Beyond Weighted Vests:  Alternatives to Address Hyperactivity in SpEd Learners

From Sensory Solutions to Mindfulness Practices

Beyond Weighted Vests: Alternatives to Address Hyperactivity in SpEd Learners

Hyperactivity presents significant challenges for students in academic and social settings.

Traditional methods of managing hyperactivity involve implementing behavioral interventions and prescribing medication.

However, in recent years, alternative approaches such as weighted vests have become popular due to their potential to offer sensory input and induce calming effects.

In this blog, we will examine the effectiveness of weighted vests and investigate other alternatives for supporting hyperactive students in schools.

Understanding Hyperactivity

Hyperactivity characterizes Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), but it can also be present in individuals with other special needs.

It involves -

  • Excessive movement
  • Impulsiveness
  • Difficulty focusing

Hyperactive students may struggle to sit still, focus on tasks, and regulate their emotions, impacting their academic performance and social interactions.

Weighted Vests: A Sensory Solution

Weighted vests are garments designed to provide deep touch pressure, similar to a hug, which has been shown to calm the nervous system.

The vest's added weight applies gentle pressure to the body, promoting a sense of security and reducing sensory overload.

For hyperactive students, wearing a weighted vest during activities such as seated work or transitions between tasks can help improve focus and self-regulation.

Alternatives to Weighted Vests

While weighted vests are one option for addressing hyperactivity, they are not the only solution.

Educators and parents can explore a range of alternatives to support hyperactive students:

1. Sensory Tools

Fidget toys, stress balls, or sensory cushions help satisfy students’ need for sensory input and promote self-regulation.

2. Movement Breaks

Incorporate regular movement breaks into the school day to allow hyperactive students to release excess energy.

Activities such as stretching, jumping jacks, or short walks can help improve focus and concentration.

3. Flexible Seating

Offer flexible seating options such as stability balls, wobble stools, or standing desks to accommodate students' need for movement and promote better posture and engagement during learning activities.

4. Mindfulness Practices

Teach students mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery to help them develop self-awareness and emotional regulation skills.

5. Visual Supports

Use visual schedules, timers, and cues to help hyperactive students understand expectations, manage transitions, and stay organized throughout the school day.

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