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Cindy, I know EXACTLY what you are going through with this weighted vest issue. Because I went through the same about two months ago with my son.

Let me tell you upfront, it isn't such a bad idea after all. But just like you I was FURIOUS when my son came home with a weighted vest, most of all, because the teacher didn't even inform me about it, she just gave it to my son to take home. All I could think of was "My son has to wear a straight jacket??? Are we in modern America or back in the stone age!! I don't think so!!!!
But...Don't kill the teacher yet! Believe it or not, it's a tool that has a pretty good success rate and is well worth a try. Occupational therapists use them a lot with children who have Autism. It seems that when children are into that nonstop motion mode that the jacket can be very calming. It's almost like a gentle, strong hug.
There is a lot of evidence that when a person is behaving that way, it helps if they can regain a sense of their own bodies and its boundaries. (Think of the expression, "Get a grip on yourself!") The vest does that. I did a search online about "weighted vests" and indeed it can be effective for children who have a difficulty sitting still etc. It is also used on kids who have sensory integration dysfunction. They are to be worn for like 20 minutes, then take them off 20 minutes. To my surprise my son seems excited to wear one of those. They look like a sleeveless vest, very fashionable, and have pockets sewn inside. In those pockets you place the sandfilled plastic bags. I think they were 4 sand bags weighing one pound each. This depends on your son's weight (my son was 74 pounds at the time). Two bags in the front, two bags in the back. Some of those vests also have pockets on the side. The vest my son received from school was just a regular sleeveless outerwear vest that hat front- and sidepockets. The weight was not distributed evenly. Therefore I went online and bought a weighted vest online. My son actually liked wearing it during home work. But since I took him out of public school and he does not have this movement problem in his new school I am not using the vest anymore.
You can access more information by typing in your browser the following:
sensory integration dysfunction weighted vest

When you think about it, it's actually nice that there are still teachers out there who suggest trying something else but pills, but a simple vest that might do the trick. The teacher and your son could arrange for a signal when it's time for him to wear the vest etc., so nobody in class would notice.
P.S. the big misconception about weighted vests is that they are sooooo heavy that your child can't move in them. I thought the same thing. WRONG. The weighted vest provides the child only with a certain comfortable pressure on their body which provides a soothing effect to them. Believe me, I was just as outraged as you are until I received the vest I ordered and saw with my own eyes that it is not that "torture thing" I thought it would be. Instead of weighted vest they should be calling it "comfortable pressure vest". That term wouldn't scare parents away from giving it a try.
Ok for the past week I have been lurking on these board and I feel the need to says something about the weighted items..

I am add and take 54mg concerta 1/day. I did not grow up on meds and it was not until I got out of college that I started on meds..

I now have a 4 year old son. He has been kicked out of 4 daycares and only does well in a small in home enviroment. He is impulsive, and is in constant motion. We had him diganoised with add so that we could get him in an early on program at our schools. One final note is that when he was a babby the only thing that seemed to calm him down was either a car rider on wrapping him up tightly in a blanket.

Now for the weighted items. Here there is a person who not only makes the vests but worms and slugs to put accross the childs leges as well a blankets when they sleep. I know for a fact that they are not so heavy that the child cannot move but just enough weight so that they feel the pressure. The dr. and thearpist think that he has a sensory problem. These items help him feel secure and calm him down. I would not take this away from him. Going to school, even at 4, is about learning and anything that I can help him be able to learn I will do. The worm / slug is great because it just sits on his lap and he stays in his chair. However, this is just one tool to be used and not the end all be all. I feel that teaching him how to control himself and notice when he is getting out of control will only help in the future. What we do is stop him and inform him that he is getting out of control and then give him a choice of continuing that behavior and losing something he wants or the change what he is doing and on his own take a time out and then being able to do what he wants. More and more he is saying ,"daddy I am starting to reve up like my hot wheel car, can we do something else?"

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