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Monday, 12 November 2012

Literature for Weighted Vests?

Hello everyone

I have a student using a weighted vest at school. I'm supporting him regarding sensory at home. The therapist at school has a lot of experience and I can't find any concerns noted in literature. Other than ensuring he's not moving while wearing it thus stressing he's cardiovascular system are there any other considerations? 
Really appreciate your input. I also appreciate all the information shared through the interest group. 

Thanks Jillian


  1. Hi Jillian:
    You might want to get parent permission to contact his school OT directly to see if she has put any stipulations on it's use, or if she's aware of any contraindications that might affect his use at home. And maybe to get details on how or when they are finding it useful.

    If you are planning to use it in a different way, or still have questions it is always good to send a letter with the child to their doctors visits to see if there are any medical concerns (cardiovascular, neuromotor, or orthopaedic concerns could be a problem for weighted items) that would preclude it's use.

    Hope this is helpful.

  2. A colleague of mine did a study about weighted vests for children with autism. Based on her study she found that weighted vests are not supported. Her email is attached at the bottom and I know she would send you a copy of her paper if you emailed her. Obviously if your student has a different diagnosis then that is important to consider as well. I am often quite hesitant to use weighted vests for any type of calming or organizing- as the kids will habituate after a few minutes and then the vest is ineffective. See below for my colleague's study and another literature review on weighted vests.

    Good Luck!



    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2011 Jun;41(6):805-14.
    Weighted vests, stereotyped behaviors and arousal in children with autism.
    Hodgetts S, Magill-Evans J, Misiaszek JE.
    Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, 2-64 Corbett Hall, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2G4, Canada. sandra.hodgetts@ualberta.ca

    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2009 Jan;39(1):105-14. Epub 2008 Jul 1.
    The use of weighted vests with children with autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities.
    Stephenson J, Carter M.
    Macquarie University Special Education Centre, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia. jennifer.stephenson@speced.sed.mq.edu.au

  3. The following link takes you to a pdf that is a summary of the efficacy and issues with using weighted blankets and vests. Let me know if you have trouble accessing it.