How do weighted lap blankets work?

A weighted lap blanket or pad is a small, heavy blanket the size of a tray. It is heavy because it is usually filled with something that gives it weight, such as glass beads or poly pellets.

Many people with sensory processing challenges find using weighted lap blankets at school, home or work can help you:

  • Sit still for longer time periods;
  • Self-regulate;
  • Concentrate better;
  • Organise better;
  • Spend more time on a task; and
  • Transition better from one task to the next.

This is because weighted lap blankets give a form of Deep Pressure Touch therapy, that is unobtrusive and convenient.

So, what is Deep Pressure Touch therapy? And how can it help you?

Deep Pressure Touch can help soothe the body and calm the mind

Deep Pressure Touch works on the body in three ways.

Firstly, it calms the “flight or fight” response by switching off the sympathetic part of the autonomous nervous system.

Next, it triggers the parasympathetic nervous system. This slows your heart rate and your breathing. It helps your muscles relax. And you will feel calm and peaceful.

Thirdly, it causes the body to release a number of hormones and neurotransmitters that make you feel happy and reduce anxiety.

The end result is that your body literally feels less anxious and your mind is focused and calm.

The Deep Pressure Touch of a weighted lap blanket lying across your knees also gives your body proprioceptive input. This helps you know where your body is in space. And – so – a weighted lap blanket can help you sit up straight for longer.

Who can benefit from using a weighted lap blanket?

The Deep Pressure Touch therapy benefits of a weighted lap blanket that help reduce anxiety, improve sensory processing and give an increased sense of peace and calm are particularly helpful for people:

  • On the autism spectrum;
  • With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD);
  • Who have anxiety;
  • With sensory processing issues; and
  • Who suffer from dementia.

But weighted lap blankets are not for everyone.

Who is a weighted blanket not useful for?

People who struggle with tactile input may well not find a weighted lap blanket helpful. This includes people who:

  • Don’t like the feel of certain types of fabrics;
  • Hate wearing extra layers of clothes; or
  • Dislike the feeling of a heavy blanket or duvet on them.

So, in summary, weighted lap blankets are a convenient and portable way to get the benefits of Deep Pressure Touch therapy to help you focus, concentrate, sit still for longer, organise better and transition from one activity to the next.

Please click here if you would like to know more about how a Calming Moments weighted lap blanket can help you.

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