Occupational therapists' reported experiences using weighted vests with children with specific developmental disorders

Occup Ther Int. 2004;11(1):52-66. doi: 10.1002/oti.197.


The purpose of this study was to identify specific practice patterns of a convenience sample of paediatric occupational therapists and the behavioural changes that they observe when they use weighted vests with children with developmental disorders. Although the practice of weighted vests is accepted clinically, there is little discussion of their use nor is there empirical evidence of their efficacy in the literature. A convenience sample of 51 occupational therapists from different geographic areas of the United States participated in a telephone survey about how they used weighted vests with specific children. This study was a follow-up to a mail survey about paediatric occupational therapists' opinions and general practice patterns with weighted vests. Although the interviewees observed some different behavioural changes in children with various developmental disorders when these children used weighted vests, their practice patterns in using the vests were similar across disabilities. The most common behavioural changes noted were increased attention and staying on task. Participants' opinions and practice patterns related to weighted vests are discussed. This study is not generalizable as it utilized a self-selected group of therapists. However, the findings from the qualitative data can provide direction for future quantitative studies by providing important data about practice patterns that may serve as independent variables examining the effectiveness of weighted vests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Child
  • Clothing*
  • Data Collection
  • Developmental Disabilities / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Therapy / methods*
  • Sensation Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight-Bearing