Does your child have sensory integration disorder (SPD)? If so, you may be familiar with the benefits of using a compression vest. The pressure and weight can provide the necessary input to regulate and normalize sensory responses.
For kids with SPD, a pressure vest can be as much a part of their daily diet as is water. They not only crave it, but it helps them process and organize sensory information.
For a sensory seeker, compression or weight can have a calming effect. Compression can also be highly therapeutic for a sensory under responder by awakening their Golgi tendon organs (deep receptors in the muscle joints) to improve muscle tone and alertness. For sensory over responders who may be easily stressed or anxious, pressure or weight can calm them down.
Though compression vests are a top choice in the special needs industry, there are alternatives you can use for those kids who just don’t want to wear a vest. Here are a few suggestions that can employ pressure without the vest.
1. The Hot Dog. It’s a favorite and kids love the creativity. Get a soft mat or blanket. Your child becomes the hot dog. Now, roll them inside (their head should be out). You can pretend to apply ketchup, mustard and relish with your hands. Kids get a lot of squeezing and hugging before they get eaten up!
2. Rolling Pin. Get a soft rolling pin like the Pressure Foam Roller and while applying moderate pressure, roll it across your child’s back, legs, trunk and arms. Kids love the feel and the pressure it provides.
3. Ball Pit. Hundreds of pressure points are applied when sitting or playing in a ball pit. Each ball acts as a tiny massage creating calm and a spa-like experience.
4. Swimming. Water is known for its therapeutic properties. The buoyancy and resistance work together to provide a total body experience that combines movement and water pressure.
5. Weighted Blanket. Use a weighted blanket during a nap or sleep to provide all the great benefits of weight and pressure while your child rests.
6. Squeezer. Temple Grandin, famous author and lecturer on Autism, designed this concept. Kids love the deep, heavy pressure the rollers provide.