Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Weighted Blankets: Thoughts and Give Away!

When I was asked if I had an opinion on weighted blankets by the owner of DreamCatcher Weighted Blankets, I admitted that I don't really know much about the research on weighted blankets. However, I also admitted that I pile blankets and comforters on my bed. I happen to like quilts, comforters, blankets, and pillows. The more, the better.

I'm not comfortable telling readers that weighted blankets or any other product "helps" children and adults with autism. I have no idea. What I can tell you is that I like to burrow under a nice pile of warm blankets and quilts every night.

Disclaimer: DreamCatcher is offering to give away one weighted blanket to a reader of The Autistic Me. If you are interested, add a comment and I'll enter your name in a random drawing. On the first day of May, I'll post the name of the winner so he or she can contact me directly. If you want to learn about DreamCatcher's products:

DreamCatcher Weighted Blankets
P O Box 252 * Stevensville * Montana * 59870
Website: www.weightedblanket.net
email: dreamcatcher@weightedblanket.net

Dr. Temple Grandin has designed a "Hug Machine" to help her relax (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hug_machine). Other autistic adults have also written and spoken on the topic of deep pressure, weighted blankets, and water pressure offering comfort. Dr. Dawn Prince-Hughes has written that she finds water relaxing, something many parents of autistic children tell me is common.

Personally, I don't like swimming -- I fear deep water because I'm partially paralyzed and can't swim well. I'm okay with a nice warm bath, though I'm eager to get out of the water after five minutes. However, I love a strong shower. We used to have one of those "pulsating" shower heads. That felt great when my shoulder was sore.

Massage has helped me a lot, mainly because my legs, back, and arms cramp. I was in a back brace for many years and my lower back is in near-constant pain. For some reason, pressure helps. I don't understand how it works, but pressure and heat definitely help my muscles. I don't like the "gentle" and "soothing" massage techniques. When my muscles are cramped, it seems some sort of deep-tissue massage is needed.

But, more than a warm shower or a massage, I like my quilts. My mother and grandmother have made numerous quilts for me over the years. From lap quilts to complete full-size quilts for the bed, they are prized possessions. Even sitting on the couch at night reading, I love to have a quilt over my lap. Generally, a cat is also included, adding a bit of weight and warmth.

Who doesn't like to remain in a warm bed? As long as I can remember, I have "mummy wrapped" myself at night. I attempt to block every bit of light from my eyes and secure myself in the sheets and blankets on my bed. I also place pillows along my side, offering additional pressure and warmth. It might not be a Hug Machine, but the principal is the same.

As I've admitted, I'm not certain if weighted blankets and quilts appeal to most people with ASDs. If you have any personal experiences, please feel free to comment on this post. Maybe it is merely a personal preference for the added weight, but I definitely prefer a heavier quilt over a thin sheet or blanket.

Browsing the DreamCatcher website, I did notice the marble colors. I like these a lot: http://www.weightedblanket.net/marblecottons.htm

If I end up trying one of these blankets, I'll let readers know with a review. Admittedly, I am curious. Should I consider a weighted blanket in addition to my quilts? Or maybe have a quilted top stitched to a customized blanket? Let me know if you have an opinion. And, yes, don't forget that I'll add names to the sponsored drawing.

27 comments:

  1. I've noticed that my son has increasingly tended to wrap himself in blankets and often asks for more. Also, he likes pressure. When he crawls into my bed in the morning for pre-wake up cuddles, he wants me to fold him into my arms and squease him a little.

    That said, I'd very interested in being in the draw for a blanket. Thanks!

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  2. My son will only sleep through the night with his Dreamcatcher blanket. It is an amazing thing. I spent years with only 2-3 hours of sleep per night because he would get up and wander around the house and even go outside. I would love to win a new one for him.

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  3. I can't stand to sleep without covers on or even with just a sheet. It just feels weird. My son is the same way and he does like to have a weighted blanket sometimes.

    I have read that parents should consult their child's OT regarding how much weight to use because the appropriate amount depends on the child's size (just thought I would mention as it could be a safety concern).

    Regarding the back pain, I don't know if this would help, but when I went to physical therapy for a shoulder issue, they used moist heat that seemed weighted and once even did ultrasound, both of which felt amazing and helped with the discomfort I was experiencing.

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  4. I've wanted a weighted blanket for years (since my old one got destroyed by a...plumbing incident. Some things don't clean up).

    I dunno how great they are for other people, but there's nothing like a good steady squish to get me to chill out.

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  5. My electric blanket, with embedded wires, on top of my comforter and a flannel sheet is just right for me. To me, that's "winter-sleeping".

    I love summer, and hot sunny days, but I dislike having only a cotton sheet over me at night, or worse, when it's too hot even to have a sheet on me. Gotta have the right weight to be comfortable, and I never wear pajamas, but always wear briefs and a T-shirt to bed.

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  6. Don't need a weighted blanket, but we did have one when the youngest was smaller. He preferred to sleep under it than a lighter sheet. You have to be careful when they are small about the weight used... if it's too heavy they cannot breathe.

    I think it's a sensory thing. I too enjoy my blankets, and he still does. Unless, as mentioned above, it's too heavy and becomes a danger, I don't see how it would harm and if it helps with sleeping... I don't see the harm.

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  7. Pressure does help my son calm down when he's upset, so the weighted blanket would be a great thing. I'm very interested in being in the drawing.

    Mummy wrapping is great.

