The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice

Objective Investigations of Controversial and Unorthodox Claims in Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry, and Social Work

Wearing a Weighted Vest as Intervention for Children
with Autism/Pervasive Developmental Disorder

Behavioral Assessment of Stereotypy and Attention to Task

Author:
Amy Kane - The May Institute and the May Center for Applied Research
James K. Luiselli - The May Institute and the May Center for Applied Research
Shawna Dearborn - The May Institute and the May Center for Applied Research
and Nancy Young - The May Institute and the May Center for Applied Research

Author Note:
This study was based on a thesis by the senior author submitted in partial fulfillment of the Masters Degree in Special Education at Bridgewater State College. We thank the staff of the May Center for Education and Vocational Training, Braintree, MA, for their support and contributions.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to James K. Luiselli, Senior Vice President, Applied Research, Clinical Training, and Peer Review, The May Institute, One Commerce Way, Norwood, MA 02062. E-mail: jluiselli@mayinstitute.org.

Abstract:
Proponents of sensory integration therapy recommend application of deep pressure, induced by wearing a weighted vest, as an approach to treat perceptual processing disturbance in people with developmental disabilities. The present study evaluated the effects of wearing a weighted vest on stereotypy and attention to task of four children who had autism/pervasive developmental disorder. Behaviors were measured during 10-minute sessions under baseline (no vest), weighted vest, and vest without weight conditions. For all children, wearing the weighted vest did not reduce stereotypy or increase attention to task, and with three of them it appeared to have a negative influence. Clinical and research issues are discussed.


You can read the full text of this article in
The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, vol. 3, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2004-05).
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