Friday, October 23, 2009

Wiggly three-year-old weighted down with a vest

Judy of Consent Of The Governed found Another Reason to Homeschool - so your children aren't forced to wear a weight vest. Read the post, it is sad and scary.

Update from Janine:

After reading the comments, I went back and read the original story. I'm a great fan of occupational therapy. We do and have done all sorts of things at our house under the guise of occupational therapy which could easily be misunderstood. However, there are a few problems with the use of the weighted vest in this instance.

1) The child had NOT been diagnosed with any sensory issue that would have benefited from a weighted vest.

2) The weighted vest was not being used under the direction of an occupational therapist or anyone trained in its use for therapeutic purposes.

3) The parents were not even consulted on the issue prior to the use of the vest.

4) The parents were informed after the fact, in a public venue, in a manner that left the mother feeling humiliated. She obviously didn't see it has a therapeutic intervention, but as a punishment.

I would have no problem with the use of the vest if both the parents and an occupational therapist agreed that the child had a sensory issue and that a weighted vest could help.

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Carrie said...

I'm sorry, but with this one, I'm not seeing what the huge deal is. My kid has SID and we use weighted stuff all the time (yes, at therapy, AND at home). "Heavy work" is a proven practice to help calm the body and mind. They make it sound as if the child was pinned to the floor by the horrible weighted vest...when in actuality, what a weighted vest is is more like the lead apron that you are covered with at the dentist's office, except not *nearly* that heavy. For a small child, it would be a maximum of maybe 1-2 pounds. If she was wrestled into it or forced to wear it all day, that would be one thing. If it was presented as "Hey, would you like to try something to help take your wiggles out for a little while?" that's another thing. I think the real question here is the approach.

MiaZagora said...

I'm with Carrie. Although, I don't know much about "sensory integration disorder" or weighted vest "therapy" - I don't see what the fuss is about, Henry. If you send your child to preschool, and they don't want to sit down and cooperate, and the teacher can't discipline using a time out because the kid won't sit down, and spanking is obviously out of the question...what else is there? Besides, 3 y/o's arent' supposed to want to sit down and be quiet or still for a long period of time. It's not natural.

Actually, I have considered the "tying to a tree therapy" myself! ;)

mrs dani said...

Carrie & MiaZagola

Small bodies are growing and can be hurt by heavy items. We have heard report after report about how heavy backpacks hurt the developing backs of kids. We do not know how heavy this vest really was nor how long this child was forced to wear it. Yes, it may not by any more heavy than a dentist's vest but that is something you barely wear over a moment or two.

The mains problem are no one talked to the parents and it was NOT done under the supervision of a professional.

Mrs. C said...

Here's the vest I use with my 2-year-old:

It has two pounds' worth of weight, but Woodjie weighs nearly 40 pounds. He wears it for about 20 minutes at a time when he needs to concentrate (therapy time at kitchen table) or when he will be in a situation where he will likely be scared (dentist). He must be watched with it. He ought not have it on very long or too many times in a day. It's really more an art than a science, though the First Steps team and I have a written plan.

I would have a LARGE problem with someone using a weighted blanket or the like without my permission. Or if I thought someone were trying to shut him up for convenience rather than using the vest as a tool to help him know when it is quiet time.

I am concerned about even professionals taking some of the things we do the wrong way. But just FYI one of the reasons we use the vest is to prevent self-injury. With any device, you weigh perceived benefits/risks. :]

Sentry said...

This is the first I've heard of this 'therapy'. I understand these vests don't weight a lot, but isn't there an alternative in the classroom?

I would be upset if a teacher used this on my children without my permission.