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  8. Yes, I made myself one and I like it, but I made it a little too big so it can't be easily washed---I've ordered a steam cleaner from Amazon to take care of it, but a smaller one that wouldn't destroy even a commercial washer would be nice. I definitely think the weight feels reassuring and find it hard to sleep without blankets on even when I'm too hot for them---meanwhile I've heard many neurotypicals prefer their blankets to be lightweight even at the expense of needed warmth and even seem to fear the concept of a weighted blanket. I also noticed when going through some old childhood toys that one of the few dolls I didn't hate was a heavy beanbag style, much like the ones now sold as 'autism dolls'.

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  9. I have had great results using a weighted blanket with students that I work with. They seem to be able to really relax and focus on the task at hand. I have tried it myself after a long, stressful day and I must admit, I was completely relaxed!

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  10. At 63 years young and being in the high level A zone there has never been a full nights sleep for me About 4 hours max .....dreams and rim time would be nice...I want to win a king sized blanket for a hot blooded women

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  11. A weighted blanket is something we've toyed around with occasionally with our son. We had an o/t from the early intervention program bring one once but it was filled with sand or something and the inner lining had broken so it was all dusty and consequently we couldn't use it. I tried making him one but they're really tricky! I'm going to check out their website and maybe we can swing an extra purchase in our finances and finally pick one up for the little guy. I imagine he'll love it, he loves weighted anything (except vests, I think it's an issue with being 'stuck' inside something) so it makes sense he'd like the weighted blanket... Maybe we could get a full night's sleep- which would make it oh-so-worth it!

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  12. Clara here.

    I would *love* a weighted blanket. I learned about them a month ago and wanted one right away, but they're too expensive for me.

    I've always slept with at least five or six thick blankets on me. I liked it for the weight that I feel when having so many blankets. I have trouble falling asleep when there's not that weight. Unfortunately having that many blankets on top of me doesn't work in the summer! If I had a weighted blanket I would be able to fall asleep easily and comfortably year-round.

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  13. YES! I want one so bad. I love weighted things. I have aspergers, and it helps me to stay grounded and calm when I need to relax.

    http://ihaveaspergers.webs.com

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  14. No matter how hot it is I have to wrap myself up tight in my duvet, my sons are both the same. I'd love a weighted blanket.

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  15. Please, can I have one of these blankets? I have aspergers, too. I would help me to sleep at night.

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  16. Please include me in the drawing for the blanket. For the past few years I've noticed how I need to be hugged a lot. When I mentioned this to my therapist and to my nurse, they both mentioned Temple Grandin and her hug machine. The skin all over my body, and my nerves seem to really need something like this.

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  17. My son has autism and pressure helps him when he is agitated, yesterday I was speaking with my son about this squeeze machine and saying that if we were lucky enough to to have this hug machine will definitely help him .
    Thank you
    nclaudia 25 at yahoo dot com

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  18. My autistic son is highly responsive to pressure - he finds it very calming. We've been told to get him a weighted blanket by his occupational therapist, so I'd love to be in this draw, thanks!

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  19. Please include me in the draw to win a blanket. I've never heard of weighted blankets before this week and I've been researching them for my friend who's son who has autism. We're trying a variety of things to help to try and give him a better night's sleep (and his mum too!)

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  20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 12807.51 today. That means the random number is 51. There are 19 comments to the original post. Time for a little math.

    51/19 = 2.68 (2 r 13)
    Remembering to add "1" because a zero remainder was a possibility, gives us

    THE WINNER
    Comment 14 by Kabie!

    It seems Kabie is in the U.K. -- but hopefully that isn't a problem for shipping.

    Congratulations, Kabie!

    Contact me at poetcsw @ gmail . com

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  21. I got into the business of making weighted blankets about 9 years ago. ( Salt of The Earth Weighted Gear ) Back then it was a new idea. I'm amazed at how much it has grown in popularity. There is a reason. It really works!
    Annie - Salt of The Earth Weighted Gear

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  22. Weighted blankets are great for those who suffer from fibromyalgia!

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  23. Hi my son has Autism and he cant bear to be touched yet he loves his weighted blanket. We found that the prices were so high we decided to make our own as we had been making quilts etc for a long long time. Since them weve made blankets for many other families and we are still going at half the price of any other weighted blanket outlet, we also offer a more personalised option of any weight and any design or colour for one price. We will help you to make your own too and offer trials and tips before you buy on our site. Life is hard enough without strangers trying to make a profit from you childs suffering.. We are here to help and we make £20 sometimes less per blanket which takes on average 6 hours to make..The money then goes on materials or something for my son... Please feel free to come visit us. we have also recently opened a forum for all the wonderful parents and carers of kids with sensory disorders to share experiences tips and tricks of coping with their evereyday life...We`d love to meet you
    Dawn x
    SnuggleBunz
    www.snugglebunz.org
    snugglebunz.freeforums.org

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  24. HI, Im a single mother of a 2 yo son that is autistic, right now im struggling to to keep my car and get food. I receivce very little help and no child support. My son needs a blanket and im doing my best to make due with what we have, its not alot. Im making it on about 1200 a month and things are not that good right now. im behind in all bills, keeping my car to get him to the dr is a chore right now. Please consider him for the giveaway, he is such a great kid and is in need of one. Thanks


    Jenna

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  25. The drawing was in 2011, but you should visit:

    www.weightedblanket.net

    They do have contests on a regular basis.

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  26. Wow, there are several ideas here for sellers that make these blankets, I'm so glad. I've been looking for recommendations, since Dreamcatcher was rude and abusive to me when I tried to contact them asking about the documentation my insurance asked for and they offer to provide.

    Does anyone know if some of these other makers can help with DME claims? I would love one for myself, and have a few young family memebers that a weighted blanket would greatly benefit. I might be able to pay out of pocket but if my insurance can help I would like to use it.

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  27. My grandson is 7, he is autistic, his dad is an american soldier supporting a family of 6. Im entering this drawing for matthew requena and thank you.

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