Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Magic Blanket

The past few weeks I've been working some new items into my production time. One of them is weighted blankets. They are time-consuming yet fun, and serve a purpose so near and dear to my heart.
   As many of you know, my oldest son has what is often called Sensory Processing Disorder, or Sensory Integration Disorder/Dysfunction. The really-really-really short description: Our bodies have five senses- smell, sight, sound, taste, and touch- and his brain does not process those things the same way most peoples' bodies do. When we see a nice sunny day, he cries hysterically because the brightness is literally painful for him. When something like a refrigerator cooling motor begins to hum, most of us barely notice, and he screams, covers his ears, and begs me to make the sound go away. When many of us laugh hysterically at being tickled in the ribs, he just cries and begs the tickler to stop because it's painful. That's just brushing the very tip of the sensory ice berg.
Sleeping soundly with his beloved Miss 'Nise Blanket
   Another aspect of sensory issues is sleep. It's tough. When he was a baby, our guy SCREAMED all night, and had a terrible time settling down to sleep without being very tightly swaddled, and rocked vigorously for hours. What many would think was uncomfortable and disruptive were what his brain needed to calm down
and rest. When he was 2.5 years old, or amazing occupational therapist brought us the magic invention of the weighted blanket. It was weighted with tiny, smooth river rocks inside the enclosed pockets, which laid flat over his legs and lower abdomen, giving him customized(by weight) sensory input of gentle pressure, allowing his brain to regulate, calm down, and rest. His "Miss 'Nise Blanket"(which he named for his beloved OT who gave it to him) came with us everywhere he might be bombarded with sensory input that was overwhelming, and helped keep his brain a little more calm in dealing with it all. It also helped his sleep more than anything else we'd tried.
   Now I am making weighted blankets for sensory and autistic kids. I love it. It's one of those things that despite the tedious nature of gathering supplies, weighing polypellets(the weighted material for inside the blankets) meticulously down to the 1/10th of an ounce for each square, and detailed calculations, it brings me great joy to make them knowing the help and peace they can bring to so many other sensory kids and their families who desperately need this tiny bit of 'magic.' It's a new venture that is much more about passion than
profit. 

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