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Old 03-15-2011, 07:07 PM   #1
Singledad
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Weighted blankets? Cooling vest?

Okay, so I am curious about the success (or even non success) stories of how well a weighted blanket helped your SPD child... I am thinking about if this is worth the money to try for my seeking DD. I think it could help her, but the cost I am seeing for one is high for our budget.

Also, anyone have an idea of how I could cheaply make a cooling vest for our trip? I am not very skilled at making things (fine motor skills are lacking in our family) but can't afford 150 dollar vest from ebay or somewhere. Yet, I think a vest would help our family get more enjoyment out of our trip this june. can you just make pockets on a vest and stick those cheap reuseable ice/heat packs you can buy at wal-mart? (the 3 dollar gel ones) in the pockets? anyone done this? how often do you have to replace them to keep the cooling effect (ie: how quick do they melt), and do you end up wet from them melting?


any and all information is appreciated

thanks in advance!
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:07 PM   #2
clanmcculloch
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I can't speak to cooling vests but weighted blankets don't have to be expensive if you can do some basic sewing (straight lines is all you need to do). You really just need to find a fabric which has a texture your child likes (mine loves polar fleece) and sew a bunch of pockets. You then buy or sew some basic bean bags (filled with rice, beans, whatever you want) and stick them in the pockets. You can add velcro to keep the pockets closed. You might find something simple on etsy.

My daughter didn't need something that weighted. I made a no-sew knot blanket using 2 pieces of polar fleece. It's a fairly heavy blanket as I chose a thicker fabric and it's 2 layers thick. She used to like to wrap it around herself when she's upset. These days a hot shower works better but she's also a teenager so that could be part of it too. Thank goodness we have a boiler that heats on demand rather than a hot water tank so we don't need to worry about running out of hot water.
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Multi-Allergy & Autism Dining Reviews: February 2014 * DL & LA July 2013 * February 2013 * August 2012 * February 2012 * August 2011 * August 2010


February 2014 AKL: me, DH, DD15, DD13 * July 2013 DL offsite (Tropicana): me, DH, DD15, DD12, DSD30, DSSil * February 2013 WDW Poly: me, DH, DD14, DD12
August 2012 WDW FW Cabin & AoA Nemo: me, DH, DD14, DD12, DD12's BFF11 * February 2012 WDW Poly CL: me, DH, DD14, DD11 * August 2011 WDW YC: me, DH, DD13, DD11
February 2011 WDW Poly CL: me, DH, DD13, DD10, DSD28, DSSil * August 2010 WDW POFQ & Poly CL: me, DH, DD12, DD10 * June 2010 WDW Pop: me, DH, DD12, DD9
December 2009 WDW POFQ: me, DH, DD11, DD9 * February 2009 WDW Pop: me, DH, DD11, DD8 * August 2008 WDW SSR: me, DH, DSD25, DSD24, DD10, DD8
September 2007 WDW Pop: me, DH, DD9, DD7 * April 2002 DLR offsite: me, DH, DSD19, DSD17, DD4, DD1.5 * June 2000 DLR offsite: me(pregnant), DH, DSD17, DSD15, DD2
January 1994 WDW offsite: me, DH, DSD11, DSD9 * January 1992 WDW offsite: me, DH, DSD9, DSD7
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:27 PM   #3
brat
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Cooling vests, we use daily during the summer here in AZ.Yes you can make your own and I have.

Now first off which style of cooling vest are you want?Pumped ice water or frozen pouch pocket?

Pump requires a bit more cost/time to put together and some sewing skills.A battery powered water pump attached to ice water filled thremos jug in a backpack or shoulder bag that you end up carrying, connects with tubing(I have used both IV/fishtank airline tubing and garden irragation tubing.I like fishtank best)The vest is where you will spend time sewing tubing into the vest.Advice do not make your tubing turns to tight and first time do not try to sew the tubing to tight together(more risk of damaging the tubing with a pucture).This stays cool as long as you replace the ice water and have batteries to keep the pump working.

Frozen pouch pocket you can get away with a pocket fishing vest, socks to put frozen packets in(too cold is not good for skin) and the freezer packets.Yes, this cheaper vest will get you wet and is not as comfortable as others.If you can sew you can increase the comfort of the vest.We keep extra sets of packets in a cooler attached to DHs powerchair.How long you get out of each set depends of how hot it is that day and how hot you run.We get 1 to 3 hours out of the cheaper blue ice homemade vest sets.We get 4 to 8 hours out of the expensive ones.

