Weighted vests, stereotyped behaviors and arousal in children with autism

J Autism Dev Disord. 2011 Jun;41(6):805-14. doi: 10.1007/s10803-010-1104-x.


The homeostatic theory of stereotyped behaviors assumes that these behaviors modulate arousal. Weighted vests are used to decrease stereotyped behaviors in persons with autism because the input they provide is thought to serve the same homeostatic function. This small-n, randomized and blinded study measured the effects of wearing a weighted vest on stereotyped behaviors and heart rate for six children with autism in the classroom. Weighted vests did not decrease motoric stereotyped behaviors in any participant. Verbal stereotyped behaviors decreased in one participant. Weighted vests did not decrease heart rate. Heart rate increased in one participant. Based on this protocol, the use of weighted vests to decrease stereotyped behaviors or arousal in children with autism in the classroom was not supported.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arousal*
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Autistic Disorder / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clothing / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Random Allocation
  • Stereotyped Behavior*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight-Bearing*