The Use of Pressure & Weighted Vests in Occupational Therapy Treatments

Pressure Vests:

Sensory pressure vests are an important aspect of a therapy setting where occupational therapists can use it for children who need a soothing approach to help reset their proprioceptive “feedback” mechanisms. This means that the pressure provided in these vests are both consistent and deep to stimulate the input for these children who have difficulty with proprioceptive and tactile functions.

Children who need these vests have an abundant amount of energy. They may have difficulties in concentration and sitting still, and are likely to enjoy activities that are high activity. Occupational therapists use these vests sometimes in the beginning of their session before they have a child sit down with them so they can start their therapeutic session. Children who have the exposure to pressure vests find themselves significantly improving their coordination, increasing their concentration, and decreasing their hyperactive behaviors. Therefore, therapy sessions are found to be increasingly effective and provides the right input for a child who experiences hyperactivity in order to enhance their learning capabilities.

Weighted Vests

Weighted vests are also important in supporting the proper spinal support so the child’s back can remain upright, allowing the release of pressure from their back and helping them maintain the proper balance and coordination. The spine remaining upright help the child develop an easier way for them to participate in tasks that might involve a classroom. Weighted vests provide pockets allowing you to add or reduce weights depending on the child’s needs. For example, a child who has a hard time sitting down in a chair could benefit from a compression vest. This would be a perfect tool to help the child receive the proper proprioceptive input and allow them to sit down to concentrate without having the urge to get up.

Weighted vests allow joint compressions throughout the upper half of the body, mainly in areas of the shoulders and spine. The guideline that occupational therapists needs to remember is that the weight needs to only be 10% of the child’s weight and needs to be dispersed evenly throughout the vest. The weights should only be worn from time to time, so the child will does not become accustomed to them.

Both vests can be conveniently worn on top of their regular clothing, and do not require any extra precautions. Both vests are great tools in providing the child the right comfort in their sensory needs, allowing therapists to have an easier time engaging them throughout the treatment sessions.