These lightweight ankle and wrist weights can be used to develop strength and stability and increase sensory awareness to the hands or feet. They can be one therapeutic approach for toe walking, which many of our kids with autism do when they are young, and can be used to help improve performance during fine motor skill tasks in some individuals with autism or sensory processing disorder. Comfortable ankle and wrist weights can have many uses. Therapists and teachers may recommend ankle and wrist weights to work on the following goals:
- Strength training: Wearing wrist weights during self-feeding or playtime is a way to increase muscle strength during a functional activity! You can also place the weights around the ankles for extra resistance during crawling, walking and running.
- Grounding: Proprioception is when one's body can tell where their body is in space (i.e. - sitting in a chair vs. standing up). Bodies sometimes need more input (via weights)
- Deep Pressure Stimulation: Weights provide pressure around the wrist and ankles to provide deep pressure stimulation to these specific areas of the body.
- Decrease Tremors: Active tremors typically present when a child uses their hands. Using wrist weights tends to decrease the tremors, even when children are using their arms and hands to eat, play and communicate.
- Toe Walking: Some children walk on their toes. Children with low muscle tone (hypotonia) do this to limit the number of moving joints to stabilize while moving. If the knees and ankles are kept stiff, the child only has to concentrate on keeping the hips under control when walking. Adding weights to the ankle may provide enough of a physical cue to your child to help them relax their ankles and go through a heel/toe walking pattern.
- Visual Field Cut: If a child has a visual field cut (example - they don't have peripheral vision on the left side), they may forget to use their left hand because they can't see it. By adding a MightyTykes wrist weight, it activates other sensory systems to remind the child of their left hand.
These comfortable weights are adjustable and have a velcro closure. They are suitable for use on either the wrists or ankles.