SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.41 issue3Assuring quality in clinical educationThe accreditation of vocational assessment areas: Proposed standard statement and measurement criteria author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google


South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337

S. Afr. j. occup. ther. vol.41 n.3 Pretoria  2011




The effect of the wearing of weighted vests on the sensory behaviour of learners diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder within a school context



Fransli BuckleI; Denise FranzsenII; Juanita BesterIII

IB OT, M OT. Occupational Therapist at School of Achievement
IIB SC (OT), M Sc(OT), DHT. Lecturer, Department Occupational Therapy, School of Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand
IIIB OT, BSc Hons Med Sciences, M Phil Higher Education, Post Grad Dip Monitoring and Evaluation. Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, Division Occupational Therapy, University of Stellenbosch





PURPOSE: Children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often have sensory processing difficulties. Therefore, they find it difficult to function optimally in the classroom environment. This study investigated the effect that wearing a weighted vest had on their in-seat behaviour, task completion speed and attention-to-task.
METHOD: A longitudinal experimental research design was employed with 30 foundation Phase learners from the School of Achievement; cross-over of treatment was implemented. Data on in-seat behaviour was measured by recording the period of time participants were able to stay seated. Task completion speed was assessed by timing how long participants were able to stay seated during literacy periods. The Conners' Continues Performance Test II was used to measure participants' attention to the task.
RESULTS: The Phase group effect for in-seat behaviour and attention-to-task indicated a statistically significant difference when learners wore weighted vests. This was not true for task completion speed.
CONCLUSION: The weighted vests improved the in-seat behaviour and attention to task of learners diagnosed with ADHD in a classroom context.

Key words: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), weighted vests, sensory modulation, school-based occupational therapy



“Full text available only in PDF format”




1. South African Education Department. Education White paper 6 Special Needs Education-Building an Inclusive Education and Training system In: Education Do, editor. Pretoria: Triple CCC Advertising and Research, 2001.         [ Links ]

2. Case-Smith J, Rogers J. School-based occupational therapy. In: Case-Smith J, editor. Occupational Therapy for Children. 5th ed. St. Louis: Elsevier Inc.; 2005; 795-824        [ Links ]

3. Dunn W, Bernnette D. Patterns of sensory processing in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 2002; 1(22): 4-15.4.         [ Links ]

4. Dunn W. Sensory profile user's manual. San Antonio: The Psychological Corporation, 1999.         [ Links ]

5. Junod REV, Du Paul GJ, Jitendra J, Volpe RJ, Clearly KS. Classroom obsevations of students with and without ADHD: Differences across types of engagement. Journal of School Psychology, 2006; 44: 87-104.         [ Links ]

6. VanderBerg NL. The Use of a weighted vest to increase on-task behaviour in children with attention difficulties. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2001; 55(6): 621-7.         [ Links ]

7. Ayers AJ. Sensory integration and learning disorders. Los Angeles: Western Psychological services, 1973.         [ Links ]

8. Ayers AJ. Sensory integration and the child. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services, 1979.         [ Links ]

9. Dunn W. Sensory profile school companion. San Antonio: Harcourt Assessment, 2006.         [ Links ]

10. Flick GL. Managing ADHD in the K-8 classroom: A teacher's guide. California: SAGE Publications Inc, 2010.         [ Links ]

11. Kranowitz C. The out-of sync child: Recognizing and coping with sensory integration dysfunction. New York: Skylight Press, 1998.         [ Links ]

12. Blanche EI, Schaaf RC. Proprioception: A cornerstone of sensory integration intervention. In: Smith Roley S, Blanche EI, Schaaf RC, editor. Understanding the nature of sensory integration with diverse populations. San Antonio: Therapy Skill Builders; 2001.         [ Links ]

13. Yack E, Aquilla P, Sutton S. Building bridges through sensory integration. Las Vegas: Sensory Resources, 2002.         [ Links ]

14. Schilling OL, Washington K, Billingsley FF Deitz J. Classroom seating for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Therapy balls versus chairs. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2003; 57: 534-41.         [ Links ]

15. Olsen LJ, Moulton HJ. Occupational therapists' reported experiences using weighted vests with children with specific developmental disorders. Occupational Therapy International, 2004; 11(1): 52-66.         [ Links ]

16. Fertel-Daly D, Bedell G, Hinojosa J. Effects of a weighted vest on attention to task and self-stimulatory behaviors in preschoolers with pervasive developmental disorders. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2001; 55(6): 629-40.         [ Links ]

17. Murry-Slutsky C. Sensory Modulation. In: Murry-Slutsky C, Paris BA, editors. Exploring the spectrum of autism and pervasive developmental disorders: Intervention strategies. Austin: Hammill Institute on Disabilities; 2000: 107-71.         [ Links ]

18. Hopkins WG. Quantitative research design.; 2000. <> (21 Nov 2010).         [ Links ]

19. Hopkins WG. A New View of Statistics.; 2009. <>. (16 Nov 2010)        [ Links ]

20. Morrison EE. A review of research on the use of weighted vests with children on the autism spectrum. Education, 2007; 1 (3): 323-7.         [ Links ]

21. Stephenson J, Carter M. The use of weighted vests with children with autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2008; 39(1): 105-14.         [ Links ]

22. Deiner P Inclusive Early Childhood Education: Development, Resources, and Practice, 5th ed. Belmont: Wadswoth, 2005.         [ Links ]

23. Weis R, Totten SJ. Ecological validity of the Conners' Continuous Performance Test II in a school-based population. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 2004; 22: 47-61.         [ Links ]

24. Conners CK, MHS Staff. Conners' Continuous Performance Test II: Computer program for Windows technical guide and software manual. Tonwanda: Mutli-Health Systems, 2000.         [ Links ]

25. Ayers AJ. Sensory integration and the child: Understanding hidden sensory challenges. Los Angeles: Western Psycholohical Services, 2005.         [ Links ]

26. Lane SJ. Sensory Modulation. In: Bundy AC, Lane SJ, Murry S.J, editors. Sensory Integration: theory and practice. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company; 2002: 101-20.         [ Links ]

27. Miller JL, Reisman JE, McIntosh DN, Simon J. An Ecological Model of Sensonry modulation. In: Smith Roley S, Blanche EI, Schaaf RC, editors. Understanding the nature of sensory integration with diverse populations. San Antonio: Therapy Skill Builders; 2001: 57-84.         [ Links ]

28. Olsen LJ, Moulton HJ. Use of Weighted Vests in Paediatric Occupational Therapy Practice. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Paediatrics, 2004; 24(3): 45-60.         [ Links ]

29. VanderBerg NL. The use of a weighted vest to increase on task behavior of children with attentional difficulties. In: Rooyen CB, editor. Pediatric Issues in Occupational Therapy: A compendium of leading scholarship. The American Occupational Association, Inc.; 2003: 289-300.         [ Links ]



Fransli Buckle

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License