Weighted Toys and Sensory Development in Special Needs Children
Many weighted toys can help special needs children with sensory development.
Whether your child has a developmental condition or simply gets overstimulated quickly, these toys can make a significant difference in calming your child while also boosting their sensory skills. For example, weighted toys can aid overstimulation, increase spatial awareness, etc.
We are proud to offer a wide selection of weighted blankets and toys in Australia at an affordable rate. Browse through our inventory online to find the toys you need for your child.
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You can also call the team at Sensory Assist with any questions about weighted toys and how they work. Our friendly customer service team is standing by, ready to answer your questions and walk you through the process.
Benefits of Weighted Blankets and Weighted Toys for sleeping
Weighted toys can create a sense of stability for overstimulated children and help them relax and calm themselves. They can also help improve sleep quality and enhance spatial awareness. We explore these benefits in greater detail below.
Overstimulated children benefit from a weighted toy or blanket that allows them to slow down and experience a sense of grounding. For example, playing with a weighted toy can help an easily overstimulated child remain stationary while focusing on another activity like colouring or drawing. As a result, the child will feel stable while focusing on another sensory improvement activity.
There are many things that can help with overstimulation—for example, getting a hug or warm embrace from a loved one or someone the child trusts. Weighted blankets mimic this feeling and provide a safety net for children that can help calm them down. This is similar to deep pressure therapy or deep pressure stimulation and helps calm the central nervous system.
Multiple scientific studies have shown weighted pressure can lower stress hormone levels like cortisol or adrenaline and triggers the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
That same feeling of comfort from a weighted blanket can help improve sleep consistency. If your child struggles with falling asleep or staying asleep, the gentle deep pressure from a weighted blanket can help with that insomnia. They can also help with overstimulation in restless leg syndrome or other involuntary movements.
Types of Weighted Toys
Sensory Assist has multiple different types of stuffed weighted toys that your child can use. In addition, we have different animal shapes to appeal to your child's favourite. We also have multiple colour options to choose from as well as different patterns.
Our weighted Sensory toys are great for developing fine motor skills. Our weighted animals are suitable weights toys for autism
It is generally recommended to choose a product that is 10% of your child's weight, but it is always best to consult with a medical professional.
Types of Weighted Blankets
We offer both weighted blankets and weighted lap blankets. These tools are often used in occupational therapy environments to manage overstimulation and sensory input. They are designed for use in both at-home and clinic environments.
Children with Sensory Processing Disorder, ADD, ADHD, autism, RLS, and other sensory-related diseases have benefited from the gentle deep pressure these weighted blankets provide.
As with weighted toys, choosing a blanket that is 10% of your child's body weight is recommended. Again, you should consult with an occupational therapist to see about increasing the weight.
Note Your Child's Sensory Preferences
It is important to note that weighted blankets and toys may be too intense a sensory experience for some children. You can speak with your occupational therapist about how to incorporate this type of treatment without introducing too much at once.
Sensory Processing Disorder
There are varying recommendations based on your child's specific needs. For example, your therapist may recommend a different weight, style, or length of use that works better for your child. It may take some trial and error for sensory toy therapy to be successful, but weighted toys and blankets have been scientifically proven to reduce overstimulation and anxiety.
Are Weighted Blankets Safe for Use?
You should ensure a pediatrician or occupational therapist has evaluated your child before applying a weighted blanket to your treatment plan. A general rule of thumb is to not use these types of blankets with children under the age of two. These children may be too small to untangle themselves should they get trapped under the blanket.
Your pediatrician or occupational therapist will be able to help diagnose any risks associated with weighted blankets and determine the right size for your child.
A perfectly weighted deep pressure input weighted blanket can provide proprioceptive input and increase body awareness. These are great sensory tools, but should always be used under supervision and with advice from occupational therapists.