DIY Weighted Vest For Sensory Needs

If you have a child with autism or any other sensory need, then sensory seeking behavior is nothing new to you.  For those of you  who have no clue what I’m talking about let me be  fill you in.  Your child seeks out activities that fulfill his current sensory needs.  So if deep pressure is what he’s seeking then he will often walk up to people repeatedly and  bear hug them.  Joint compressions are helpful for this input but not always practical.

Need a weighted vest at home to help with sensory needs? Here's a frugal way to make one

 Most likely, insurance is barely covering therapies.  They don’t usually cover additional sensory items like weighted blankets or vests for at home use.  All of that comes out of pocket.  Sometimes the pocket is empty so creative solutions must be attempted.  Some work like our weighted vest and some don’t work well, but I’m not willing to admit any of those.  Regardless, ready made weighted vests and blankets cost a small fortune! You can often get them covered when you apply for grants in case you would prefer a ready made one. SnugVest  is recommended by Generation Rescue.

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Here’s what we did here in Autismland to make a simple  inexpensive weighted vest for Logan. He wears it  when he does his lessons or when he’s pacing to calm himself. .  When he starts hugging me a lot , I tend to make it available.He knows when to get it although when I see him getting dysregulated and generally having trouble focusing, I might suggest it.


Take a fishing vest with lots of pockets.  Ask some fisherman that you know or check out the thrift stores to find one.  We lucked out in that Grampa had an extra one that he allowed us to borrow.  We were originally borrowing it for a short period of time .  It’s one of Logan’s most cherished possessions now that he has passed away. A little bit of Grampa with him that is all his own.


Fill some Ziplocs with some inexpensive rice or beans.  Dried beans are super cheap and will do the job nicely.  Just be sure to seal them tightly.


Add to the pockets and seal the pockets.


Have the child try it on to see how it feels.  If he says it’s too heavy then remove some bags.  If it’s not heavy enough then add more .  We often adjust the bags depending on how much deep pressure Logan seems to be craving at that time.

There you go!  A weighted vest for half the price!  These things can easily run $100 or more .  Use the money you save to go out for ice cream.  I insist. Better yet, come take me out for ice cream.


See the rest of the series here:

Autism can be a giant money pit. Explore some ways to keep costs at bay while still helping your child.