DreamCatcher Weighted Blankets make custom-made weighted blankets to help children (and adults) who respond to Deep Pressure- both to help with sleep, and to help with sensory regulation. Eileen and JC Jackson founded the company as a result of their journey to help their son Cody, who has Classic Autism. After researching and designing a blanket for Cody, they saw the profound effect that it had on improving his sleep, and so decided to start making them for other children and adults.
My four year-old daughter N has had problems sleeping ever since she was a infant, it is hard for her to get to sleep, and she often wakes during the night. Both her brothers are great sleepers, and they have the same calming bedtime routine that she has. She has CAS (Childhood Apraxia of Speech) and Dyspraxia, and like many children with CAS she also has sensory issues. I discussed her sleep issues with her Occupational Therapist, who felt that her proprioceptive issues could be causing her sleep problems, and suggested we try a weighted blanket. Children with poor proprioception have a hard time feeling where their body is, and when they close their eyes to go to sleep it feels like they are falling through space – a scary sensation, so it’s hardly surprising they find it hard to sleep.
As I started to research weighted blankets I found many companies making them in many different ways. When I discovered the DreamCatcher Weighted Blanket site I was very impressed by all the research they had done into making the best weighted blankets, and I was very happy to get the opportunity to try one with N. There are lots of different weighting materials available, and it is very important to have a blanket that uses a non-toxic, non-porous one. Porous materials trap moisture when they are washed, and can cause mold formation in the blanket. DreamCatcher uses Poly-Pro pellets – they are hypoallergenic, non-porous and non-toxic, and are made from virgin polypropylene. Their blankets have multiple inner layers of cotton fabric and the pellets are quilted into the inner layers, so the weight stays evenly distributed.
I needed some help choosing the best size and weight blanket. When I spoke to Eileen on the phone she was very helpful and friendly and she suggested the best option for N was a Twin size 7lb blanket. Then the hard part began – how to choose a fabric! There are literally thousands of fabrics to choose from, in four different online fabric stores, so it was a little overwhelming at first. I decided on cotton, as I wanted it to be comfortable year-round, and not to trap pet-hair from our dog or cats. N is an animal lover so I decided to look at fabrics featuring dogs or cats, and found the perfect choice – Rainbow Cats. Dreamcatcher also keeps 68 colors of marble cotton in stock, so for the back of the blanket I asked Eileen to pick a shade of pink marble that would match with the Rainbow Cat fabric.
The custom- made blankets typically take around 3-5 weeks so we waited patiently. Just after Christmas we got a package from Fed-Ex, at first I didn’t think it was the blanket as the box was so compact. When we opened it N was so excited – her face totally lit up at the sight of her beautiful new blanket. Since then she has used the blanket every single night – even insisting on taking it camping with us. She calls it her “magic blanket” and says it keeps the bad dreams away. We have noticed she sleeps better when she uses the blanket, to the extent that we are planning to take it with us when we fly to visit her Granny this summer (which with the cost of checking baggage these days is saying something!) She still isn’t a perfect sleeper, but we have recently discovered that she also has Obstructive Sleep Apnea, so she will soon be having her tonsils and adenoids removed which should help too.
Her “magic blanket” is very well made and the stitching is beautifully done. The blanket doesn’t contain any poly fill, which means it is cool enough to use in the summer. In colder weather we layer it with a lightweight comforter – usually she likes to have her “magic blanket” on top, so she can see the pretty fabric. We have machine-washed and tumble-dried her blanket and it is standing up very well. She seems really comfortable using her blanket, and her twin brother (who shares her room) is now saying he wants one too !
You can read more about Dreamcatcher Weighted blankets on their website and Facebook page. Weighted blankets can be very helpful for children on the Autism Spectrum and those with Sensory Processing Disorder as well as a variety of other conditions. As well as custom made weighted blankets, DreamCatcher also sell pre-made weighted blankets, lap pads and pressure pets.
Category: Special Needs