Everyone, young and old, face issues that can cause insomnia and anxiety. Some, such as those afflicted with autism or other disorder, face extreme anxiousness and even the inability to induce calmness within themselves without the use of medication. Weight therapy, such as being covered with a weighted blanket or wearing a weighted vest stimulates the receptors in the body which send messages to the brain that brings about the production of chemicals that bring a sense of happiness and calmness. It is the deep pressure touch stimulation produced by the blanket that brings about these neurological changes and anyone could benefit from them.
I present a monthly program at an after-school program. Many of these children have learning disabilities and most all of them face daily issues that would cause stress and anxiety in anyone. Most of these children read below their grade level. Older children tend to misbehave or become withdrawn when they feel that others considered them “dumb” because they read poorly. After reading about the positive effects of weighted blankets, I wanted to make every child in the after-school program a weighted blanket. The expense of such a project kicked my brain into another gear. I decided to make a weighted scarf. I created different models and settled on a quilted strip about 3 inches wide and 4 ft long. I took two of these weighted scarfs with me and intended to refer to them as “weighted scarfs.” I had no particular plan for introducing the scarfs. In fact, it was all spontaneous. I walked to the back of the room and whispered in the ear of one of the most disruptive children, “You look like you need a hug.” As I said this, I hugged him and placed the weighted scarf around his shoulders. I quietly told him that the wrap was a hug that he could wear. His dull eye sparkled. He wore the “Hug” the entire hour and was well behaved and cooperative—a new description for him. His grandfather looked in disbelief when I told him how well behaved his grandson was.
As I introduced the weighted wraps, I called them “HUGs” and that is how I named my weighted wrap. All the kids and even the adults wanted a “Hug.” So they were passed around allowing everyone to have a HUG. As promised, only one child was allowed to wear the HUG the whole time. An adult worker wore the other HUG and said it really made her back feel better.
I had purchased 50 pounds of weighted pellets from Plastic Pellets 4 Fun, an online company.
FYI: Plastic Pellets 4 Fun has reasonable prices with free shipping via USPS.
I live in a rural area and my postal carrier drove to my door to deliver the 50# of pellets. She will not be too surprised when my next order of 200 pounds of pellets arrive. Yes, it sound like a lot of pellets, but you have to know that I am making HUGs for a total of 42 after-school children, plus my granddaughter needs HUGs for her Kindergarten students–that’s another 25 students.
I have added strings of parachute cord to each end of the HUGs, thus the design looks something like the drawing. I will be adding photos of children wearing the HUGs ASAP.
One more story before I close. After the introduction of the HUGs, I promised that I’d have a HUG for everyone the next time I came. WHAT!!! Was I crazy? It takes time to make each HUG. I was able to complete 20 HUGs and expected not to have enough. When I walked into the Activity Room, All the Kids screamed, “I want a HUG!” I was so thankful that there were only 21 students that day. Everyone was given a HUG and they were happy. It was the best time that I’ve spent with these children. We had so much fun. Were they perfect because they had HUGs? NO! But, I was able to enjoy being with them.
Check back later. I will be adding pictures of children wearing HUGs. UUM! I think I will make a few HUGs for residents at the local nursing home where I volunteer. They have a lot of anxiety, maybe a HUG will make them feel better.
FYI: Designing the HUG is an example of being an engineer. I observed a need–created a proto-type–field tested it–then fine tuned the product. This is an example of being a production engineer.