Weighted vests for children

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Weighted vests for children and similar therapeutic weighted clothing are sometimes used to try to treat symptoms of certain developmental disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or autism in children. There is however no evidence that they are useful for this purpose.[1][2]

The vests are weighted down with sand or other heavy materials. Terms used for such items of clothing include sand vests, compression vests or squeeze jackets.[3]


A review of the use of weighted clothing indicates that they are not useful with respect to hyperactivity, clumsiness, or repetitive behavior.[1] A 2015 review of treatments for autism found only a single study of five people that showed any benefit and six trials that showed no benefit resulting in the overall conclusion of no benefit.[2] The use of weighted vests for autism is characterized as pseudoscience.[4]


The use of weighted vests for children originated in the United States as a form of therapy for children with autism.[3] By 2017, the use of weighted vests had become common in public schools in Hamburg, Germany. Teachers there reported that students wore the vests voluntarily for up to 30 minutes at a time, and that the vests were popular with the children. Media reports about this practice triggered controversy and criticism because of the lack of long-term studies of the effect of wearing such vests.[3][5]

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  1. ^ a b Stephenson, J; Carter, M (January 2009). "The use of weighted vests with children with autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities". Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 39 (1): 105–14. doi:10.1007/s10803-008-0605-3. PMID 18592366.
  2. ^ a b Case-Smith, J; Weaver, LL; Fristad, MA (February 2015). "A systematic review of sensory processing interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders". Autism. 19 (2): 133–48. doi:10.1177/1362361313517762. PMID 24477447.
  3. ^ a b c Connolly, Kate; Devlin, Hannah (20 January 2018). "Use of sand vests to calm children with ADHD sparks concern". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  4. ^ Fleury VP, Marks R (2020). "Public Perception of Autism Treatments: Science Versus Pseudoscience in the Age of Mass Media". In Volkmar F (ed.). Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102403-1.
  5. ^ Fritzen, Florentine; Wyssuwa, Matthias (18 December 2017). "Sandwesten für Schüler: Auf Sand vertraut". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 20 January 2018.