A good TubieMomma friend of mine keeps a running blog of her daughter and family. She is a little older than Ian and has more than a handful of the same issues. They both have been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). No matter how hard I try to explain this condition, the toughest critics never understand the foundation. She puts it perfectly! I haven't even heard Physical therapists and Occupational therapists explain it this well.
This information is used at the permission of the blogger and should not be reproduced without prior authorization. However, her blog is public and can be found at this domain:
A Girl and Her Tubie
In her words, Sensory Processing Disorder is (dad, this one's for you)~ Her discussion also includes weighted blankets. Weighted blankets and vests, along with compression vests are helpful to children with SPD...
Lately I've been toying with the idea of making Raya a weighted blanket. She loves heavy things and has a lot of sensory seeking behaviors in regards to proprioception. Translation: she craves sensory input that helps her to gain awareness of where her body is in space, and it takes stronger than average input for her to get the feedback that her body is craving. (or at least that's how I understand it :) She seeks out "heavy work" activities, like carrying heavy things, pushing heavy things around on the floor (chairs, full laundry baskets, etc), and anything that gives heavy resistance to her muscles and joints. Lucky for us, carrying her backpack is a good heavy work activity because the poor kid gets to do that for a few hours a day. :)
The idea behind a weighted blanket and other heavy work activities is that when the child gains greater body awareness through proprioceptive input, the nervous system can be calmed and the need for constant fidgiting, moving, jumping, crashing into things, etc. decreases. In other words, it helps the child to calm down, relax, and become less defensive about things that bother him/her.