Finding the right clothing for children with Sensory Processing Disorder SPD or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be a challenge for every parent, but weighted clothing can provide a solution that works in several ways.
Meta Auden, founder of Spectra Sensory Clothing explained that weighted clothing is often recommended by occupational therapists as the wearable items can help to provide deep touch pressure for children with autism, who may experience SPD or difficulties with self-regulation.
“Not only does weighted clothing help to reduce anxiety, it can also help to create a feeling of calm; increases focus and concentration, decreases hyperactivity and enables a child to become more aware of their body,” said Meta.
“While weighted exercise clothing is designed to increase the intensity of physical activity, in children with autism, such items provide deep pressure, which sends signals to the brain, helping the child to feel calm and enabling them to focus better.”
A range of different weighted clothing is available including weighted vests, sensory weighted hats, weighted jackets, weighted backpacks, weighted blankets as well as weighted lap pads and shoulder weights.
“Weighted vests are perhaps the most popular weighted clothing item,” Meta explained.
“It is often described as similar to giving your child a ‘bear hug’. They are often recommended by occupational therapists.”
And their popularity has been backed up.
“An American study by Nancy L VandenBerg, which was carried out in 2001, actually found that on-task behaviour increased by up to 25% when children with autism wore weighted vests for fine motor tasks,” she said.
“With weighted vests, deep pressure is applied to your child’s body and shoulders, helping to reduce challenging and sensory seeking behaviour, and thereby encouraging the child to focus on tasks such as homework or simply resting.”
Meta set up Spectra Sensory Clothing after learning how much clothing affected her autistic daughter.
Since then she has been working to provide products that are suitable and help those with SPD or autism.
A range of the weighted products are available on the website, and Meta was keen to explain what weighted products can do.
“Weighed jackets, hoodies or fleeces, for example, have a calming and organising effect on the how the body is affected by the position and movement of the body),” she said.
“These clothing items are particularly popular since they provide sensory feedback for a child but look like ‘ordinary’ clothing and don’t stand out as a therapeutic aid.
“Most jackets, hoodies etc, possess pockets which, as with the hats, enable weights to be inserted and removed as required.
“Weighted jackets have proven to be particularly popular in the classroom, where they are used to reduce excessive fidgeting and to promote better concentration.”
Another weighted item are weighted blankets, that are often recommended by occupational therapists to encourage and promote calming and sleep.
“Weighted blankets can also have an organising effect on your child’s central nervous system,” said Meta.
“Many children with autism and SPD often crave pressure and, since many are often attached to one particular blanket as a source of comfort and calm, these blankets can bring double the benefits.
“As a general rule of thumb, weighted blankets are recommended for use at 10% of your child’s body weight plus one pound (2.2kg).”
Weighted hats are, perhaps the most discreet or weighted clothing for children.
“Sensory weighted hats have an inner liner, which contains weights that can be easily inserted and removed as required, and can enable the weight to be adapted to your child’s specific requirements,” she explained.
Weighted backpacks provide support while on the go and many designs also come with a headphone port, which enables comforting music to be played, and sensory strips for fidgeting.
Meta said that weighted lap pads and shoulder weights are useful in many situations.
“A weighted lap pad is ideal as part of a sensory diet for when your child is in the classroom or involved in tabletop activities at home,” she explained.
“The pads, which have been developed to help children calm and to enable them to sit comfortably, while simultaneously experiencing deep pressure sensory input, are perfect for helping to reduce your child’s fidgeting and to improve his or her memory.
“Items such as weighted shoulder wraps also help to apply deep pressure to your child’s shoulders, making them an ideal weighted solution for use anywhere.”
Meta added that these clothing solutions help children to feel more grounded and to reconnect with the world around them.
“Children with SPD and autism have enough to deal with on a daily basis without having to cope with the discomfort and distress caused by their clothing. By opting for sensory clothing, you can help to remove the aggravation caused by your child’s clothing and enable them to feel comfortable both in their clothing – and in their own skin” said Meta.
Find out more about Spectra Sensory’s general clothing and uniform options at spectrasensoryclothing.co.uk
IR35: Have You Considered Whether The New Regulations Apply To Your Business?
If you employ contractors then you will almost certainly have heard of IR35, or as it used to be known, off-payroll working rules.
IR35 is designed to shape the legislation which determines whether or not a contractor who operates through a limited company or personal service company will be designated an employee of your organisation for tax purposes.
