Monday, December 5, 2016

Weighted Shoulder "Shawl"

One of my teachers for high school students with autism asked me about a weighted shawl for trial by a student in her class.  The purpose is similar to using any other type of weighted item that is worn on the body's core--increased awareness of trunk position in space, the need to actively maintain postural integrity because now you're resisting the downward force from the added weight, similar to the feeling you get when a person is gently pressing you downward through your shoulders.  Many people find the input comforting and settling.

If a student has skeletal concerns or neuromuscular concerns be sure to rule out any possibility that the weight on the neck and shoulders may cause discomfort or injury.   Also, this is not a safe option for students who throw things.

This weighted shawl totals six pounds, which is not much for a tall teen.  However, you do feel it after wearing it for a few minutes.  Twenty minutes on, max, and then it comes off.   We'll have to experiment with the weight and wearing time.  If the student responds well to the input I'll sew up a long, skinny pillowcase to keep it in.  Or, how about two colorful soccer socks that meet in the middle?

Thx to my trusty, SLP buddy, for modeling!

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