Most Children/people with Autism have sensory issues. These can vary from person to person. With my daughter, one of her sensory issues is that she needs more sensory input than most people. Giada is hypo sensitive to stimuli. She likes deep pressure. She is calmed by being held tightly.
Giada like a lot of children with Autism also has problems sleeping at night. It takes her a long time to fall asleep and also has trouble staying asleep. Our solution to help her sleep better was a weighted blanket.
I figured it would give her that pressure that she likes, keeping her calm, hopefully translating into a better nights sleep.
I started reading about weighted blankets. The more information I read the more I was convinced one would be perfect for Giada.
Another thing I found out about weighted blankets is they are crazy expensive! Hundreds of dollars for something I thought would work but wasn’t 100% sure about… I don’t think so.
During one of Giada’s OT sessions I mentioned it to her therapist. She told me she knew a lady that made them and she actually had one we could borrow to see if Giada liked it.
As soon as the therapist handed me the blanket a light bulb went off in my head. The blanket I was holding was dirty and smelled. The woman who made it filled it with rice to give it weight. Rice smells after a while and because the blanket had rice in it, it couldn’t be washed. Who would design a blanket for a child that couldn’t be washed! There was a better way to do this.
I immediately got on the phone and called my mother- who is great with a sewing machine.
I explained to her my thoughts about making a weighted blanket for Giada. How we could design it to not only be functional but washable and pretty!
We could make it like a quilt bed spread. Have the weight only in the middle and give the blanket a drop on each side and one at the bottom. We measured her crib mattress. Now it would be the perfect size for her crib and look great once we converted her crib to a toddler bed. The drops would make it look just like a bed spread on an adult bed.
We started by ordering poly pellets to weigh the blanket. We drew up plans and headed to Joann’s to pick fabric.
When I got to Joann’s I knew I wanted the blanket to be reversible so I needed fabric that complimented each other. I found a pattern I liked right away. Then found 2 different pinks that would be perfect but I couldn’t make up my mind.
I finally decided to use the brighter darker pink on the blanket but get extra fabric to make two coordinating pillow cases one in each pink.
We took the pattern my mom drew and transferred it onto muslin.
Then we pinned the muslin to the fabric.
For weighted blankets you are looking for a total of 10% of the body weight of the person who will be using it.
So we measured out pellets to fill each square of the blanket to get us the right weight for Giada.
From there my mom took over and the finish product was a beautiful cotton, weighted blanket that was not only pretty but also reversible and washable. And with two coordinating pillow cases 🙂
The blanket works great for Giada! That is as long as she doesn’t kick or roll it off in her sleep.
And the best part- the blanket from start to finish cost less than $50! Sure beats the prices I was looking at online and Giada’s is exactly how I want it!!!