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Effects of Weighted Blankets on Sleep Problems in Children with Autism

weightedblankets[Source: Pediatrics via Your Therapy Source]
Pediatrics published research on a randomized phase III trial determining the effectiveness of a weighted-blanket intervention in treating severe sleep problems in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Sixty seven children were randomized into a weighted blanket group or a control group (regular blanket). The blankets were introduced at bedtime and used for a two week period. The researchers measured total sleep time recorded by actigraphy, sleep-onset latency, sleep efficiency, assessments of child behavior, family functioning, and adverse events. Sleep was also measured by using parent-report.
The results indicated the following:
1. the weighted blanket, compared with the control blanket, did not increase total sleep time.
2. no group differences were recorded in any other objective or subjective measure of sleep, including behavioral outcomes.
3. Subjectively, parents and children reported favoring the weighted blanket.
The researchers concluded that the use of a weighted blanket did not help children with ASD sleep for a longer period of time, fall asleep significantly faster, or wake less often.
Reference:Weighted Blankets and Sleep in Autistic Children—A Randomized Controlled Trial
Paul Gringras, Dido Green, Barry Wright, Carla Rush, Masako Sparrowhawk, Karen Pratt, Victoria Allgar, Naomi Hooke, Danielle Moore, Zenobia Zaiwalla, and Luci Wiggs. Pediatrics peds.2013-4285; published ahead of print July 14, 2014, doi:10.1542/peds.2013-4285
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