible from the front. The vest opens on the sides with Velcro closures because most of the time when you need to start weighted vest therapy is not with a still, cooperative child. 

5. How did you decide where to place the weights in the vest?

In addition to proprioceptive feedback with the weights alone, I designed the vest to place the static weights at the center of gravity which provides and stimulates the vestibular system "inner ear" to take in messages about movement, posture and balance. 

6. How often and for what time duration would you recommend using a weighted vest? 

This question is quite controversial within the OT population. I still believe that time doesn't matter. Remember you are trying to help and comfort a child when using the vest. It may work today for one situation and tomorrow for another. I think the behavior/ situation is more important than time especially in today's world when parent's are overwhelmed as it is. Having them use the vest for 20 minutes on and 5 minutes off or some time concept will decrease the compliance of the vest and therefore the full effect will never be realized. I believe the added weight the vest provides does help to retrain the nervous systems ability to handle sensory over or under stimulation. 

7. How is a weighted vest best used in the classroom and at home?

Behavior or as an aid for coping. What is it that you want to change or help the child with? It could be as simple as sitting still during story time or using it with a child who likes to spin at inappropriate times as a way of coping with her world. The vest may be best used prior to an intensive activity and accompanied with physical movement such as at recess right before the child needs to attune to a fine motor task. Any situation that provides over stimulation such as a shopping mall. Or a child who prefers under stimulation as the norm and is rigid to their world. 

8. How has the use of a weighted vest changed your life and the life of your son? 

We began to use the weighted vest because my son was a big pattern runner and screamed excessively in public. The first vest we used gave the appearance of a smock or straight jacket. We received many stares. I then began to make his vests. At first we would use them daily as a regular part of his dress. We then began to use the vest in situations that we knew would be over stimulating for him, new places, and normal places of daily living like the grocery store. As he began to grow and go to school, the school used it at times when he needed to attend to fine motor tasks, sit and listen or needed comforting. They used it in a preventative way during lunch time and fire drills. 

Now years later, we use it to help him understand his need to self calm like when he becomes overly hyperactive. Sometimes the mention of "Do you need your vest" will evoke a visual autonomic nervous system response and he will slow down or stop the behavior he is exhibiting. (This is partially my rational for a connection between the weight and retraining the brain). 

9. What words of advice would you give a parent who has recently had their child identified as having SPD?

First it isn't easy and don't let anyone tell you that it will be. Find a supportive friend, family member or group that is willing to listen and not necessarily give you advice. There have been many times, I would go to the bathroom and scream while he was screaming. That's OK. The best advice is not to give up to soon on any new technique or intervention that you try. Remember, children with SPD have touchy, feely, nails on the chalk board issues that any treatment that invades their world may not work the first time or all the time. Start slow, take it a day at a time and realize you didn't learn your alphabet in one day. And at night when they are sleeping, gently kiss them and say thank you for showing me a different way of relating to the world 

by Member on Jul. 1, 2010 at 10:17 PM

you can make your own very easily.  buy a cheap vest and sew pockets in the front and back and then fill small bags with sand and place them in the pockets.  i also made my son a weighted lap pad using an old apron i had when i waited  tables, filled the pockets with sand bags and sewed them closed.  i am not a sewer and this was very easy.  you can also use a back pack and fill it with anything heavy enough.  it worked great for my son when he was at school an needed to be calm.  the back pack works when he is walking in the hall or out in public. it does help him feel calmer.  

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