April 2, 2012 is World Autism Awareness Day. Now I do not claim to be an expert, but I would like to share something I made for a student I have now with autism. He has been stemming (that could be rocking, biting, hair twisting, etc.) more recently. I spoke with his mom about a few students I have had in the past that responded to pressure or weight. An Occupational Therapist (OT, for you in the know) explained that some children with autism respond well to pressure. It calms them somehow. There are many types of chairs and clothing and wraps, etc. on the market. Many parents of children with autism will try anything to help their child. It gets expensive, and not every treatment works for every child. To help those parents out there paying for therapies, programs and various gadgets to help their children, I thought I would share a project that is cheap that I have had success with for some of my students over the years: a weighted bag.
The weighted bag is long and flexible. Some children like it on their laps or shoulders, some like it on their feet. Some don’t like it at all, but it is worth a try. I filled mine with dry rice, but beans would work as well. I chose to use a zipper, so the family I am sharing it with can add or subtract weight as desired. I also know this particular student won’t dig the rice out and play with it. Otherwise I would close it permanently.
So to begin. I used two 12 inch by 36 inch pieces of fabric.
I started with inserting a zipper. I placed the zipper face down on the short side of the fabric with the fabric facing right side up.
I used my zipper foot to sew it down.
Then I turned the zipper up and top stitched the right side of the fabric to the zipper tape.
Next you will do the same with the other piece of fabric. The fabrics will be facing right sides together and the zipper will be face down.
I used the zipper foot to sew the fabric to the zipper, and again I opened the fabric pieces up and top stitched the right side of the fabric to the zipper tape.
Go ahead and check that your zipper looks correct.
I sewed around the bag from the end of the zipper with the stopper, down the side, across the bottom, then half way up the other side. WAIT! Open that zipper up, I did about half way, other wise you will sew your bag shut. Now continue and sew up the rest of the last side. Go ahead and finish your edges. Remember when it comes to finishing the edges on this project, they will be bearing some weight.
I used my serger on my edges. At this point you can turn the bag right sides out and check your zipper again.
I filled mine with some rice. I hope this project helps my student, and maybe a few more people with autism out there.
Note 2 our Readers: Find even more adventures from Stacie at her personal Sewing Blog