As many of you already know, I’m a father to 3 boys on the #Autism spectrum. Each one of my boys have various degrees of sensory processing disorder as well. When I was contacted by a company called NYKNYC and asked to test out and review their weighted vests for children with #Autism, I was pretty excited. Below is my, rather my children’s experience with the weighted vest and the weighted lap dog.
How or why does a Weighted Vest work?
Before I actually get into my thoughts and opinions on the NYCNYK weighted vest, I thought it would be a good idea to explain the how’s and why’s behind the benefits of a child wearing a weighted vest.
Weighted vests work much the same way as a weighted blanket and can be highly beneficial to some children with autism, sensory integration disorder, ADHD and other neurological disorders. Weighted vests are designed to apply deep pressure touch stimulation or DPTS. This works by providing the child with unconscious information from the muscles and the joints. The added weight or pressure provides DPTS and may help the child calm down and better integrate sensory information. As a result, the child may become more organized, and improve in their ability to concentrate on play, learning or eating.
Keeping in mind that all kids on the #Autism spectrum are different, generally speaking, children who are easily distracted, hyperactive and lacking in concentration respond positively to the additional weight these vests provides.
Make sense? Great.
Hands on with the NYKNYC Weighted Vest
When the vest arrived, I was really excited to check this thing out. I had been asked what size I preferred and I opted for a small because that would fit two of my three kids. I hadn’t seen any pictures or had any idea what these would look like prior to opening the box. I was actually surprised that that they -I say they because I received both a red and black vest- looked like regular clothes. There was nothing that stuck out as really obvious that this was a weighted vest.
The vests themselves are constructed of a neoprene type material. It’s soft to the touch, elastic and should hold up well to pulling and prodding.[flagallery gid=8 name=Gallery]
The front of the vest has a zipper just like a regular sleeveless jacket. There are two Velcro pockets on the front, each pocket has two sections. The back of the vest has the same two pocket setup, minus the Velcro flap. These pockets are where the weights are located.
The weight is made up of small, rectangular steel plates. The vest I received, contained four of these plates and easily weighed a few pounds total. I don’t know for sure what the vest actually weighs. The plates are spread evenly around the vest, as to provide consistent, even weight. The steel plates themselves are thin enough that you actually don’t visually notice them when they are in place. I also noticed that due to the rectangular shape of these plates, they are actually rather difficult to remove from the pockets.This may be by design, in order to limit the child’s access to the weight and prevent them from hurting themselves. Personally, I would prefer to see more rounded edges, but that’s just me.
When the vest is put on and zipped up, it’s very snug but not restrictive. Your child would likely wear a t-shirt underneath it and the zipper is thoughtfully covered up on the inside by a large flap of the same neoprene material. I really liked that because this helps to ensure it’s sensory friendly.
The one thing that I noticed and would definitely change is the small tag stitched into the inside of the vest to indicate the size. As many of you are surely aware of, many kids on the #Autism spectrum or with sensory processing disorder don’t tolerate tags. We have to remove any and all tags from most of our kids clothes before they will wear them. Perhaps, some type of stamp would work better and keep the vest sensory friendly. Having said that, the tag is small and very easily removed. Problem solved.
Now that I have covered the construction of the vest, the important part is how well they actually work and whether or not my kids benefited from wearing it.
My kids weigh in on the weighted vest
When I opened the box, Emmett was right there helping me. He immediately went for the red vest, which was actually a bit smaller than the black one and had no weights. The weights that came with the black vest didn’t fit the red one. I found that to be a bit odd. However, it actually worked out well that the red vest was smaller because it provided really good compression for Emmett. He actually preferred the red vest over the black one.
I explained to him that when he wears the vest, it will feel like a great big hug. He loves it and calls it his big red hug.
If any of you are familiar with manipulating the joints of a child with sensory issues, you know the immediate relief that provides them. That is actually one of the few things that we can do for Emmett that will immediately calm him down. You can see it in his face the moment we start working on his joints. Relief washes over him and he is calm and relaxed.
That’s the same response that Emmett had when I put the vest on him and zipped it up. He really like the pressure it provided him. He doesn’t understand why it feels good, he just knows it feels like a hug. I would love to see how Emmett responds to adding some weight to his vest and so I’ll have to look into that at some point.
Elliott has taken to the black vest. It fits him better then the red one, so that worked out nicely. It fits him snugly but again, isn’t restricting. There is also room for him to grow into it still. He noticed the weight right away and said it felt good. I think Elliott would probably benefit from additional weight and so I’m going to look into that for him as well.
Both he and Emmett wear the vests all the time and were upset when I had to take them away in order to take pictures of them.
I think the concept of the weighted vest is pretty simple and sometimes, simple is good.
As anyone who has been a long time reader of this blog knows, my kids are very sensitive to things like texture and color. The fact that they have taken to these vests is a testament to how well they work.
The Weighted Lapdog
While I really like the vests, I have to say that I’m truly in love with the weighted lapdog. If your familiar with Pillow Pets, think a heavy Pillow Pet and your in the ball park of the weighted lapdog.
The concept is the the same as for the weighted vest or weighted blanket. They all work by providing the child deep pressure touch stimulation or DPTS. The applications for the weighted lapdog are many. Let me give you an example of how we have used it.
Emmett is a little boy that is always full of wiggles and often has a difficult time sitting in one place for long or sitting still at all for that matter. When Emmett is having a hard time sitting on the couch without jumping, we simply have him put the weighted lapdog on his lap and he finds himself much more relaxed. The same works while he’s eating as well. Emmett also uses it as a pillow at night sometimes as well.
I could see this being beneficial in the classroom setting as well. So many kids on the #Autism spectrum have a hard time sitting still in their chairs at school. This is something that could be brought to school and provided to the child when the need presents itself. I would think that this is something that should be stocked in special needs classrooms everywhere.
Until you actually picked this thing up, you would never know that there was anything different about it and it looks, as I said, just like a Pillow Pet you see a the store.
Pricing and Availability
As far as pricing goes, I think the prices are reasonable but may still prove a bit expensive for many. However, in my opinion, the benefit is well worth the expense if you can make it happen.
The vest costs around $68 and is shipped to you for an additional $12.
As far as the lapdog is concerned, I can’t confirm the price at this time. When I can, I will update this review accordingly. I would also refer you to their website for more information as well.
My kids really enjoyed their time with the weighted vests and weighted lap dog. would have no problems recommending these products to any special needs family that could possibly benefit from them.
-The vests were very comfortable for my kids and really seemed to provide sensory relief.
-The weights were well concealed and secured in place.
-Benefits of both the vest and the weighted lapdog are significant and the applications are many.
-Both the vest and the lapdog seem well built and durable.
-I would like to see rounded edges on the actual weighted steel plates, to limit possible injury.
-Using some sort of stamp to indicate size, rather than an actual tag on the vests would prove to be more sensory friendly.
-I think the price may limit some peoples ability to purchase, although weighted vests are expensive in general, much like weighted blankets.
Any questions or to order, call NYKNYC at 1-845-688-7612 or email NYKNYC@aol.com
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