A therapy aid you can make at home!

Sep 2, 2004

The Bottom Line Sometimes the high price of a therapy item is warranted. Sometimes it isn't. Making your own therapy items can save you money in the long run! Just remember, safety first!

Zacky has been on Occupational Therapy for more than two years. Zack is Autistic and also has been diagnosed with Sensory Integration Dysfunction. He doesn't like to be touched, except on his terms.

In therapy, I have learned more about my son and his "ways" than I thought possible. Different "tells" that he has that most people wouldn't see. Things they wouldn't understand. The hand flapping. The "singing". The tantrums. Looking at him, people think there is nothing wrong with him. He's a "normal" kid. Looks can be deceiving.

Zack loves to cram himself in tight spaces. He has also been known to bury himself in pillows or blankets. He needs the weight pushing down on him to help collect and "ground" himself when over-stimulated. He doesn't like noise. If we go to therapy and the office is crowded, he can hear the other children in the rooms in the back, he sometimes needs to have the deep pressure applied to calm him down.

Personally, I have a hard time getting this. I am claustrophobic. I HATE being in small or tight spaces. Our son will purposely look for small spaces. Sometimes Zack seems to disappear on me. I'll hunt all over only to find he has crammed himself under a bed or a stack of pillows. Mashed his face up between the floor and the bottom of the sofa. A wadded up blanket on the sofa may or may not have a sleeping Zack under it. The weird looks I get at the post office from other customers are priceless when they see Zack crammed in the corner while I'm buying my stamps. Little do they know he isn't being punished. He did it himself!

What does this have to do with anything? Well, ever look in those therapy catalogs? They have some WONDERFUL things in them, but expensive. I nearly choke on the costs of some of those things. It's a shame because some of them I could love to have at home, but we can't afford them.

One of them Zacky's OT helped with. Gotta love Amy, bless her heart. :)

A couple of weeks ago, Zack was having an unusually bad day. Since Matt left, Zack has been having a lot of trouble adjusting. Sometimes the fear of me leaving him rears it's head and his therapists pay for it.

Amy tried something different when the pillows and cushions for deep pressure wouldn't help. She tried a body sock. I had never heard of such a thing! When she brought it out and showed me, I remembered seeing them in the catalogs, along with their nearly $40 price tag.

A body sock is made out of a thin, stretchy material, almost like a bathing suit. It's basically a bag with a small opening for your child to crawl in. The material is thick enough to block out some of the light, and you can't see thru it, but thin enough that when pressed against your child's face, they can still breathe.

Amy made one for Zack to bring home. She went to a fabric store and bought 2-3 yards of the material. She folded it in half and sewed it up, like a pillowcase. She then closed off the final end about 1/4 way on each side, leaving roughly 1/2 the distance, in the middle, for Zack to climb in. I'm saying 2-3 yards because she said the ones they used at therapy were 2 yards, but she made his a little bigger, so he could get more use out of it as he grew. I'm not sure exactly how much she used on his for home, but he is about 3 feet tall, and 38 pounds, and fits in the ones at therapy just fine.

The body sock has been great! He now brings it to me so I can help him crawl in it while I watch TV. He cocoons himself and rolls around on the floor, singing and laughing. We spend at least 30 minutes every other night doing this. He really enjoys it, and we get some time to bond. Zack doesn't like to "play", so finding something he will let me do with him, besides watch TV, has been hard.

If you have a child that has issues like Zack, you might look to a body sock to help. Not only can you help give your child the comfort they need, but it is a great tool in spending fun, quality time with them when you might not be able to in other circumstances.

This would also be good if you had an older child. The body socks are easy to make, and an older child might like being able to help make one as a gift or just because. They could also use the body sock to help gently play with your child, if they're like Zack and don't understand HOW to play and interact.

Use caution, however. Inside the body sock your child won't be able to see where they're going. Rolling down stairs, or into sharp objects, could happen in an instant. They should be properly supervised when they're being used, homemade or store bought, alike.

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