Does your child have sensory integration disorder (SPD)? If so, you may be familiar with the benefits of using a compression vest or wearing a compression tee. For kids with SPD, a compression or pressure vest or tight-fitting clothing can be as much a part of their daily diet as water. Not only do they crave it the pressure and weight, but it helps them process and organize sensory information. This allows them to regulate and normalize their sensory responses.
Compression, also known as deep pressure input, can also be highly therapeutic for sensory seekers because it awakens their Golgi tendon organs. These are the deep receptors in the muscle joints that help improve muscle tone and alertness. Sensory avoiders also benefit from compression, as it can calm down the system, reducing stress and anxiety.
In addition to compression vests and tees, our OTs came up with a list of other products and activities that provide compression as well.
1. The Hot Dog
This is a favorite creative activity for many kids. Grab a soft mat or blanket and roll your child inside, with their head sticking out. They are now the hot dog! You can “apply” condiments with your hands. Kids get a lot of squeezing and hugging before they’re all eaten up!
2. Rolling Pin
Use something soft, like the Pressure Foam Roller, to roll across your child’s back, legs, arms and trunk. Start with moderate pressure and adjust according to your child’s preferences. Kids love the feel that this provides!
3. Ball Pits
When sitting or playing in a ball pit, hundreds of pressure points are applied. Each ball acts as a tiny massager, creating a calm, spa-like experience. Kids can dive under the balls or lie back and relax.
Water is known for its therapeutic properties. The buoyancy and resistance of water work together to provide a full body experience that combines movement and water pressure.
5. Weighted Blankets
Use a weighted blanket during naptime or while sitting on the couch. They provide weighted pressure that soothes your child’s muscles while they sit or lie down. There are many different options, so you’ll be sure to find one your child loves!
This Squeezer feels similar to receiving a big bear hug. You can adjust the amount of pressure to make it appropriate for your child’s needs. Kids can roll themselves between the foam rollers to get great proprioceptive input!
Whichever method works best for your child, they are all wonderful and appropriate ways to get pressure input. Make sure that you check the weight requirements for weighted products in particular and always use any of these with supervision.
Share what works for your kids in the comments! We’d love to hear your thoughts, questions and experiences. You can also tag us on Instagram@funandfunction!
This post was originally posted on 06/02/2015 by . It was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on 11/30/2021