Michelle Tyson director of Tyson Wilson Recruitment and Tyson Wilson Temps said it’s important for all businesses to consider whether or not the new rules which came into effect on 6th April apply to them.
She added: “From the 6th of April the way the government approaches IR35 changed and so it is essential that contractors and employers both seek to understand how IR35 and the changes may impact upon their relationship.”
So what is changing?
Michelle said: “Previously, when it came to private sector companies, the burden has been on the contractor or employee to determine the status of their own employment arrangement for each individual contract.
“This means that before the change in IR35 rules, it was up to an individual contractor to declare their contract as falling within IR35 and therefore pay the appropriate tax and national insurance contributions associated.
“However, the change in the rules means that from 6th April 2021, it is up to the employer to establish whether or not the person is indeed an employee of the company. If it is discovered that the contractor is actually an employee of the organisation, and subsequently is not declaring their true rate of pay, and so as a result aren’t paying the correct tax and national insurance, then the employer organisation could be liable for extremely large fines.”
Michelle added that if it is found that other than the fact that the contractor is invoicing through a limited company or personal service company, they would be a permanent employee, the employer organisation would then be liable to cover all of the costs associated with employing someone such as tax or pension contributions.
What do you need to do next?
Michelle explained: “If you believe that how you interact with your contractors may or should change as a result of IR35, it’s important to engage with a number of next steps.
“Firstly, it is important to determine if you are a small, medium or large organisation by HMRC’s standards, this is because the new IR35 rules will not actually apply to small businesses.”
Michelle says that once businesses establish that they’re a medium or large business, there are a number of things they should consider doing next:
- Identify and review your current relationships with contractors and consultants.
- Ensure that the terms under which you engage with contractors and consultants are clear and that they fairly and accurately reflect the relationship between you both.
- If you believe that any or all of them may be indeed employees rather than contractors for IR35 purposes, you should consider changing their employment status to reflect this. You may want to explore the possibility or zero-hour contracts or casual working agreements.
“Understanding and addressing IR35 compliance within your organisation is both important and necessary if you are someone who regularly engages with contractors or personal service companies” said Michelle.
“This will ensure that you are tax compliant, will avoid any hefty fines as a result of non-compliance with IR35 and you won’t need to take on the commitment of adding someone to your payroll permanently and full-time.”
If you want more information which can help you better understand the key components of IR35, its impact on how you do business and of course how the changes in particular might impact you can download the Tyson Wilson free guide IR35 New Rules: Here’s What You Need To Know here >> https://tysonwilsonrecruitment.co.uk/free-guide-ir35
Alternatively contact Michelle Tyson at Tyson Wilson Recruitment on 07860636486 or firstname.lastname@example.org
DAERA Seeking New Chair and Member for CAFRE’s College Advisory Group
The closing date for applications is 4.00 pm on Friday 30 April 2021.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has launched a recruitment campaign to appoint a new chair and a member to the College Advisory Group (CAG).
CAG provides advice on strategic and operational issues to the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) management team. The Group has twelve members and it is currently chaired by Dr Mike Johnston MBE, of the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland. CAG has expertise across all sectors of the agri-food industry and there are now two positions required to be filled from 1 July 2021. These positions are a new Chair and a new member representing the Dairying sector.
Looking Forward To Welcoming Future
The College Advisory Group has been providing advice to CAFRE since 2007. College Director, Martin McKendry said: “At CAFRE we aim to develop and deliver programmes of education, knowledge transfer and innovation which underpin the sustainable development of the local agri-food industry. CAG has provided sound and impartial advice which has assisted CAFRE to further develop its wide portfolio of programmes and invest in key capital projects.
“I would like to thank the outgoing Chair and member for their valuable contribution to CAG and I look forward to welcoming the new Chair and member later in the year who will help the College respond to the current and future needs of the industry.”
The Group meets up to a maximum of six times per year across CAFRE’s campuses which are situated in Antrim, Cookstown and Enniskillen. Applicants for the Chair position must have a minimum of three years’ experience within the last 10 years working in the agri-food sector and a minimum of three years senior management experience within the last 10 years including the Chairing of committees and working groups. The member representing the Dairying sector must have recent experience and knowledge of the Dairying sector.
The closing date for applications is 4.00 pm on Friday 30 April 2021.