There are many children in the world that are dealing with some kind of neurological disorder, which include ADHD or ADD, autism spectrum disorders, sensory disorders, and anxiety. It is difficult to really know whether there really is an increase in children that are born with these conditions. That is because back in the day, neurological disorders were not diagnosed nearly as often. Instead, kids were just given labels and were believed to be ‘bad kids’, or were believed to not have been ‘that smart’.
And, think about how back a half of a century ago or longer, kids that were acting out or were having a hard time learning a concept were often humiliated in their classrooms. The teachers would just place a dunce cap on them, and leave them sitting in a corner in front of the classmates. That would be a mortifying experience, and the good news is that practice had been dead for a long time.
That is because of the fact that psychologists have been able to determine the challenges that many kids are facing nowadays. This is how kids are receiving diagnoses of ADHD.ADD, autism spectrum disorders, sensory disorders, and anxiety. And, the good news is that there are tools and therapies around that will help these kids grow and learn, so they can function in society.
Now, let’s take a brief look at how kids (and adults) are affected by these different neurological disorders.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD)
ADHD or ADD is a neurobehavioral disorder which causes behaviors to be disruptive and impulsive. Additionally, the individual who has the condition will have a difficult time concentrating for long periods of time. Kids and adults that have ADHD/ADD are easily distracted, fidgety, moody, talk excessively and can have anxiety.
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism is a neurological disorder that affects speech development, social development, and their ability to learn. Kids with autism tend to become fixated on different things and tend to self-stimulate themselves with repetitive behaviors which are known as stimming. Kids that are on the autism spectrum disorder have anxiety and have sensory issues. This is why they often have meltdowns. Autism ranges in severity, and there are different types.
Classic autism is what was just described, and for those who have mild autism are usually quite high-functioning, and eventually, do learn to speak, they learn to socialize, and are able to contribute to society in one way or another. However, those who are moderately or severely affected will not likely have any speech, most will not ever learn how to socialize, and many are unable to be toilet trained. These individuals will need lifelong care and are always anxious as well because they are trapped in their bodies.
However, some individuals have a form of autism that is on the higher functioning end called Asperger’s Syndrome. The difference between someone who has classic autism and Asperger’s Syndrome is that those who have Asperger’s Syndrome have normal speech development.
Some kids under the autism spectrum disorder have severe sensory issues that they are unable to cope when there are bright lights and loud noises. However, the good news is that kids that have autism, ADD/ADHD, anxiety and sensory issues can be helped.
But, the unfortunate thing is that many therapies that are meant to treat kids and adults with autism such as ABA, OT, and speech therapies are costly, and many insurance plans do not cover much of the therapy. However, there is one inexpensive and a very helpful tool that all parents of children that have any of these conditions must know about! That is the weighted blanket which works wonders for these kids.
What Is A Weighted Blanket, And How Does It Help Kids With Neurological Conditions?
Weighted blankets are tools that OT’s recommend for kids that have these disorders because they have a very calming effect on them. They are made of 100% cotton, and other materials, as well as anti-microbial fabrics since hospitals and other facilities, use them.
The weight from the blanket is meant to naturally induce chemicals within the body that causes the individual to be calm, and sleepy. The pressure from the blanket is gentle, and it induces the production of serotonin which is known as the happy chemical. Serotonin calms the nervous system, and as a result, the individual is happier and calmer.
Eventually, serotonin converts to melatonin which is the sleeping chemical and causes the individual to become drowsy and fall asleep at night. Weighted blankets are also ideal for people who suffer from insomnia as well.
The wonderful thing about weighted blankets is that they are inexpensive, safe, and effective. There are different types of weighted blankets depending on the condition that the child or adult has. And, this is one tool that every parent of children that have any neurological disorder must have and use. Weighted blankets help kids stay calm and sleep at night!