The use of a weighted vest to increase on-task behavior in children with attention difficulties

Am J Occup Ther. Nov-Dec 2001;55(6):621-8. doi: 10.5014/ajot.55.6.621.


Objective: Children described as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder often demonstrate inability to sustain visual attention during classroom fine motor activities. This study investigated the effect of wearing a weighted vest (deep-pressure sensory input) on children's on-task behavior in the classroom.

Method: Four students with documented attention difficulties and hyperactivity were timed with a stopwatch to measure their on-task behavior during fine motor activities in the classroom. All 4 students were timed for six 15-min observations without wearing a weighted vest and for six 15-min observations while wearing a weighted vest.

Results: On-task behavior increased by 18% to 25% in all 4 students while wearing the weighted vest. Additionally, 3 of the 4 students frequently asked to wear the vest other than during the observation times.

Conclusion: These preliminary findings support the hypothesis that wearing a weighted vest to apply deep pressure increases on-task behavior during fine motor activities.

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / rehabilitation*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Therapy / methods*
  • Pressure
  • Sampling Studies
  • School Health Services
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weights and Measures*