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Curious about the benefits of weighted lap pads for ADHD?
TOP PICK: Harkla Weighted Lap Pad
Increasingly used by parents and teachers to help children with attention deficit disorders calm down & focus better, weighted lap pads are both easy to use and affordable.
Smaller in size than a weighted blanket, they’re also very portable, making them practical to use at home or school, as well as trips out in the car. For adults with ADHD, they can also be used discretely at work.
How Does A Weighted Lap Pad Work?
Similar to a weighted blanket in how they work, weighted lap pads are filled with a weighted material (generally glass beads or poly pellets), which is equally distributed across ‘pockets’ sewn into the lap pad.
This gentle weight provides a calming deep touch pressure (DTP) on the body of the user, which research suggests has a calming, grounding effect on the nervous system of the person using it.
How Can A Lap Pad Benefit ADHD?
Weighted lap pads are most commonly used by children and adults to help manage the symptoms of autism (ASD), anxiety, sensory processing disorders (SPD) and attention deficit disorders (ADHD).
Whilst many of the symptoms of these conditions overlap, ADHD specifically is a neurodevelopmental condition that makes it hard for children to concentrate and sit still. Symptoms may include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
Here are 5 ways a weighted lap pad may benefit ADHD.
1 – May Help Kids With ADHD Calm Down
The gentle weight of a weighted lap pad provides something called deep touch pressure (DTP) across the lap of the person using it.
DTP has been shown to calm people’s nervous systems, whilst helping the brain to release the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is linked with mood, sleep, focus and a sense of calm.
Research also suggests children with ADHD are often low in serotonin; a key reason why so many children with ADHD likely benefit from DTP.
2 – Provides ‘Calming’ Proprioceptive Input
Many kids and adults with ADHD have a poor sense of body awareness. A bit like an extra ‘sense’, this sense of body awareness is often referred to as proprioception.
Poor proprioception often translates in children with ADHD as clumsiness, scattered thinking, difficulty sitting still, fidgeting or an almost uncontrollable desire for lots of energetic ‘rough’ play.
The deep touch pressure of a weighted lap pad helps stimulate the proprioceptive system, which may have a calming, grounding and organising effect on the nervous system of someone with ADHD.
3 – May Improve Focus & Ability To Sit Still
Many children with ADHD struggle to sit still during mealtimes or desk/carpet based activities at school, with an almost uncontrollable desire to fidget, get up or interrupt. This can make it challenging for children with ADHD to listen or complete quiet, desk based tasks.
Many parents and teachers have found the proprioceptive input of a weighted lap pad helps children with ADHD both focus better and remain seated for longer.
In fact, this study (PDF) suggests that proprioceptive and deep-pressure input may help children diagnosed with ADHD ‘improve their in-seat behavior, attention to task, and task completion.’
Adults with ADHD may also find weighted lap pads a discreet and portable aid for the workplace.
4 – May Help A Child With ADHD Prepare For Sleep
Many children and adults with ADHD struggle to calm down and sleep at night. This can put stress on the nervous system and lead to longer term sleep problems and tiredness during the day.
Using a weighted lap pad for a short period before bed may be an effective way to help a jittery child with ADHD relax, since the gentle pressure of the lap pad helps stimulate the release of serotonin and dopamine. These ‘hormones’ are linked to general wellbeing and the body’s ability to relax.
Serotonin also naturally converts to the ‘sleep’ hormone melatonin, which helps our body prepare for sleep.
For additional help sleeping at night, a weighted blanket may also be helpful.
5 – May Reduce Anxiety In Kids With ADHD
Many children with ADHD struggle to manage their emotions and find the routines and expectations of everyday life a challenge. This can often lead to a sense of anxiety.
Here’s a short video on how ADHD and anxiety often overlap.
Weighted Lap Pads For ADHD: A Final Word
The therapeutic deep touch pressure of weighted lap pads are becoming more and more popular as a sensory tool to naturally calm many of the symptoms associated with autism (ASD), sensory processing disorders (SPD) and attention deficit disorders (ADD).
Weighted lap pads for ADHD specifically may offer a number of key benefits – from an improved ability to calm down to better mood regulation and focus.
Think you might want to try a weighted lap pad? Here are 3 popular ones to try.
Please note the information on this page is not medical advice & we recommend you consult with your doctor.