Abstract

Objective.This study examined the effectiveness of using a weighted vest for increasing attention to a fine motor task and decreasing self-stimulatory behaviors in preschool children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD).

Method.Using an ABA single-subject design, the duration of attention to task and self- stimulatory behaviors and the number of distractions were measured in five preschool children with PDD over a period of 6 weeks.

Results.During the intervention phase, all participants displayed a decrease in the number of distractions and an increase in the duration of focused attention while wearing the weighted vest. All but 1 participant demonstrated a decrease in the duration of self-stimulatory behaviors while wearing a weighted vest; however, the type of self-stimulatory behaviors changed and became less selfabusive for this child while she wore the vest. During the intervention withdrawal phase, 3 participants experienced an increase in the duration of self-stimulatory behaviors, and all participants experienced an increase in the number of distractions and a decrease in the duration of focused attention. The increase or decrease, however, never returned to baseline levels for these behaviors.

Conclusion.The findings suggest that for these 5 children with PDD, the use of a weighted vest resulted in an increase in attention to task and decrease in self-stimulatory behaviors. The most consistent improvement observed was the decreased number of distractions. Additional research is necessary to build consensus about the effectiveness of wearing a weighted vest to increase attention to task and decrease self-stimulatory behaviors for children with PDD.

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