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Do you or your child have Asperger Syndrome? Then you’re probably familiar with how it can lead to sleep and anxiety issues.
In fact, according to the Asperger’s/Autism Network, studies suggest that around 73% of children with Asperger Syndrome (AS) experience sleep problems. Many people with Asperger’s also experience the world as overwhelming, which can lead to feelings of anxiety.
Whilst there a number of things you can do to help children manage the symptoms of Aspergers, using a weighted blanket may help alleviate poor sleep and feelings of anxiety through therapeutic deep touch pressure.
Let’s take a quick look.
What Is Asperger Syndrome?
Asperger’s is a neurobiological condition on the autism spectrum and children with Asperger’s often feel, hear and see the world differently.
Often referred to as a ‘high functioning’ form of autism, Asperger’s is:
…characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. (source)
What generally sets children with Asperger’s apart from other forms of autism is their relatively normal speech and cognitive development.
Common Symptoms of Asperger Syndrome
Often with a high IQ, children with Asperger Syndrome tend to struggle with communication and social skills. Asperger’s also frequently coexists with conditions such as ADHD/ADD and sensory processing disorders.
Here are some of the common symptoms associated with Asperger’s:
- Sensitivity to specific sensory input, such as smells, sounds, touch or textures
- Clumsiness and lack of co-ordination
- Poor organizational and self-help skills
- Difficulty controlling emotions
- Difficulty with communication and social interaction
- Anxiety and sleep issues.
3 Benefits Of A Weighted Blanket For Asperger’s
As a ‘high functioning’ form of autism, Asperger Syndrome, like autism in general, is often associated with anxiety, sleep issues and sensory processing disorders.
Anxiety, tiredness and difficulties making sense of everyday sensory stimulation, such as touch and noise, can often lie at the root of mood swings, meltdowns, and even depression, in those with Asperger’s.
Here are 3 key ways using a weighted blanket for Asperger Syndrome may help:
1 – May aid better sleep
The deep touch pressure of a weighted blanket helps the body to naturally release melatonin, a hormone linked with sleep. Many children with autism are deficient in melatonin, so helping the body to naturally release it may both encourage more restful sleep.
2 – May help relaxation & regulation of emotions
As well as melatonin, the pressure of a weighted blanket also helps the body release serotonin. Often termed the ‘happy’ hormone, serotonin helps to calm the nervous system and is linked with mood regulation and relaxation.
So using a weighted blanket can often help alleviate the everyday feelings of stress and overwhelm so commonly linked with Asperger’s.
3 – Helps provide additional sensory input
It’s common for children and adults with Asperger’s to have a sensory processing disorder (SPD); a condition where the brain has problems processing information received via the senses.
An SPD can manifest as an over or under sensitivity to everyday stimuli such as smell, touch and sound. This can prove overwhelming to someone with Asperger’s, placing additional pressure on the nervous system.
Since it’s common for a person with an under sensitivity to stimuli to crave extra sensory input, the gentle pressure of weighted blanket may prove therapeutic to a person with Asperger’s.
Here are 3 weighted blankets for sensory kids to try (adult versions are also available).
Keep in mind; if you or your child has a severe over sensitivity to touch or textures, the additional weight of a weighted blanket may feel too much. Everyone’s unique, so there’s no hard and fast rule here and it’s often a case of trying a blanket out to see how you get on.
Weighted Blankets For Aspergers: A Final Word
If you, or your child, has Asperger Syndrome, a weighted blanket could be the answer to improved relaxation and better quality sleep.
Originally developed as a therapy for children with autism, weighted blankets have been used as a therapeutic aid by occupational therapists for many years.
Recently, however, they’ve become far more mainstream, with many parents successfully using them as a natural way to manage common symptoms in specific conditions such as Asperger’s, ADHD and ADD.