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weighted blankets in a therapeutic day school

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Joined: 18 Feb 2008
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PostPosted    Post subject Reply with quoteFind all posts by vhayes

Hello---I am an OT at a therapeutic day school for children with severe social/emotional disorders with average to above average intelligence. The children range in age from 7-14 years. There are several children who have outbursts during the day and require restraint when they become a danger. They are typically taken to an empty quiet room or restrained in the hallway until they calm down. The principal is very interested in restraint reduction techniques, particularly the weighted blanket. Many of the children requiring restraint have sensory processing difficulties.
I have read Tina's presentation about weighted blankets used in an inpatient setting mostly during the night. I'm wondering how the blanket might be used for a child who is acutely aggitated. Is the blanket used primarily to prevent a restraint or can the blanket be used when the child is already distressed? I would appreciate any insights into using the weighted blanket with this population. I have so many more questions on this topic, but I'll just keep it at this since this post is already a novel! Thanks
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Tina Champagne
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Joined: 03 Jun 2003
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Location: MA

PostPosted    Post subject Reply with quoteFind all posts by Tina Champagne


Although it may appear that way based upon the responses in the studies, we do not only use the blanket at night. Patients do like to use it at night (to help fall asleep & stay asleep) but it is also used for prevention & crisis de-escalation. Therefore, it is really used when needed. However, we do not use it when ambulating due to safety/orthopedic reasons.

So, yes, it is used to help a person with de-escalation as well, after helping the person determine the amount of weight and way they like to use it, fabric choice, etc. It can be used just to self-nurture/comfort. It is never forced, never used over the head, etc. Can be used from a seated or lying down position. It should never be used as a restraint itself.

Hope this helps - we have had great results using it for the reasons you mention with skill, monitoring, and follow up.
Tina Champagne, OTD, OTR/L
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