Weighted Blankets: Thoughts and Give Away!
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:
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.