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Research Article  |   November 2001
Effects of a Weighted Vest on Attention to Task and Self-Stimulatory Behaviors in Preschoolers With Pervasive Developmental Disorders
Author Affiliations
  • Doreen Fertel-Daly, MA, OT, BCP, is Occupational Therapist, Challenge Infant Developmental Center, Brooklyn, New York
  • Gary Bedell, PhD, OT, is Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Boston University, Center for Rehabilitation Effectiveness, Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Boston, Massachusetts. At the time of this study, he was Adjunct Associate Professor, New York University
  • Jim Hinojosa, PhD, OT, FAOTA, is Professor, New York University, 35 West 4th Street, 11th Floor, New York, New York 10011; jim.hinojosa@nyu.edu
Article Information
Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Children and Youth
Research Article   |   November 2001
Effects of a Weighted Vest on Attention to Task and Self-Stimulatory Behaviors in Preschoolers With Pervasive Developmental Disorders
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November/December 2001, Vol. 55, 629-640. doi:10.5014/ajot.55.6.629
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November/December 2001, Vol. 55, 629-640. doi:10.5014/ajot.55.6.629
Abstract

Objective.This study examined the effectiveness of using a weighted vest for increasing attention to a fine motor task and decreasing self-stimulatory behaviors in preschool children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD).

Method.Using an ABA single-subject design, the duration of attention to task and self- stimulatory behaviors and the number of distractions were measured in five preschool children with PDD over a period of 6 weeks.

Results.During the intervention phase, all participants displayed a decrease in the number of distractions and an increase in the duration of focused attention while wearing the weighted vest. All but 1 participant demonstrated a decrease in the duration of self-stimulatory behaviors while wearing a weighted vest; however, the type of self-stimulatory behaviors changed and became less selfabusive for this child while she wore the vest. During the intervention withdrawal phase, 3 participants experienced an increase in the duration of self-stimulatory behaviors, and all participants experienced an increase in the number of distractions and a decrease in the duration of focused attention. The increase or decrease, however, never returned to baseline levels for these behaviors.

Conclusion.The findings suggest that for these 5 children with PDD, the use of a weighted vest resulted in an increase in attention to task and decrease in self-stimulatory behaviors. The most consistent improvement observed was the decreased number of distractions. Additional research is necessary to build consensus about the effectiveness of wearing a weighted vest to increase attention to task and decrease self-stimulatory behaviors for children with PDD.