How the Correct Use of Weighted Vests Can Improve Attention to Task in School Aged Children! Facts and Fiction.

  Signs of ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) in children
  • Excitability
  • Fidgeting
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Short attention span
  • Boredom
  • Mood swings
How Can a Weighted Vest Improve Students School Performance?
  • Provides “deep touch pressure” which has a calming and organizing effect on students who have trouble focusing in class
  • Weighted vests are often recommended by an Occupational Therapist to help a child successfully participate in school related tasks
  • Increased focus/attention
  • Increased time spent on a school task
  • Decreased anxiety associated with ADHD
  • Promotes calmness
  • Promotes organization
Within the following media clips and evidence-based articles is factual and false information regarding the use and effects of weighted vests on school aged children. The evidence based articles directly following the videos either prove the media to be providing true or false information.
  • in this media clip, Nancy VandenBerg (Occupational Therapist) discovers how weighted vests improve attention to task and provide a calming effect on the students in the school district that she works in.
  • A student reported: “It helps me concentrate a little harder.”
“Effects of Weighted Vests on Attention, Impulse Control, and On-Task Behavior in Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” (Evidence-based article)
  • According to this article (place name of article above) this media source provides accurate information.
  • This scholarly article, written by two Occupational Therapists, analyzed the question “do weighted vests improve attention to task in school aged children?”
  • The study analyzed 110 school aged children diagnosed with ADHD and the effects of weighted vests on their attention to task.
  • The students only had one diagnosis (ADHD) and were not on medication during the duration of the study.
  • Findings of the study: “although wearing a weighted vest is not a cure all strategy, our findings support the use of weighted vests to remedy attentional and on task behavioral problems of children diagnosed with ADHD.”
  • In this media clip, a student and parent report their results of using a weighted blanket to improve attention to task.
  • A weighted blanket is essentially the same thing as a weighted vest and is made for the same purposes-to improve attention to task in children diagnosed with ADHD.
  • The student reports that the weighted blanket has a calming effect and helps him to sit still and focus better in class.
  • The mother reports that his grades have improved since he began using the weighted blanket.
  • The classroom teacher reports that she is pleased with his school performance since using the weighted blanket.
“The effect of the wearing of weighted vests on the sensory behavior of learners diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder within a school context” (Evidence-based article)
  • This study was conducted by three Occupational Therapists.
  • This study confirms that the above video is in fact true information.
  • This article aimed to study the effects of weighted vests (much like weighted blankets).
  • It studies 30 children aged 6-9 who were diagnosed with ADHD and reported to have poor in seat behavior and task completion by their classroom teacher.
  • The conclusion of this study suggests that the intervention of utilizing weighted vests improves classroom behavior and performance of students diagnosed with ADHD.
  • In this media clip, the focus is the concern of the parents regarding the weighted vest being used on their 4-year old child without their consent.
  • My focus of the video is that the weighted vest was deemed not useful after being used for ONLY one minute.
“The Use of a Weighted Vest To Increase On-Task Behavior in Children With Attention Difficulties” (Evidence-based article)
  • In this peer reviewed article, written by Nancy VandenBerg (Occupational Therapist), she studies the use of weighted vests on children diagnosed with ADHD and the appropriate time that students should be wearing the vest for the vest to be effective.
  • The weighted vest is used for 15 minutes to have effects on attention to task in school aged children.
  • The study was conducted on 4 students.
  • The children’s attention to task was observed for 15 minutes with the weighted vest on and for 15 minutes with the weighted vest off.
  • The results of the study: “on-task behavior increased by 18% to 25% in all 4 students when wearing the weighted vest for 15-minute intervals.”
After exploring facts and fiction through various evidence-based articles, I have been able to validate that the first two news videos about weighted vests/weighted blankets provide accurate information regarding the correct use and results of weighted vests/blankets in school aged children. Video three has been debunked and proven to have been used incorrectly, resulting in poor results on the student’s attention to task. How is a weighted vest used?
  • Wear on top of clothing
  • The weight of the vest should be 5%-10% of your child’s total body weight (your child’s body weight multiplied by .05 or .10)
  • Vest should be worn 5 minutes before activity begins in class
  • Vest should be worn for 20-40 minutes (during task in classroom)
  • Vest should be taken off for 20-40 minutes after the task is complete
References: Buckle, F., Franzsen, D., & Bester, J. (2011). The effect of the of weighted vests on the sensory behavior of students diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder within a school context. South African Journal of Occupational Therapy, 41 (3), 36-42. Lin, H., Lee, P., Chang, W., & Hong, F. (2014). Effects of Weighted Vests on Attention, Impulse Control, and On-Task Behavior in Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(2), 149-158. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.009365 Vandenberg, N. L. (2001). The Use of a Weighted Vest To Increase On-Task Behavior in Children With Attention Difficulties. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 55(6), 621-628. doi:10.5014/ajot.55.6.621 OTvest, L. (2011, July 17). OTvest™ – The On-Task Weighted Vest for Treating Autism, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUpCZqFHySc KERO, 2. A. (2017, December 06). Weighted blankets, lap pads helping people with autism, anxiety and attention disorders. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKRe1ViSMts News8, W. (2011, November 16). School uses weighted vest to get kids focused. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9_Vqe_s4o0  

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