Saturday, August 17, 2013

DIY Weighted Sensory Vest for kids with Autism

Most teachers know that it is SO hard to get funding for weighted vests and blankets, fidgets, pressure vests, and other occupational therapy supplies. My district is HUGE, so it's a particularly long and painful process to get these supplies. The best alternative for me is to make the supplies for as cheap as possible.

I have a kiddo who sits with a weighted blanket on his lap throughout the school day. The problem with a weighted blanket is that you can't use it in the lunch room, while walking in the hallways, in PE, or on the playground. I like weighted vests better, because they can be worn during transitions and physical activities, but can also be taken off and placed on a student's lap while sitting down. I made this vest in about 30 minutes and for $4.00 using bean bags I found in my classroom and a kid's jean jacket I found at Goodwill.

-Old jean vest or jacket (you could probably use a different kind of vest/jacket, as long is it is heavy duty and durable)
-About 1/4 yd. scrap fabric
-2 to 4 bean bags
-Basic sewing supplies

Step 1: Use a seam ripper to take the sleeves off of the jacket.

Step 2: Cut out 2 pieces of fabric, one that is about 1 inch larger (on all 4 sides) than the bean bag and one piece that is about 2 inches longer than the bean bag. Then fold over the tops of the pieces and sew a straight line. This will be the pocket to hold the bean bag.

Step 3: Place wrong sides together of the fabric. Place and pin to the inside of the vest. Note: I wouldn't put the bean bags on the front flaps of the vest, I would put them on the sides or at the back. Then attach the little pocket by sewing along the dotted lines shown. The longer part of the pocket will be able to be tucked in.

Step 4: Follow previous steps to make another pocket for a 2nd bean bag. Then you're finished!!

Note: I removed the buttons on the jacket/vest and sewed on Velcro strips to keep the vest closed. That is totally optional. I only did this because I thought the buttons made the vest a little girly and boys will be wearing this vest.


  1. I have been thinking of doing the same thing. Thanks for the tutorial.

  2. very neat- thanks for sharing :-)

  3. Wow thank you so much, this is something we can make and provide to my son's school!

  4. A friend found this for me when I mentioned that a vest worked at Speech for my son... Thank you.

  5. Hi, anyone can help? I need to know how to make baby cakm from cry and cry of shock of somthing loud or when they sleeping. Or anything to jake them easy to sleep without to pat. When sick they intend in difficulty to sleep and tend us to spcarry the whole time? Light sleeper too. With this we xant do any work, cook etc etc.

    Thank you.

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  10. I started the page "GABA Pockets For Autism, Let's Give Them Something to Talk About" after seeing nasty drugs being marketed to help increase GABA and linked into your page because this information is important, and I want more people to see it.

  11. how can i calculate the amount of weight for the child?