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Thread: autistic weighted vests

  1. #1
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    At my church this family has two boys both are autistic. The elder boy is really far on the spectrum and the younger is more functional. I was wanting to make a weighted vest for the younger one because many times during his therapy sessions they put a weighted vest on him. Well I don't know how to make one for him. Was wondering if anyone had any idea or had a pattern for one. I figured that it was probably just a simple vest pattern with a bunch of pockets with zippers to put the weights in. Anyone that could help please let me know. thanks. any help is appreciated.
    I was going make the vest out of a couple of different materials. have to go to Jo Anns tomorrow to check them out.

  2. #2
    Super Member sweet's Avatar
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    Your post interested me so I read this article:
    http://www.otvest.com/

    Sorry I cannot help with designing one of these, sounds pretty unique.

  3. #3
    Power Poster MamaBear61's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweet
    Your post interested me so I read this article:
    http://www.otvest.com/

    Sorry I cannot help with designing one of these, sounds pretty unique.
    Thanks for the link. I have and austic niece and I am wondering if my SIL has heard of this treatment method.

  4. #4
    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    The trick to weighted vests is that all the weight does not fall to the bottom, but distributes evenly. If you can get the therapy vest in your hands, you'll have a better chance of re-creating it. Tactile sensory stimulation is also a factor, so choose your fabrics carefully.

    I'm sticking to weighted lap pillows. Much easier!

  5. #5
    Super Member Joan's Avatar
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    I've made weighted lap pillows and put beans in them. It is important not to make them too heavy or too light depending on the weight of the child. In fact, I had a "therapy lap dog", a stuffed dog that I stuffed with beans.

    If you google sensory motor integration, there are lots of resources for information about weighted vests and the like. It would be worthwhile to find out more about sensory motor integration before making either a vest or lap pad. Sensory motor integration issues are complex. Sometimes the weight helps and sometimes it doesn't.

    (some of the commercially made ones I've seen have interior pockets to add the weights----since some kids need more pressure and some benefit from less)

    (retired Sp. Ed. PreK teacher)

  6. #6
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    Here is a link to a tutorial for weighted vests. It's very labor intensive, but purchasing a weighted vest is pricey. Hope this provides some help. http://crapivemade.blogspot.com/2010...-tutorial.html

  7. #7
    MNQuilter's Avatar
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    When I taught autistic kids, the weighted vest we used had large washers, like you would find int he hardware store, in pockets all the way around them. You could add or take out washers as appropriate. Worked really well for us int eh classroom.

  8. #8
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    thank you all so much for the links. I know that the vest will be good to make because he uses one already. The mom would like to get one some time but it is not in the budget for them yet.
    I had planned on making a series of pockets to put the different weights in so that as the child gets bigger they can add more weight or less weight depending on his needs.

  9. #9
    reach for the stars 2's Avatar
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    Sorry I can't help without seeing what they use. I hope u find one because it is a tragic thing to happen to a child

  10. #10
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    My niece would have to have it made with tshirt or sweatshirt like material, that is the only thing she will wear on her upper body. It has to do with the "feel" of the fabric. Jeans are only tolerable on her legs during the coldest winter months, and then she has to wear long johns with them.

  11. #11
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    If you are using beans as stuffing to make something weighted for children you might consider using popcorn instead. Beans will sprout if they get damp (drooled on, spilled on, etc.) and popcorn won't.

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    What about a fishing vest..it has tons of pockets, wonder if they make them for kids?

    or it would be what you would look for pattern wise.fly fishing vest,i think. seems to me, i saw one on the rack at joanns..the easy pattern section. good luck!

  13. #13
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by watterstide
    What about a fishing vest..it has tons of pockets, wonder if they make them for kids?

    or it would be what you would look for pattern wise.fly fishing vest,i think. seems to me, i saw one on the rack at joanns..the easy pattern section. good luck!
    will have to deffinatly check at jo anns for a pattern for a vest.

  14. #14
    Senior Member QuiltMania's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sahm4605
    At my church this family has two boys both are autistic. The elder boy is really far on the spectrum and the younger is more functional. I was wanting to make a weighted vest for the younger one because many times during his therapy sessions they put a weighted vest on him. Well I don't know how to make one for him. Was wondering if anyone had any idea or had a pattern for one. I figured that it was probably just a simple vest pattern with a bunch of pockets with zippers to put the weights in. Anyone that could help please let me know. thanks. any help is appreciated.
    I was going make the vest out of a couple of different materials. have to go to Jo Anns tomorrow to check them out.
    I would suggest talking to the parents before you buy the fabric. Some autistic kids have particular fabric textures that really bother them. Some have particular colors that bother them. Some aren't bothered by either color or texture. Also talk to the parents about the amount of weight each kid needs. Some benefit from heavier pressure, some from lighter pressure.

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    Super Member I go To The Sea To Breathe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweet
    Your post interested me so I read this article:
    http://www.otvest.com/

    Sorry I cannot help with designing one of these, sounds pretty unique.
    This web site shows really clear pictures and explains it. You could actually probably buy a denium jacket and then re do it , at the very end are some more articles in small print at bottom of page. Good Luck, I had never heard of it...Interesting, but makes sense, our 12 yr old is hyper and on meds for concentration and anger problems...

  16. #16
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    Weighted Vest

    Quote Originally Posted by sahm4605 View Post
    At my church this family has two boys both are autistic. The elder boy is really far on the spectrum and the younger is more functional. I was wanting to make a weighted vest for the younger one because many times during his therapy sessions they put a weighted vest on him. Well I don't know how to make one for him. Was wondering if anyone had any idea or had a pattern for one. I figured that it was probably just a simple vest pattern with a bunch of pockets with zippers to put the weights in. Anyone that could help please let me know. thanks. any help is appreciated.
    I was going make the vest out of a couple of different materials. have to go to Jo Anns tomorrow to check them out.
    I noticed that our website, www.otvest, was referred to buy another reader. As a sewer, quilter, and lover of vintage sewing machines--your site is of real interest!

    I am the creator of the OTvest-weighted vest. As an occupational therapist, I had worked with autistic children for about 23 years when I created the OTvest because of the needs I saw with the children in the schools where I worked. I designed the OTvest and patented it because of the unique design. Now, after 35 years of experience--it is clear that a weighted lap pad does not provide the same results as the OTvest. The weights DO NOT hang inside the vest--but the weight lies on the sensory receptors inside the muscles that the weight lies directly upon. When they are in the trunk (across the upper back and upper chest)--as they are in the OTvest, they provide a stabilizing effect that a lap pad cannot create--nor weights only hanging inside a garment in pockets or the hem.
    Imagine someone pressing gently upon your shoulders--like a massage--and you can imagine why person's putting the OTvest on for the first time always say the same thing--"IT FEELS GOOD". Yes, you can sew a weighted vest--but the OTvest is made out of fabric and a weight unit that holds up FOR MANY, MANY years--as schools, hospitals, clinics, etc purchase them as well as families--so they are WORTH the price. The weight unit is made of ballistic nylon--like that used for luggage--and the weight unit is purposefully designed so that the wearer won't loose the weights or play with them. The weight is based upon careful calculation and thousands of wearers---and hundreds of reorders! Please don't think that all weighted vests are the same--because WHERE THE WEIGHT IS PLACED makes ALL the difference in how effective it is in creating the calming, focusing effective of deep pressure and proprioceptive input!
    Keep creating! It is that creative nature that lead me to design the OTvest for those who benefit from it.I am glad I found this new website.
    Nancy VandenBerg, MS, OTR
    OTvest, LLC www.otvest.com

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