Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Weight of the World on your Shoulders

Many of you may have heard of weighted cushions, vests, and blankets before.  They are a great calming tool for many kids on the spectrum.  Here is a simple DIY project of how to make your own weighted cushion:

What you'll need: Fabric of your little ones choice, calico or another strong fabric, rice (I used 3kgs), and patience for sewing! 

Step one: So that this can be made to your own specific size, lay out the desired weight of rice along the calico so you can use that as a base for your measurements.  I felt 3kgs would be a good weight for Maddy so that's what we went with (you can make this as big or as small as you desire - within reason of course!)

Step two: Sew up the end of the calico twice to ensure none of the rice sneak out!


Step Three: Fill up the calico bag with the 3 kilos of rice or alternatively to keep the rice spread out evenly fill with 1kg then sew a line to divide and continue with the 2nd and 3rd kg bags of rice sectioning off between them also. 

Step Four: Once you have secured the rice in there with the most extreme end stitching you can do, lay it flat on the table to measure the cover fabric.  Ensure one of the sides of the cover fabric is slightly longer so that you can achive a 'pillow like' close when the cover is put on.

Step Five: Admire how cute it looks!

I decided to make 2 separate covers so that we can remove and clean if there are spills etc.  This also meant that Maddy got to choose more fabric which she will never complain about!

Here is our second cover
It is recommended not to exceed 10% of your child's body weight when getting them used to weighted therapy (which is why I chose 3kgs for my daughter.)  They should use it during such activities like: Start of the day, during written work or homework, during stressful activities (base this on what you child feels anxious about whether it be meeting new people or doing the shopping), at the end of the day, during special classes such as music or art. The time shouldn't be more than an hour and there should be at least an hour break in between uses. 

The weighted cushion that I have created here is suited for her to use at home or at school.  I designed it to be long because I intend to use it three different ways.  The first being when she is laying down on the couch with her feet up and the cushion on her lap at the start and end of the day, the second is on her shoulders when she is feeling anxious, and the third is across her lap when she is sitting at her desk at home or at school.

** Disclaimer** These weighted cushions should be used with direction or advice of a therapist, and should only be used while under adult supervision - in case you didn't already know :)