You might be covered to get a cooling vest with a RX depending on your insurance and your Dr.
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:29 PM   #4
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@clanmcculloch I'll check etsy, and look at the fabrics and try to figure out if it is cheaper to buy bean bags or make them. thanks for the info

@brat I highly doubt the state will cover a cooling vest. we have badgercare/medicaid. Do you know where I might find detailed instructions on the pump vest? although that sounds like a lot of work, it sounds like it would also be less work in the end. (Not as wet, less need for keeping frozen gel packs around, etc.)

thanks again for all the help!

I Love you guys!
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Old 03-16-2011, 08:18 AM   #5
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Glad to help. My daughter helped pick the fabric for her blanket so that probably made a huge difference for her. She felt the texture and saw the pattern and knew I made it so all of that made it very special for her. I think there's comfort from all of that as much as the sensory aspect (she has Asperger Syndrome so the sensory seeking behaviour/SPD aspect is only one component of her issues). She also likes deep hugs from me (only from me; anybody else causes her to flip out) when she's upset. Water really has become her best sensory soother. At WDW that means we hit the pool daily and if it's too cold then she has a long shower.

She doesn't have any kind of weighted anything at school. In the lower grades, the school provided her with a sensory seat cushion for her chair. It was a bit cushy with little bumps all over it so she'd get that constant sensory input while sitting at her desk. She also had a fidget item for her hands to help her focus. They also took care in where in the room she was seated because while she's a sensory seeker she's also a sensory avoider so things like breeze from the window, vent blowing down on her, etc would distract her.
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Multi-Allergy & Autism Dining Reviews: February 2014 * DL & LA July 2013 * February 2013 * August 2012 * February 2012 * August 2011 * August 2010


February 2014 AKL: me, DH, DD15, DD13 * July 2013 DL offsite (Tropicana): me, DH, DD15, DD12, DSD30, DSSil * February 2013 WDW Poly: me, DH, DD14, DD12
August 2012 WDW FW Cabin & AoA Nemo: me, DH, DD14, DD12, DD12's BFF11 * February 2012 WDW Poly CL: me, DH, DD14, DD11 * August 2011 WDW YC: me, DH, DD13, DD11
February 2011 WDW Poly CL: me, DH, DD13, DD10, DSD28, DSSil * August 2010 WDW POFQ & Poly CL: me, DH, DD12, DD10 * June 2010 WDW Pop: me, DH, DD12, DD9
December 2009 WDW POFQ: me, DH, DD11, DD9 * February 2009 WDW Pop: me, DH, DD11, DD8 * August 2008 WDW SSR: me, DH, DSD25, DSD24, DD10, DD8
September 2007 WDW Pop: me, DH, DD9, DD7 * April 2002 DLR offsite: me, DH, DSD19, DSD17, DD4, DD1.5 * June 2000 DLR offsite: me(pregnant), DH, DSD17, DSD15, DD2
January 1994 WDW offsite: me, DH, DSD11, DSD9 * January 1992 WDW offsite: me, DH, DSD9, DSD7
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Old 03-16-2011, 08:58 AM   #6
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hug:Singledad

We used the one we had to make more.We do prefer the pump vests most of the time.

It is not as hard as it looks.I will see if I can get the pictures I took of making ours off my old computer.

The pumps we used are the same type used to make small water fountains.We learned the solar ones did not work as well for us because we like shade.

The hard part for DH and I was finding a battery powered water pump light enough for our youngest that moved enough water.We ended up going with a stronger water pump that is to heavy for her to manage herself but we could attack to her carrier/wheelchair.

Since you know your child think about if you will carry the pump or your child will before getting the pump.Read to see how much water it pumps per time amount.The really small pumps do not handle enough water to keep the water moving fast enough to really stay cool through the whole vest.So avoid the tiny ones like the size you would see in miniture fountains that work as USB desk toys.

For my younger kids I used the ones for tabletop fountains. They fit into PVC connectors found in the plumbing section of my local Home depot.You can get the connectors threaded or unthreaded, I did not want to have to cut threads and you need them on one side as you need to open and replace the ice water.(if you have friends who do plumbing or landscaping they may have a thread cutter you can barrow or barrow their skills doing it for you)

For the thermos part the kids got the big drink mugs that hold 64 ounces(small round water cooler maybe) and it took my some time to match the threading.

