Compression Vests

Compression Vests

Does your child:

  • Frequently fidget

  • Have a short attention span Act impulsively

  • Bump into everything

These are examples of the 6th sense in our bodies called: proprioceptive processing. The nerve endings in our bodies respond to stretching and compression of muscles. Proprioception is also calming and organizing to the body. It prepares us for activities. Proprioception provides deep pressure (similar to a tight hug) that is calming to the nervous system. Using a compression vest can be beneficial in improving these areas. A compression vest will provide additional input that will help the child know where his/her body is in space (body awareness). This will assist the child with safely maneuvering around his/her environment.

So how can you help your child?

When using a compression vest the wear time depends on the child. It is recommended to consult with your Occupational Therapist to determine which weighted products to use, the amount of weight to use, and a wearing schedule.

But some general guidelines are:

A wearing schedule is recommended so the child will tolerate wearing the vest. Wear the vest 20-30 minutes or 30-60 minutes during activities, in an alternating on and off schedule. This will allow time in between wearing the vest in order for his/her body to not become adapted to the compression, at that point the vest becomes less likely to provide the compression the child needs. If you are noticing that your child has to wear the vest all day, then an alternate route should be taken, such as weight or wearing a compression shirt under the compression vest. If you add weight, do not exceed 5-10% of the child’s body weight.

Typical times to wear the vest are:

  • At the beginning of the day

  • After recess

  • During table top work

  • During special ‘over-whelming’ events and during stressful times (like a doctor’s appointment).

Do not let your child fall asleep while wearing the vest

If your child will not tolerate a vest there are other routes that you can take such as using a compression shirt (specifically Under Amour or UV swim shirts in a size smaller than normal) under the child’s regular clothes. The child can also wear ankle/wrist weights or even put weights in the child’s backpack for when they are transitioning in between classes. If your child is having trouble falling asleep use a weighted blanket to help with calming. Also, if your child is

displaying frequently fidgeting or getting up from his/her seat often using a weighted lap pad may help to show improvements. There are many other ways to provide proprioceptive input without using a vest. Some example activities are listed below:

- Jumping on a trampoline - Bouncing on a yoga ball - Sandwiching in between two mats - Playing catch with a large or weighted ball - Pressing hands tightly together or squeezing a stress ball Wall or table pushes

- Theraband stretches - Molding clay or theraputty - Heavy work (Ex. Carrying a laundry basket) Animal walks - Bear hugs - Joint compressions

Believe Therapies, LLC

For more information, please call 972-422-1860

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