I have a feeling I’ll be posting more things from now on that the OT’s I work with come up with because they get to do make all the fun things! Also they like to tell me about the things they make and/or do so that I can write about them. This is a project that was started a year ago, got lost in piles along the way, and rediscovered and completed this past weekend.
Many kids do better when they get the sensory input provided by a weighted object. Often this can look like a weighted vest or a weighted blanket. An easy way to make your own is to buy a stuffingless toy for a dog and take the squeaker out (or a stuffed one and take the stuffing and squeaker out). Then fill it with aquarium rocks, beans, rice, etc to provide the weight. Sew up the end and voila you have your own sensory tool.
Weighted lap bags can provide isolated proprioceptive input for kiddos who have trouble sitting still. You can use it on their laps when they are sitting at their desk, at the table for eating or even when they are sitting on the floor for circle time. It can also provide input in other areas such as draped over the shoulders. However if you have a kiddo that has challenges with posture, this is not a good recommendation for them as it can enhance their postural difficulties. Another use is it can be used as a transitional item for kids. It gives them some weight to hold onto when going from place to place and can help to ground them during transitions which can be challenging for some kiddos.
Since it was newly completed it was exciting to use it with some of the kiddos during therapy that benefit from the input this tool can provide. One of the cool side benefits was that it provides great tactile input as well. One of the kiddos sat petting the stuffed animal while it sat on his lap and he did his work. He was able to access both the weighted/proprioceptive input as well as the tactile input he needed in order to organize himself so that he could effectively work.
It make take a little playing with to get the correct weight and flexibility for your kiddo. The more beans, rice or rocks you add to the body, the heavier and less flexible it becomes.
I hope you have as much fun as we did creating your weighted, furry friends!