Now back to that pump, I glued ours into the PVC connectors making sure intake tube goes into the mug.Since the top of our pumps were the post top type I got another connector this one from the garden department.Sized this post and got a connector for irragation systems that matched post size on one end and 1/4 inch tubing on other end.Glued this connector also.Also bought tubing caps/plugs to close off tubing when not in use.

Bought 1/4 inch airline tubing for fish tanks and a pack of connectors at petstore and at Walmart( was not sure which connectors I liked better, this is one of the areas where the store bought vest has nicer than I have found. Ended up liking the petstore ones better than the Walmart ones)

Learned it is better to glue a short tubes(6 inch piece of tubing to the pump connector and 14 inch return tube) so kids do not have to connect directly to the pump.I also cover the pump with cover made of a firm dog toy cut in half. Drilled 8 holes in this toy to run tubing through and to keep the pump cool.My kids fiddle with things so this was my safety add-on.Toy goes on firmly enough that kids do not take it off but I can to change batteries.

Now the bag for the pump can be a bag or just a straping system.This is where you decide which works better for you child.If your child uses a stroller or wheelchair we used a O2 mount to put the mug in.

The vest is like quilting but easier to think of as a track that your tubing rides in.How much tubing you use depends on you and the size of your child. I cut our vests out of cotton fabric. Two layers per vest.I am sure other sewers would have other ways of sewing the tubing in.Plan you endsa top of vest to save you work on filling the vest with water) I drew a chalk line to sew in the pattern I wanted the tubing to go then used a double needle that was spaced wide enough that tubing fit between the needles I carefully followed my line keeping my tubing between.I know this could also done without the tubing then thread the tubing through after you are done sewing. After tubing was sewn in I finished the veat edges with bias tape.Added velcro closure.Cap the ends of the tubing with at least a 6 inch tails of tubing sticking out of the vest.

Now lines of tubing with those connectors at each end glued on each end(keep extras with you in case they come off)I have different sizes so I can carry the pump for the kids some of the time.If you need these to be very clean most Drs will help you get O2 tubing line that comes in sealed clean packs.

Fill the mug with ice water.Filling the vest itself can be done with suction on tubing tail by mouth, wet vac or other.Fill connector lines by mouth(think if them as straws and drink some of the ice water)

Connect and turn on pump. Add fresh ice as needed.
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:36 PM   #7
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yeah, if you could find photos of the pump/water bottle side that would be great. That is the part I'm have difficulty understanding. I *think* I got it, but a photo would make it more solid. thanks again for all the information, you are all wonderful!
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:10 PM   #8
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DH is said he will try to get the photos off my old computer I cound not get them.

Think of that PVC connector as the lip of a cup lid(that is why the threading so you can screw it on the mug) and the pump fits inside the ring shape of the connector acting as the the top of the lid.It will look like a drink lid with two straws sticking out the top before the toy covers it.One is the water in the other is the water out.How deep into your mug the pump goes will depend on the pump you find.

I will be picking-up my new camera next week so I can take new pics of our pumps in their mugs/coolers/thermos containers.

My kids also have stuffed animals that we restuffed with blue ice and stitched back-up that we freeze at night.I did some with a zipper to put instant ice packs in for fast ER use.
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Old 03-27-2011, 01:15 AM   #9
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well, i did make a weighted lap pad, and so far it has seemed to help in class *knocks on wood*

Now for me to try the larger scale project of the blanket.

still can't picture what I need for the pump side of a cooling vest, but I do think sticking the blue ice in a plushie is a GREAT idea! I bet I could even do that at buildabear before it is sewn up. either way, that is a great idea!
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Old 03-27-2011, 02:03 AM   #10
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Our build-a-bear has let us do it.

Congrats on the weighted lap blanket.Glad it is working.

I stopped at the local homestore to see if they had the right pump in stock so I could give you the model name.They only had the plug in type(I do not like to rewire to make plug-ins battery)

As soon as I pick-up new camera I will take pictures of ours. If I find the small pump I want I will make a new one for youngest DD.If I do I will take pictures of each step for you.

Picturing the pump-side is difficult because each pump can be a little different.The pump for DHs vest I had to stripe of thing I would have wanted for a pond pump but did not want for this.

Since your DD is still small you can get away with a smaller pump.pump size is related to how many feet of tubing you need water moving through.If you look at the ready made you can see the tubeing pattern they use. I make mine more tubeing dense since I like colder.
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