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g Autism Spectrum Disorders Site

BellaOnline's Autism Spectrum Disorders Editor

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A Quiet Quilt provides deep pressure


Last month I received a light blue Quiet Quilt Mini-Quilt for the benefit of both my sons who are on the Autism Spectrum. A Quiet Quilt is a special weighted quilt for special kids. There are three sizes to choose from, the regular Quiet Quilt measures 43 x 57, the Mini-Quilt measures 28 x 38 with the Lap Quilt at 10 x 15. The colors available at this time are light blue, denim, navy, red, cranberry, khaki and fuchsia and will vary on a weekly basis.

These are made of cotton and polyester, special ordered for each individual with two to three weeks time to produce. The lap quilt has four pounds of hypoallergenic plastic granule packets with the mini quilt containing 7 pounds. The regular Quiet Quilt is ten percent of the child's weight.

A Quiet Quilt is machine washable with the weight distributed evenly within the pockets and are removable, preferably for washing. They can also be washed separately. The granule packets can be doubled over for a different weight variation, or kept in the flat position like it arrives.

Your Quiet Quilt will arrive neatly packaged inside a large plastic bag and then inside a box. The is heavy to lift and carry from room to room, but the feeling is one of comfort and calmness once the Quiet Quilt Mini-Quilt is spread over your body. You can choose to have the Quilt wide across in case there are two children lying on the bed or sitting on the couch wanting to benefit from the deep pressure. The other option is to have the Quiet Quilt lengthwise to cover the whole body.

At first Nicholas thought it was very heavy, but he was not getting the pressure from being underneath the Quiet Quilt as opposed to carrying it. Once he sat still I draped the Quiet Quilt Mini-Quilt over him while on the couch and he enjoyed the relaxing sensation of the weight for a good fifteen minutes.

Many years ago Nicholas would take stuffed animals and place them under his shirt and lie down on his stomach. This was his way of getting deep pressure, while Matthew would grab the Animal Alley Arby Dog and want it on top of his body wrapped in a soft blanket with pillows pushed down on his body.

When Matthew was in preschool we had a weighted vest that he utilized at school for short periods of time, usually for table top activities and during circle time. While in the first grade he would spend time sitting on a squishy disk that the school Occupational Therapist provided for the schoolyear. I have kept the weights from the vest and purchased on ebay a few years ago some beanbag squares in various prints. The favorites are the Winnie the Pooh ones. These are packed in our emergency kit, a few in the car and when we go to Doctor appointments I bring a few along. They are good fidgets and similar to the bags you use in the Bean Bag Toss game.

The granule packets in the Quiet Quilt Mini-Quilt are double their size and neatly tucked away inside the pocket. There are twelve pockets that are 8 1/2 inches wide. One half the size of the Quiet Quilt Mini-Quilt would be a shoe bag with slots to stuff shoes, just to give you an idea of the size of the quilt.

I have our Quiet Quilt Mini-Quilt folded over and hanging on one of the couches in the living room. Having asthma my whole life I am glad to know the granule packets are hypoallergenic. The material is soft and not rough, but not super soft like some blankets can be. The workmanship is fantastic on the Quiet Quilt Mini-Quilt with every square the same size. There is four inches of fabric at the top and at the bottom that are flat with no pellets.

When folded over twice the Quiet Quilt Mini-Quilt becomes the size of a regular sleep pillow and could be placed at the bottom of a bed half folded or sit on a chair in the bedroom. I packed up the Quiet Quilt Mini-Quilt and brought it to one of my FloorTime parent training meetings to show the facilitators at the clinic and other parents. It was a huge hit among the parents and therapists.

Sensory Integration Dysfunction, also known as Sensory Processing Disorder, can be listed as SID, DSI or SPD. These sensory issues include oversensitivity and undersensitivity to touch, smell, taste, sound and sight and could have problems with motor coordination. Some children are sensitive to perfumes others are wearing or cannot tolerate playing with playdough. Children like my son Matthew only eat certain textures of food and cannot handle getting his hands washed, hair cut or teeth brushed.

Another issue children have is hyper and hypo senstitivity. This was also discussed at the FloorTime parent training meetings with the easy explanation being that those children with hyposensitivity want more stimulation where the person with hypersensitivity does not want or need further stimulation.

An example would be where the child was swinging on apparatus at the Occupational Therapy clinic and ended up getting sick afterwards. This happened a few times to Matthew when he received too much input. The same thing happens when someone not familiar with autism or sensory issues watches a child on the Autism Spectrum and plays with the child like they are a regular child, only they set the child into overdrive with too much input and stimulation, making it difficult for the child to self regulate back to their comfort level.

With a Quiet Quilt a family will not have to go through those highs and lows when a child receives too much stimulation. Through the deep pressure of the Quiet Quilt all is well again with a calmness taking over while sitting under the Quiet Quilt. The effect is really serene. In fact one time Matthew grabbed the Quiet Quilt Mini-Quilt and brought it into the bedroom. He draped it on his body lengthwise and fell asleep in a few minutes, so peacefully too.

I enjoy using the Quiet Quilt Mini-Quilt while relaxing and reading after the kids have retired for the night. I like it both ways, on the couch over my legs or mid section and while lying on the bed across both spots. I highly recommend purchasing one of the Quiet Quilts for a child that craves deep pressure. With winter season upon us in many parts of the country and school holiday break lasting three weeks, this is the time to order one for when the child is wanting to go outside and has cabin fever and needs to calm down. It would also be appropriate after being outside in the cold playing in the snow and needing to regroup and settle down into indoor activities that are less physical.

Since Matthew takes medication that assists in getting to sleep nightly and frequently has night sweats I have not tried using the Quiet Quilt Mini-Quilt over him while sleeping. This article explains the three systems that sensory integration focuses on. Here is a Glossary of Terms

You can learn about the Wilbarger Protocol known as brushing. A Temple Grandin interview on deep pressure

Weighted blankets and deep pressure was the topic of an October, 2005 conference of the Massachusetts Association of Occupational Therapy, Inc. "The Weighted Blanket - Use and Research in Psychiatry, Understand how weighted blankets are being used with mental health consumers, Recognize the weighted blanket qualities reported as most helpful by normal and mental health populations."

Place an Order for a Quiet Quilt. The site is www.quietquilt.com. This is exactly what our Mini-Quilt looks like:



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