People – and especially children – with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)* can come across as day dreamers. They often have difficulty following instruction. They may fail to complete their work or school tasks.
And they can struggle with social interactions.
The truth is, they’re not being lazy. They just fail to complete assigned tasks to a neat standard and in the assigned time. They often struggle with planning and come across as disorganised.
Medical professionals will recommend using like stimulant drugs and behavioural intervention programmes to help people with ADD manage their day to day lives.
And often, professionals such as psychologists will advise using a weighted lap blanket or lap pad in the office or at school.
Why is this? Why is it that weighted blankets – that can help you sleep better – can also help you focus better at work or school?
Read on to find out more.
What is a weighted lap blanket or pad?
A weighted lap blanket or pad is tray-sized and designed to lie on your knees and lap. It is usually made out of a fabric sleeve. Inside, it has a number of pockets that are filled with some kind of weight (usually poly pellets or glass beads).
The weight of the beads causes a mild, firm pressure on the lap and legs. This pressure is evenly distributed and feels comforting.
How do weighted lap blankets work?
Weighted lap blankets literally bring the body back to equilibrium if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. This happens because the pressure of the weights mimics the Deep Pressure Touch that Occupational Therapists use.
Deep Pressure Touch works on the central nervous system in two steps.
Step 1: It shuts down the sympathetic nervous system. This is the part of the nervous system that is in charge of the “fight or flight” response. (If your sympathetic nervous system is constantly switched on, you will be stressed, tired and unable to concentrate.)
Step 2: Deep Pressure Touch fires up the parasympathetic nervous system. This makes you physically feel calmer. (Clinical studies have shown this happens biologically. Trial participants showed a measured slow down in body functions such as heart rate and breathing rate.)
These same clinical studies have also shown that Deep Pressure Touch literally calms the mind too (by measuring brainwaves).
It also causes the brain to release the neurotransmitter serotonin, which can help counter the stress hormone cortisol.
How do weighted blankets help keep you focused and on-task?
People with ADD can struggle to focus because they are overwhelmed with sensory overload.
Deep Pressure Touch improves your capacity to focus and concentrate by helping your sensory integration. This, together with the Deep Pressure Touch effect of a calmer mind, makes it easier for you to complete tasks – including in the classroom.
It can help you organise your thoughts and your belongings better.
And Deep Pressure Touch also provides proprioceptive feedback, which can help make you feel more grounded.
People with ADD can benefit from using a weighted lap blanket
So, in combination, people with ADD can benefit from using a weighted lap blanket. It can clear their minds and help them feel calmer. This, in turn, will improve their ability to plan and organise. And it may help them concentrate better for longer.
If you think a weighted lap blanket can help you or someone you love manage their ADD, please visit this page to find out more.
*It’s officially called “Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder predominantly inattentive presentation”