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A Pediatric Perspective

Weighted Blankets: What Do We Know?

Published May 28, 2013 6:12 PM by Cecilia Cruse

As a peds therapist and on staff expert for an equipment company for special needs, I do get asked periodically for more resources on weighted blankets.  There have been some well-known published studies on weighted vests including Fertel-Daly et all on the effects of a weighted vest on attention to task and VandenBerg’s study on the use of a weighted vest and on task behavior.  Honaker and Rossi wrote an informative two part series in the 2005 SISIS Quarterly entitled Proprioceptive and Participation at School: are weighted vests effective? Appraising the evidence (for a quick recap of these articles visit Dr. Honaker’s blog).

I have found however, that finding resources to support weighted blankets still seems to be rather limited.  I did recently come across Tina Champagne’s work with using weighted blankets in adult populations. Apparently Dr.  Champagne did her doctorate on this subject.  Very fascinating and in depth look at the type, weight, and use of weighted blankets with adults with mental health issues.  Please take the time to look over her information and website which includes the PPT presentation by Champagne, Mullen and Dickson from the 2007 AOTA Conference.

Although an older resource, I still also use the book by Walker and McCormack as a reference:  The Weighted Blanket: An Essential Nutrient in a Sensory Diet.   Anecdotally, I have seen weighted blankets work wonders for many children over the years but with the focus on EBP (Evidence Based Practice) we need to be able to have the research to support continued use.  So I thought I would float this question out there and ask if anyone else has any other reference citing on this topic…and/or for all you grad OT students out there with an interest in peds research consider this your nudge!   I look forward to hearing from you.

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