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Interested in the benefits of weighted lap pads for ADHD?
Increasingly used by parents & teachers, to help children with attention deficit disorders calm down & focus better, weighted lap pads provide a gentle, calming pressure on the lap of the user.
Easy to use and affordable, they’re also very portable, making them practical, for children with ADHD, to use at home or school, as well as trips out.
For adults with ADHD, they can also be used discretely at work, during activities such as meditation or simply whilst relaxing at home.
Weighted Lap Pads For ADHD: Top 5 Picks:
- Best Value For Money (Kids): Silvio
- Best For Choice: Joyching
- Best Sensory Minky Dot Lap Pad: Harkla
- Best Wipe Clean Lap Pad: Fun & Function
- Best Weighted Lap Animal: Friendly Cuddle
How Does A Weighted Lap Pad Work?
Similar to a weighted blanket in how they work (just smaller), weighted lap pads are filled with a weighted material (generally glass beads or poly pellets), which is equally distributed across ‘pockets’ sewn into the lap pad.
Weighted lap pads for ADHD (or otherwise) are laid gently across the lap of the user, whilst seated, where it provides a calming deep touch pressure (DTP) on the legs. Research suggests this gentle pressure has a calming, grounding effect on the nervous system.
How Can A Lap Pad Benefit ADHD?
Weighted lap pads are most commonly used by children and adults to help manage the symptoms of autism (ASD), anxiety, sensory processing disorders (SPD) and attention deficit disorders (ADHD).
Whilst many of the symptoms of these conditions overlap, ADHD specifically is a neurodevelopmental condition that makes it hard for children to concentrate and sit still. Symptoms may include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
Weighted lap pads for ADHD are increasingly used in the home & school environment to aid grounding, focus & relaxation. Younger children may also benefit from a weighted lap animal, which is designed to look like a soft toy, whilst still offering therapeutic gentle deep touch pressure when laid on the lap.
Here are 5 ways a weighted lap pad may benefit ADHD:
1 – May Help People With ADHD Calm Down
The gentle weight of a weighted lap pad provides a gentle weight called deep touch pressure (DTP) across the lap of the child, or adult, using it.
DTP has been shown to calm people’s nervous systems, whilst helping the brain to release the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is linked with mood, sleep, focus and a sense of calm.
Research also suggests children with ADHD are often low in serotonin; a key reason why so many children with ADHD likely benefit from DTP.
2 – Provides ‘Calming’ Proprioceptive Input
Many kids and adults with ADHD have a poor sense of body awareness. A bit like an extra ‘sense’, this sense of body awareness is often referred to as proprioception.
Poor proprioception often translates, in children with ADHD, as clumsiness, scattered thinking, difficulty sitting still, fidgeting or an almost uncontrollable desire for lots of energetic ‘rough’ play.
The deep touch pressure of a weighted lap pad helps stimulate the proprioceptive system, which may have a calming, grounding and organising effect on the nervous system of someone with ADHD.
3 – May Improve Focus & Ability To Sit Still
Many children with ADHD struggle to sit still during mealtimes or desk/carpet based activities at school, with an almost uncontrollable desire to fidget, get up or interrupt.
This can make it challenging for children with ADHD to listen or complete quiet, desk based tasks.
Many parents and teachers have found the proprioceptive input of a weighted lap pad helps children with ADHD both focus better and remain seated for longer.
In fact, this study (PDF) suggests that proprioceptive and deep-pressure input may help children diagnosed with ADHD ‘improve their in-seat behavior, attention to task, and task completion.’
Adults may also find weighted lap pads for ADHD a discreet and portable aid for the workplace.
4 – May Help A Child With ADHD Prepare For Sleep
Many children and adults with ADHD struggle to calm down and sleep at night. This can put stress on the nervous system and lead to longer term sleep problems and tiredness during the day.
Using a weighted lap pad for a short period before bed may be an effective way to help a jittery child with ADHD relax, since the gentle pressure of the lap pad helps stimulate the release of serotonin and dopamine. These ‘hormones’ are linked to general wellbeing and the body’s ability to relax.
Serotonin also naturally converts to the ‘sleep’ hormone melatonin, which helps our body prepare for sleep.
For additional help sleeping at night, a weighted blanket may also be helpful.
5 – May Reduce Anxiety In Kids With ADHD
Many children with ADHD struggle to manage their emotions and find the routines and expectations of everyday life a challenge. This can often lead to a sense of anxiety.
Here’s a short video on how ADHD and anxiety often overlap.
The therapeutic deep touch pressure of a weighted lap pad may help calm the nervous system of a child with ADHD, helping to ease their sense of stress and anxiety.
How Much Should A Lap Pad Weigh?
Therapists generally recommend you use around 5% of a child’s body weight to determine the correct size. You’ll commonly find lap pads come in 2, 3 or 5 lb weight sizes.
Weighted Lap Pads For ADHD In Adults
Heavier ‘adult’ weighted lap pads are a little less common, but many adults find the weight of a 3 or 5 lb weighted lap pad sufficient. Our bodies can detect even small weight changes, so more is not always better or necessary.
However, if you do require more weight, look for 6, 7 or 8 lb sizes, such as this 7 lb weighted lap pad or try places like Etsy, where you can often find custom made lap pads at a reasonable cost.
Weighted Lap Pads For ADHD: A Final Word
The therapeutic deep touch pressure of weighted lap pads have become very popular as a sensory tool to naturally calm many of the symptoms associated with autism (ASD), sensory processing disorders (SPD) and attention deficit disorders (ADD).
Weighted lap pads for ADHD specifically may offer a number of key benefits – from an improved ability to calm down to better mood regulation and focus.