The aim of using weighted items is to apply deep pressure to the body. Some people think that the pressure of the weights helps to calm people with sensory problems by changing how they process sensory information, allowing them to better feel their movements and understand where their bodies are in space. For example, according to Morrison (2007),
“The use of a weighted vest is based on the sensory integrative frame of reference. It is argued that the weight in the vest provides proprioception (deep pressure), which provides calming input to the central nervous system by promoting the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.”
Some people believe that using weighted items to calm autistic children can in turn help them with a wide range of other problems such as poor motor skills, hyperactivity and sleeplessness etc.
There have been various claims made for weighted vests and blankets. For example,